Research has revealed that nearly half (43%) of women in the UK feel alone during the menopause with over half (51%) choosing not to inform their partner they are entering the life stage. Adding to the feeling of isolation and loneliness, close to eight in 10 (77%) of those polled by Tena revealed they didn’t tell their mother about starting the menopause, while 79% didn’t tell another female relative. More than half (60%) say they didn’t tell their friend and close to eight in 10 (76%) didn’t inform a healthcare professional.
Research reveals the extent to which women see menopause framed within media and culture as a wholly negative experience, with 71% agreeing that more positive elements aren’t acknowledged.
Women often don’t know what to expect or how to manage the experience, which can leave them feeling lonely, isolated and utterly unprepared and unsupported, with 77% feeling unsupported by their partner or spouse, and just 15% feeling supported by their mother. The same number (15%) don’t feel prepared for the menopause at all, while 35% believe there are myths being perpetuated and discussed about the menopause in general.
However, experiencing the menopause isn’t all negative, with close to half (47%) of menopausal and pre-menopausal women saying there are some benefits to the life stage. In fact, 83% of all those polled state saying goodbye to periods forever is a key benefit, while over half (53%) say the end of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the fear of unwanted pregnancy (39%) are other positive changes.
As part of Tena’s #LastLonelyMenopause campaign, the brand has launched an online guide to encourage more intergenerational conversations about the life stage. Called Infrequently Asked Questions, it highlights the importance of intergenerational conversations by featuring words of wisdom gathered from women during their own menopausal journey, as well as the advice and tips they wish to pass down to future generations.
The Primary Care Women’s Health Forum (PCWHF) is lending a voice to the cause. Dr Jane Davis, member of the PCWHF Board, GP and menopause specialist, commented: “What really jumps out to me about the #lastlonelymenopause campaign is that it strikes at the heart of the issue of taboo around menopause – it’s about not being embarrassed to talk about it. The mother-daughter story is one heard over and over again, ‘My mum never told me what the menopause was like’. It is getting better in terms of conversations, but there is more to be done.
“As the campaign says, menopause is like ‘shedding a skin’ – and it’s there that the hope lies. Menopause is a transition, one that is to be celebrated because things are better after; they’re just different. It’s all about supporting each other, opening up those intergenerational conversations and not being afraid to ask for help from your healthcare professional. That’s what we’re here for! Don’t make menopause a lonely place for you and others – open up those conversations.”