Attitudes towards menopause around the world
Have you ever wondered how different cultures approach menopause? Millions of women across the world are experiencing menopause or peri-menopause every day. In fact the World Health Organisation reported in 2021, women aged 50 and over accounted for 26% of all women and girls globally.
Whilst we know that a woman’s experience of menopause is unique and individual, cultural differences can play a role in how these experiences vary. In some countries menopause is viewed as an exciting stage of renewal, whilst in others it is seen as a loss of femininity and power, and in many countries menopause is still seen as a taboo subject.
To learn more about menopause and break the taboo with employers, friends, and family, we recommend watching our Menopause Roundtable with Sarah Parish.
What is menopause?
Menopause is more than just a biological transition. Menopause has social, emotional, and economic repercussions. In medical terms, menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Perimenopause is a transitional stage when the ovaries gradually produce less oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. You may like to learn more in ‘How to know if you’re starting menopause’ by hormone health expert Dr Katie Hodgkinson.
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There are many symptoms of menopause, both physical and mental, with brain fog reported the most common in menopause research. There are in fact hundreds of menopause symptoms, and you may enjoy learning about eight unusual symptoms of menopause that you may not be aware of.
Menopause is a seriously important time in a woman’s life that we at DR.VEGAN believe everyone should be more knowledgeable about to better support women. This includes men, employers, governments, children, friends, neighbours, and family. Sadly, the suicide rate for women peaks in ages 45-49, which coincides with the most common peri-menopausal age.
Menopause in Japan
Japanese culture generally has an ingrained respect for menopause. In fact the Japanese word for menopause is 'konenki' which translates as 'renewal' and 'energy with the seasons'. There is no 'pause', menopause is instead positively framed as a body going through healthy change!
In 1986, mass interviews of menopausal Japanese women highlighted that the loss of reproduction was not of great importance, and the participants instead expressed excitement at the comfort and power of running an extended family.
Research shows that few women in Japan suffer hot flushes during menopause. Some think this is due to a diet that is high in soy, though studies are not conclusive. Soy can be found in foods like tofu, tempeh, and foods that involve soy milk. Soy contains chemical compounds called Isoflavones that have some oestrogen-like effects.
Discover our Menopause Hub | Resources to help support women through all stages of menopause.
Menopause in India
Mass research was conducted in the 1970s in Rajasthan, India, reporting the positive social shift following the menopause stage of life. Marcha Flint’s research highlights women who are post-menopause being allowed to socialise with men. This included publicly sharing drinks and joking, rather than being segregated pre-menopause.
However, peri-menopause is reported at a younger average age for women in India than other countries around the world, at 46 rather than 51 which is the most common age for menopause in the UK, for example. A wealth index was cited as the most important factor associated with lower risk of natural menopause symptoms and research is being conducted into whether there is a link between poverty and nutrition and the age of starting menopause.
Openly speaking about menopause is generally not common in India and there is need for improvement in education, just like in the UK. Only in 2019 was the first ever Bollywood movie to showcase menopause released, called Painful Pride, highlighting that menopause is a phase of life and not a disease.
Menopause in the UK
Whilst there are available medical treatments that NHS doctor’s can prescribe, such as HRT (hormone replacement therapy), or hormonal treatment (creams, pessaries, gel or vaginal rings) for symptoms like vaginal dryness, it is safe to say there still isn't a strong level of understanding about menopause on a medical or public level. In fact, in 2021, only 40% of medical schools in the UK taught GPs about menopause.
Menopause is beginning to be taken more seriously, however menopause legislation has a long way to go as employment tribunals involving menopause increased by 44% in 2021. Age and gender discrimination cases are common employment tribunals in the UK.
DR.VEGAN’s research with over 1,000 participants in the UK showed half of women going through menopause experience mild depression, 63% lose their confidence, 80% experience brain fog, and 10% experience severe depression as a result of their menopausal symptoms. HRT is only taken by 16% of women in the UK, with the majority of women opting for natural remedies to support and relieve symptoms through this very natural phase of life.
MenoFriend® is an acclaimed formula of clinically tested botanicals, minerals and phytoestrogens to relieve common symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause, including brain fog, hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, poor sleep, fatigue, weight gain and joint aches. Including Wild Yam, Dong Quai, Red Clover, Maca Root and B-Vitamins, MenoFriend® helps regulate your hormone activity to support a better mood, sleep, energy and joints every day. 88% of women who take MenoFriend® enjoy relief from their symptoms.
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