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‘Beyond the jokes, the sniggering, the ‘forgetful, flustered, over-heated middle-aged lady’ stereotype, the truth about menopause is far more troubling’

We have taken some baby steps in terms of opening the conversation about the big M, 
but with 10pc of women leaving the workplace due to menopause symptoms and evidence that the change can severely impact mental health, we need to do a whole lot more.

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It is an unavoidable fact that all women go through the menopause — so we need to start talking about it more to normalise it.

It is an unavoidable fact that all women go through the menopause — so we need to start talking about it more to normalise it.

It is an unavoidable fact that all women go through the menopause — so we need to start talking about it more to normalise it.

Any get-together between women that lasts longer than half an hour is likely to stray deep into ‘sharing’ territory. Sex lives, childbirth, body hair, emotional MOT, parenting, money, all are up for grabs, to be discussed frankly and openly. All except menopause. Too often, if that comes up, the conversation shuts down. ‘I haven’t noticed anything yet,’ women will say, almost defensively; even women in their late 40s and early 50s, in full defiance of the statistics. ‘I’m still menstruating,’ they might add, as if that fact is proof that they can’t be perimenopausal.

And indeed, maybe they believe that. The ignorance around menopause is pretty shocking given the big deal that it is. All women will go through it, generally starting somewhere in their mid to late 40s, but very often much earlier, and hitting menopause — the ending of the menstrual cycle; diagnosed after 12 months without a menstrual period — around 51 or 52. Around 25pc of women will experience severe symptoms — and by severe, I mean symptoms that are physically and psychologically debilitating and life-limiting.


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