Mark October 18th on your calendar – it’s World Menopause Day! That’s right! It is a day devoted to hot flashes; a time to celebrate those raging hormones.
World Menopause Day started all the way back in 1984, though it is relatively unheard of. Instituted by the International Menopause Society and the World Health Organization, World Menopause Day was designed to bring increased awareness to menopause. Every woman will experience menopause in her lifetime, whether by natural onset or due to a hysterectomy or some cancer treatments. Yet very few of us feel comfortable talking about the changes we are going through because so many attitudes about ‘the change’ still remain.
World Menopause Day is a chance for the members of the Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies around the world to address the many issues women face during menopause. Moreover, healthcare professionals can raise awareness of the need to introduce research strategies and options that lead to better and more advanced treatments for conditions related to menopause.
As our world’s population ages, it makes sense that more women than at any other time in human history will undergo menopause over the next few decades. Menopause affects a woman’s quality of life and more importantly puts her at increased risk for osteoporosis, breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Understanding how the risk factors associated with these conditions relate to menopause can only help lead to providing quality health care.
In the last couple of years, World Menopause Day saw some incredible breakthroughs regarding menopause in many countries, including Bangladesh, Belgium, Greece, India, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Uruguay, Ireland, the United Kingdom and several others. Various healthcare professionals used the day to promote awareness with peers and with the public. Some cultures see women’s health issues as less important or not open for discussion. World Menopause Day aims to change that.
Using media releases, conferences, public awareness messages, bone density and breast examination demonstrations, menopause is slowly becoming less of a topic that women do not want to talk about. Women are encouraged to speak with their doctors and become more educated about what happens during menopause and the treatments that are available.
As women we can finally get proper treatments for conditions that are very real and not just ‘all in our heads’ as we have been told for years. The more healthcare professionals around the world become informed about menopause, the more the old attitudes will dissipate leaving women more comfortable discussing how menopause affects them. One day alone will not change everything, but it is a very important step in taking women's healthcare seriously. Make your stand this October 18th by celebrating and declaring that you are menopausal and proud of it!
Patients and healthcare professionals can learn more about World Menopause Day by visiting www.imsociety.org. Of particular interest to professionals are the various fact sheets, media briefings and press release information available for downloading.
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You