Why We Need To Start Talking About Menopause

Last updated 1 Jun 2018 . 1 min read

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A close acquaintance of mine once said - Nothing is certain except death and menopause, yet we hardly speak about it.

It had sounded funny to me then - a decade back. But today when I stand at her age - some 15 years away from menopause - some 15 years away from her fears towards the same - the fears that erupted in her life after her mom had to quit her job during Menopause - I can somehow relate to it, as I read more and more about the science behind it.


Menopause - a phenomenon in a woman body's when a woman's ovaries lose their reproductive function, she stops ovulating resulting in a permanent halt to her menstrual cycle or what you call periods. A stage that every woman reaches the age of 45-52 years. But the way each woman experiences it differs from body to body. What's common in about 80% women is hot flushes and night sweats. while some 20 to 30% have experienced that these symptoms are severe enough to negatively impact the quality of life. Scientific research and doctors inform that some women also report extreme tiredness, brain fog, severe mood swings as well as loss of confidence. Doctors say that while in some women this transition period lasts only a few years, in others it can last a decade. And the worst part is that all women experience it, but very few are aware of what to expect and how to deal with it since their friends, family, colleagues know nothing about it!


Dr Samhita Saha, a senior gynaecologist from Odisha, India informs, "Are you aware that in India alone, even if you talk about the educated masses, 70% working women fail to talk about it to employers, but 42% agree that it affects their jobs! Workplaces are not equipped to support them. Not all women might need support, but many do. And it is high time women speak up, shun the taboo!"


Another gynaecologist from London, Joan D'costa writes to me, "Out of embarrassment women don't want to talk about it. Why is there is shame about a natural cycle? No wonder, men don't want to address women's health issues in general. Are you aware that in UK and US together Menopause affects work of 27 million people every day? We can talk about pregnancy, obesity, breast cancer but not about menopause or even menstruation! if you don't talk, if you don't demand your rights towards your own health, people will continue to ignore you. And at the end, it is you, your family, your children who will suffer."


52-year old Shubhdarshini Singh quit her job last year. She was struggling with brain fog but failed to speak up to her employers. She informs me, "The aftereffects of Menopause were affecting my work. During meetings, I failed to be fluent...it affected me day after day; from a leader, I had reduced to a follower. I began withdrawing myself as I had lost confidence and after two years of struggle, I quit my job. It has been a year, I feel I should have spoken to my boss. Maybe it would have worked. Learn from my experience, a door will never open, if you don't knock at it."


Not just work, Menopause will have to create a negative impact on the relationship with your partner if you keep ignoring and stay silent about it to him.

Dr Sajida Ahmed, 70-year-old gynaecologist from Dubai writes to me, "Some women avoid an intercourse since vaginal dryness creeps in during Menopause. Without communication about the reason, your partner will feel rejected. Add to this, the mood swings of depression/ anger/anxiety will surely create problems in your relationship, if you stay silent and not inform your partner. Speak up, woman!"


70-year-old gynecologist from Dubai, Dr Sajida Ahmed lists the following from her experience of 45 years.

1. Elder men who are aware of Menopause and it effects must share information, experiences, tips etc they have with the younger ones in their family. A father must talk to the son about it

2. Read about Menopause when you wife nears the age of 45, be empathetic to her, ease out the isolation she might sink into, helping her realize what she is experiencing is normal and you are there by her side, come what may. In short, improve her mental well being

3. Take care of the Menopause nearing-age employees at work. Arrange for gynecological advice for them from time to time. The feedback from this doctor and if the women fail to speak up, get senior women on board to help them out. In short, ensure their mental well being well in advance. It will help you retain a trusted senior employee.

4. The list is endless, says Dr Sajida. But she says the role of men during this phase wraps up in two-step overall: BE EMPATHETIC & HELP WOMEN SPEAK UP THEIR AGONY/TROUBLE DURING MENOPAUSE

So are you hearing, women and men out there? And if you are, then don't forget to share this very important piece of information. 

Mahima Sharma
An award-winning Independent Journalist & Content Curator based in New Delhi. She is Ex-News Editor, CNN-News18 and ANI (a collaboration with Reuters) who comes with an experience of 14 years in Print, TV and Digital Journalism. She is the only Indian who finds a mention in the Writers' Club of Country Squire Magazine, United Kingdom. Sufi at heart, she also has some 30 poems to her credit at various reputed international podiums.

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