Survey suggests menopause still a taboo topic

37% never discuss symptoms with anyone
  • Deborah Condon

Some 37% of women who are going through the menopause, or have gone through it, have not discussed their symptoms with anyone, a new survey has found.

According to the findings, just 40% of women discuss symptoms with a healthcare professional. Among those who do not discuss their symptoms with anyone, 22% said this is down to embarrassment.

The most common symptoms reported by those who had already gone through the menopause were hot flushes (71%), night sweats (69%), sleeping problems (65%), weight gain (57%), changes in mood (45%) and vaginal dryness (44%).

In fact, vaginal dryness was found to impact 51% of post-menopausal women. A woman is considered to be post-menopausal if she has not had her period for a year.

Meanwhile the survey also found that menopause can have a big impact on a woman's sex life. Among those surveyed, 77% said sex was important to them. However, 41% said that their sex lives had dis-improved, with many stating that they experienced discomfort or pain during sex post-menopause.

The average age of menopause is now 51 and Dr Deirdre Lundy of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) pointed out that women are now living with the after-effects of menopause for much longer because they are living to an older age.

"This research shows that many women are suffering in silence so I would urge all women to engage with their doctor or nurse to discuss any symptoms of menopause that they may be experiencing.

"There are new treatments available that target specific issues of menopause, which can help treat chronic ongoing symptoms and can greatly improve a woman's quality of life," she commented.

Other things women can do to help with symptoms include:
-Ensure you are getting enough sleep
-Practise relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
-Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol
-Eat a balanced diet
-Exercise regularly
-Quit smoking.

The survey was carried out earlier this year on behalf of Besins Healthcare and involved 300 women aged between 45 and 60, who had been through, or were going through, menopause.

The findings were released ahead of World Menopause Day (October 18).


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