Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
October 18th is a time for celebration; it’s World Menopause Day!
World Menopause Day, created by the International Menopause Society (IMS), marks the advancements being made in menopause research and treatment. World Menopause Day helps affiliated menopause societies around the globe promote women’s healthcare issues.
World Menopause Day 2010
This year’s World Menopause Day theme, Postmenopausal genital and vulvar health and atrophy, will address the specific concerns of women’s pelvic health issues or urogenital health issues. There are some special concerns surrounding these health matters as noted by the IMS:
*Urogenital menopause symptoms include vulvar dryness, genital itching, genital burning, painful intercourse; these symptoms affect women’s health, sensuality and overall wellbeing.
*Compared to some menopausal symptoms like hot flashes that eventually disappear in the postmenopausal years, urogenital symptoms tend to last into postmenopause and continue to impact women’s lives.
Reluctance to seek treatment
Few women in more open Western societies, as little as 25%, seek treatment for the discomfort of genital health issues. This number is likely less in cultures where women’s health or reproductive issues are rarely discussed even among medical experts. Women brave enough for fortunate enough to seek help will self-medicate with lubricants or creams but these only provide a little relief and do nothing to address the real cause - declining estrogen levels. World Menopause Day will encourage women and their doctors to talk more openly about menopause and provide the information needed to understand menopause treatment options.
World Menopause Day 2009 progress report
Wondering whether World Menopause Day is really making a difference in women’s lives? The IMS features some of the breakthroughs made around the world in a report provided by various national menopause societies of the Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies (CAMS).
Among some of the highlights from World Menopause Day 2009:
*The Australasian Menopause Society promoted a new Web site that featured information on dealing with the costs of HRT and how these costs influence whether women seek HRT advice.
*The Bangladesh Menopause Society used television and newspapers to increase menopause awareness and made information available to those living outside major cities.
*The Belgian Menopause Society also used the media to full effect and addressed ‘Cancers in women after menopause’ during a fall symposium.
*The Croatian Menopause Society celebrated a full week devoted to menopause with information for professionals, journalists, and patients. Medical errors in menopause, misinformation, and litigation were discussed.
*The Indian Menopause Society reported having 34 local chapters throughout India giving women and professionals better local access to healthcare.
*The Indonesian Menopause Society focused their World Menopause Day efforts on osteoporosis risks and treatments.
*The Japan Menopause Society also devoted a whole week to menopause and provided telephone menopause consultations and distributed brochures. The goal is to make all citizens, not just doctors, aware of World Menopause Day.
*The Philippines Menopause Society held an annual convention to promote women’s cardiovascular health and provided free pap smears, breast exams and bone density tests to the public. A highlight was former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz discussing being menopausal as a positive time in her life.
*The Portuguese Menopause Society used many methods to promote menopause awareness including a menopause walk organized by local women in Chaves proving women can get involved in this cause.
*The Romanian Menopause Society reported many events that took place throughout the year such as medical conventions for menopause and television interviews. The society has stressed the responsibility specialists have to promote HRT awareness and educate the public about menopause.
*The Serbian Menopause Society boasts 400 members (Serbia has only around 7 million citizens, not including Kosovo per the 2010 CIA World Fact book) demonstrating how doctors, patients and the media are succeeding in promoting menopause.
*The Taiwanese Menopause Society and the Taiwanese Osteoporosis Association promoted menopause and osteoporosis by discussing prevention and treatment.
*The Uruguayan Menopause Society brought together gynaecology, endocrinology, hematology and other healthcare experts to share knowledge and examine HRT research. An additional conference welcomed participation from the media and the public.
These items may appear to be small steps. For some cultures these are extraordinary advancements in women’s healthcare. No matter how big or small the steps may be they signal important changes in attitudes towards women, menopause, healthcare and the aging process.
By sharing knowledge and opening up communications between doctors and patients healthcare issues such as menopause are no longer being ignored. Finally women are starting, even if slowly, to gain access to the information and healthcare they need and deserve regardless of where in the world they live.
Remember to celebrate World Menopause Day wherever you are!
Read the full World Menopause Day 2009 report and learn more about the latest menopause news and information at: www.imsociety.org
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You