Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
October is World Menopause Month! The theme for World Menopause Month 2010 is postmenopausal genital health and atrophy. This theme was chosen to spotlight the various changes in the genitals and bladder caused by declining estrogen levels. Symptoms including declining libido, vulvar dryness, urinary incontinence, and painful intercourse continue to impact women’s lives in their postmenopausal years.
The International Menopause Society (IMS) uses World Menopause Month to promote women’s health issues around the world. In the case of women’s genital health, women are particularly reluctant to approach their doctors or seek treatment. Whether due to fear, cultural customs or misinformation, women are suffering the effects of menopause and other age-related conditions.
The IMS and World Menopause Month
The IMS works together with many of the world’s national menopause societies belonging to the Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies (CAMS). These societies promote education within their own countries, and share knowledge on the latest menopause information. Turning the spotlight on menopause also focuses attention on many related health care issues women face during their menopausal years and beyond. As life expectancies increase in both developed and developing nations, acknowledging women’s healthcare is more important than ever.
How does a World Menopause Month help?
Menopause will affect every woman who lives long enough to experience natural onset menopause or who undergoes menopause due to surgical procedures or medical treatments. Women the world over deal with many of the typical menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
But some cultures tend to report greater occurrences of particular symptoms due to dietary and lifestyle differences. Hot flashes for example have long been at the top of women’s complaint lists in North America. Women in other countries, Japan for instance, complain more about frozen shoulder syndrome than hot flashes.
World Menopause Month means medical experts are looking beyond the predominantly Western value systems and menopause studies. The various CAMS societies now look within their own countries to learn more about women’s health, menopause and menopause treatments. Localized research not only respects cultural differences; it also recognizes that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to menopause treatments.
The ultimate goal of World Menopause Month is to give women everywhere the opportunity to learn more about healthcare in their own culture and language. Doctors and researchers who promote women’s healthcare demonstrate to their patients that women’s health issues are important. World Menopause Month is a starting point to help bridge the gap between doctors and patients and get both sides talking about menopause and other age-related healthcare issues facing women.
What can I do during World Menopause Month?
No matter where you live, there are opportunities to learn more about your health and promote women’s well-being.
*Talk to your doctor not just as a patient but as a partner who is interested in proactive healthcare
*Learn more about the menopause organizations in your area or country – you can find a listing of these societies at the IMS Web site
*Conduct your menopause research using trusted sources; look for governmental sites, medical journals and objective reporting sites
*Join a local support group or one you find on the Internet, or start your own!
*Find a trusted blog or Website that provides solutions to deal with menopause, not just a retelling of the symptoms
*Talk to family and friends to promote menopause and eliminate the old stereotypes that still persist
World Menopause Month helps break down the barriers between equality and access healthcare for women. Overall, there is still a long way to go in overcoming the many hurdles women face around the world. Yet with an officially recognized month dedicated to menopause, the long overdue changes to attitudes towards women’s health are finally beginning to happen.
Find out more! Go to www.imsociety.org for more about World Menopause Month and for a list of Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies around the world.
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You