Menopause: time to give it its due importance

May 27 2023

Should Menopause be recognized as an integral part of menstrual management?
International Menstrual Hygiene Day is approaching, and it prompts an important question: should
menopause be recognized as an integral part of menstrual management?Menopause, a phase in a woman's life when her menstrual cycle ends, has significant implications forwomen's health and well-being. It is a topic which has somehow not found the attention it deserves inthe menstrual health discourse.Before menopause, women go through a transitional phase called Perimenopause, which lasts forseveral years. Perimenopause concludes when a woman hasn't had her period for 12 consecutivemonths. On an average, women spend about one-third of their lives in these stages. By 2025, it isestimated that over 1 billion women, approximately 12% of the world's population, will haveexperienced menopause.Research has shed light on the profound effects of menopause on a woman's emotional, mental, andphysical health. Hormonal changes duringmenopause can impact overall well-being, including physical,emotional, mental, and social states. Menopause can weaken bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis,and can adversely impact the cardiovascular health, potentially elevating the risk of heart disease.Furthermore, the advantage women have over men in terms of cardiovascular disease gradually
diminishes due to the significant decline in estrogen levels after menopause.Symptoms experienced during the perimenopausal, and postmenopausal stages can disrupt personaland professional lives, and the changes associated with menopause generally affect a woman's health asshe ages. Therefore, providing care during the perimenopausal period is crucial for promoting healthy
aging and improving the quality of life.Sadly, in many countries, there are significant challenges when it comes to awareness and access tomenopause-related information and services. Menopause is often a topic that is not openly discussed
within families, communities, workplaces, or healthcare settings. It is generally treated as a peripheral
issue in menstrual hygiene discourses and does get enough attention. Consequently, many women do
not even realize that the symptoms they might experiencing could be connected to menopause. This
lack of awareness can sometimes leave women feeling embarrassed or ashamed to seek support.
Furthermore, healthcare providers often lack the training required to recognize and address symptoms
during the menopausal transition. Menopause is not given due attention in the training of professionals,
even in developed healthcare systems worldwide. Surprisingly, a survey found that only 1 in 5 women in
the US received a referral to a menopause specialist. Shockingly, out of the 60% of women who seek
medical attention, a staggering 75% of them are left untreated.Raising awareness about menopause and its impact on women's lives is of paramount importance.When women are educated about menopausal symptoms, they are more likely to seek treatment, adopta healthy lifestyle, and make informed decisions. Unfortunately, those without proper education about
menopause face significant disadvantages.To address these challenges, it is crucial to include menopausal symptom diagnosis, treatment, andcounseling as part of universal health coverage. By recognizing menopause as a public health issue, we
can improve women's quality of life during this transition period and reduce menopause-related health
issues. It is time to break the silence and stigma surrounding menopause and start openly discussing this
natural phase of a woman's life.As we approach International Menstrual Hygiene Day, let us remember that menstrual managementextends beyond the reproductive years. By fostering awareness, education, and access to care, we can
empower women to navigate menopause with dignity and good health.
By Shilpa Jaiswal
Personal Opinion
About the Author
Shilpa Jaiswal, an experienced development professional with over 18 years of..experiences of working on public health issues and leading CSRs of reputedcorporates. Shilpa has dedicated her career to making a positive impact oncommunities. Her deep understanding of public health issues, combined withher skills in program management and strategic planning, enables her to drivemeaningful projects that address challenges issues. Shilpa is excited to shareher valuable insights and shed light on critical public health issues throughaccessible and engaging articles that resonate with readers from diversebackgrounds.