(ARA) – Most women remember having “the talk” with their mother. In that crucial time just before puberty, moms provide guidance and wisdom about the changes our bodies go through. But later in life, women experience another important time of change – menopause – and many approach it without the comfort and connection that comes from talking to other women about what they are experiencing.
However, women are ready to change that – and as many as 80 percent of women believe it’s time for the conversation about menopause to change, according to a recent study.
Despite the fact that most women go through menopause, many feel anxiety about it. The study also found that more than 50 percent of women say that anxiety about menopause is caused by not knowing enough about this life stage. And when only 5 percent of women can name the top five symptoms of menopause, as the study found, it’s no wonder that women are concerned about not knowing what’s coming next.
“The symptoms of menopause can vary widely,” said Dr. Cindy Long, an OB-GYN and former OB-GYN department chair at North Suburban Medical Center. “Some women will describe very minimal symptoms and many others may have severe, sometimes distressing symptoms. Many women are looking for non-medical options to help provide comfort from the variety of symptoms they may experience.”
Talking to other women who are going through menopause is an important way to gain knowledge while also finding support and fellowship. Having a dedicated venue to get the conversation started can give women more confidence to bring the subject up in other situations.
“No doubt, it can be more fun to chat about vacations, movies or grandkids, but didn’t we share our concerns about pregnancies and childbirth when those topics were on our minds?” asks Dr. Vivian Diller, a clinical psychologist. “By starting the conversation about menopause with openness and confidence – and even a sense of humor – we make it more comfortable for women to express what they’re feeling.”
Having access to a community of supportive women can help make the stresses of menopause seem less daunting, and even offer opportunities to find humor and connection in the experience.
“Every woman can benefit from educating herself about physical and emotional symptoms,” said Diller. “We need to overcome our need for this long-standing cover-up and let the big secret out.”