Shining a light on the Menopause
Published: Friday, October 15, 2021
Wandsworth Council is supporting World Menopause Day on October 18 to help local women find out more about this important but little-discussed life stage.
Although many women going through the perimenopause and menopause report feeling alone and isolated in their experience, the truth is it happens to all women at the end of the reproductive stage of their lives.
In Wandsworth, around 29,000 women are aged between 45 and 60 - that’s almost nine per cent of the population.
Often women are told that they just need to get on with it, but women this age are at a peak in their lives and many are juggling career, family, and caring responsibilities.
Menopause means levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone can fluctuate for several years before eventually becoming so low that periods stop. Perimenopause is the stage from the beginning of menopausal symptoms which can include weight gain, hot flushes, anxiety, sleeplessness and mood swings.
The average age of the natural menopause in the UK is 51 years, but it can occur much earlier or later. Each individual’s experience is different and symptoms vary from person to person. Some women may not be aware of what is happening to them, and the mental, physical, and hormonal changes associated with menopause can be unexpected and frightening. Partners and children may not understand or know how to help.
Menopause Awareness Day aims to show the normality of menopause and allow for a wider conversation about women’s experiences and the impact of this life stage on health, well-being, relationships, and career.
Local woman Sonia, aged 50, said the menopause has been like an ‘unwelcome visitor’, causing weight gain, aches and mood swings: “It is like I have become a reverse teen, but when I was a teen I had my mum, aunties and friends to support me.
“But there’s not much support or understanding on the effects of the menopause. We need a more compassionate way so we at least could feel supported and understood. This phase is no walk in the park, it affects not only me but also those around me, family, friends, and colleagues.”
Cabinet member for health and adult social care Cllr Clare Salier said: “No woman should feel alone when they are going through the menopause, and there should certainly be no stigma around it. It’s a completely normal change that all woman go through.
“You don’t have to just put up with it - there are treatment options including hormone replacement therapy and a range of complementary options and methods of managing symptoms. Talk to your GP and ask for support.”
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