February 9, 2010
AN ESTIMATED 260,000 women in Ireland are currently experiencing the menopause. About two-thirds of these women are having regular symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and forgetfulness. Although a completely normal stage in every woman’s life, the menopause is still rarely talked about in public, and even in private it is usually whispered about in moments stolen from other conversations.
The Women’s Health Council report on the menopause in 2008 helped lift some of the secrecy around the issue by providing a comprehensive study of women’s experiences of the menopause, public attitudes to the menopause and an analysis of treatments – both conventional and alternative.
The study found that although only one in four adults considered themselves to be well informed about the menopause, most people knew that hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability and depression were all associated with the menopause. The difficulty is working out whether the symptoms – particularly the psychological ones – can be attributed to the menopause or not.
“It’s difficult to say exactly how long the menopause will last because it varies so much from woman to woman. Some women will have a regular cycle and then miss one period and never have another, while others will have irregular periods for five years. Some will have night sweats or hot flushes for even longer,” explains Dr Caitriona Henchion from the Irish Family Planning Association.
Are you serious? Picture is from the 1950’s and calling this “the menopause” is also dated. Where have the Irish been?