“Irish women can be a little more shy than European women.”
October 18th is World Menopause Day-a day for education on menopausal symptoms and an attempt to eradicate the taboos that still exist around the subject.
Despite being the next life experience for all women, menopause continues to be a source of embarrassment for many. But if you don’t talk about it or ask related questions, you’re not ready. This is an issue currently being addressed by female healthcare professionals.
According to a new study conducted by Besins Healthcare UK, only 40% of women in Ireland feel comfortable enough to discuss menopause with their doctors, and 37% do not talk to anyone about their symptoms.
Of those who do not discuss their experience, 22% cite embarrassment as the main cause.
Menopause is something that almost 50% of the population experiences in the course of their lives. However, while it is normal to experience menopause, the menopause itself has not yet been normalized.
The first step in doing this is for women approaching menopause to have an open and honest conversation about their symptoms, and to know what young women ask questions and expect.
So what should young women (and women of all ages) know about menopause?
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Most people are aware of the most common symptoms associated with menopause.
Hot springs, night sweats, sleep problems, weight gain, and mood changes are expected to be experienced by most women, but there is one very common symptom that is less talked about. It’s vaginal dryness.
According to a new study, 51% of women experience vaginal dryness during menopause. This is a side effect that can cause discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse.
So why don’t we talk about it?
Women’s health experts at Irish College of General Practitioners, Dr Deirdre Lundy, say the problem may lie not only in women’s embarrassment, but also in general consultation-especially due to recent GP pressure.
“Some Irish women, especially older women, may be hesitant to discuss genital complaints in general, including vaginal dryness during menopause,” she says.
“Irish women are a little more shy than European women, but this seems to be a little better in the younger generation.
“Another aspect may be that Irish doctors and nurses do not always have time to ask patients specifically about vaginal problems when discussing menopause. Unless the patient is raised, it will put pressure on the time. Dry vagina during the examination may be overlooked. “
Low levels of estrogen that cause vaginal dryness during menopause can also lead to other problems such as urinary tract infections and a burning sensation when urinating.
Why are menopause still considered taboo?
Although the term “menopause” has become more frequently used and recognized in society, many women still find it difficult to discuss.
Dr. Randy says much of this embarrassment comes from how it was discussed in the days after menopause-mainly as a joke or not at all.
“The most common thing I’ve heard about menopause was jokes about sweating, hair growth on the face, and so on,” she says. “This tended to downplay the terribly unfair menopausal symptoms.
“Menopause is nothing strange when you’re in the middle of it. It lasts for months and years without a decent night’s sleep, with mood swings, anxiety, brain fog, and of course vaginal elasticity. I feel that it is damaged by the loss of water.
“We women need to care for ourselves by conducting research, discussing with healthcare professionals, receiving advice from trusted sources, and making decisions that meet our needs.”
Dr. Randy added that in order to break the taboo of menopause, it needs to be accurately represented.
“I want to see more expressions of menopause in other areas of popular culture,” she says.
“Imagine a soap opera, comedy, or movie plot that refers to the symptoms of menopause as well as the difficulties many women experience when trying to get the help of a healthcare provider.
“People are starting to talk about vaginal dryness and HRT (hormone replacement therapy), and I think this is a big step in the right direction.
“Seeing women experience the same things we do helps to condemn the changes in menopause. This is with friends, family, and preferably health care providers. It may help open the door to menopausal conversations. “
What can women do to manage the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause is inevitable, but there are several things women can do to manage their effects and keep their lives to the fullest.
Menopause is the loss of reproductive hormones that effectively “closes the store,” but this does not mean that women need to stop their lives. Some symptoms can last up to 12 years, while others (such as vaginal dryness) last forever.
To manage this, Dr. Randy says women should seek treatment as soon as possible.
“The longer a woman suffers without treatment, the harder it is to get it back,” she says. “Pharmacies have useful gels and lubricants, but these are just short-term remedies.
“For long-term treatment of this condition, which is a very common problem, women should consult a doctor or nurse who can advise on the best treatment.”
For other symptoms such as burning and mood changes, layering can help cool the burning, and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing not only help prevent too much caffeine and alcohol, but also make you feel better. Helps to adjust.
Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen muscles and improve the form of urinary incontinence. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly should help you gain weight.
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