I don't know about you but growing up all I remember being discussed about the menopause was when I overhead some of the older generation talking about 'going through the change' in a slightly hushed voice (and in the same manner that was reminiscent of one of Les Dawson's female characters) and that was it!
I was aware that women were prone to over-heating during 'the change' but nothing else was mentioned. So hitting my forties and experiencing what I now realise were peri-menopause symptoms (in all their demonic glory) I can't help but wonder why I was so unprepared for the many symptoms that came my way. Hello anxiety, weight gain, histamine issues, disrupted sleep, night sweats, hot flushes, thinning hair, aching joints, fatigue, tingling sensations, heart palpitations, burning mouth and did I mention weight gain?
There are those of us who experienced some of the lesser known symptoms of menopause and have been sent for test after test only to be told there's nothing wrong and then being handed a prescription for anti-depressants, the mere act of which makes you feel like you're losing your mind because surely you're not imagining all of those symptoms are you? But here's the thing, our health care system provides woefully inadequate training for those who we trust with our health. No blame here, just the facts - Doctors are not trained on the menopause during their medical training and yet with more than 50% of the population being made up of women, that's a lot of people who may go without the right help and care at a time in their life when the chances are they are caring for many...elderly parents, partners, teenage children, grown-up children, running a home etc....sound familiar?
Thankfully, women are changing (and not just in the hormonal sense), we are not willing to silence our voices about our experiences, needs and desire for a change in policy. There are so many of us out there now who don't want others to go through the confusion and uncertainty that we have experienced. We don't want people to lose their career, their partners, their phone (several times a day) and feel as though they're losing their mind because they are deficient in hormones.
On World Menopause Day, take some time to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of menopause and if you're not feeling your best, arm yourself with the information you need to discuss your symptoms and a desired outcome with your chosen health care practitioner. Check out the many menopause specialists out there who are striving for positive change.
Remember, you have the right to feel well and happy. Take positive steps towards making the change that's right for you and let's all be thankful that there are many menopause warriors out there who are the suffragettes of our time...fighting for a change that needs to happen!