Every woman will go through menopause at some point in her life, but new research shows that a huge 80 per cent of Australians don’t know what menopause is. Integrative healthcare brand Flordis is on a mission to break the taboo, educate the public and encourage women to embrace this pivotal time in their lives.
Words BRIELLE KELLY
Every day, thousands of women across the world enter into a normal and natural stage of life, menopause. And while menopause is an absolute certainty for all women at some point in their lives, new research has revealed that four out of five Australians don’t actually know what menopause is and how it can impact a woman’s life. This research, conducted by Flordis Femular®, reveals the persistent misunderstanding surrounding menopause and how the many misconceptions around this time can affect women’s wellbeing.
While the average age of menopause is around 51 years, Flordis’ research shows that nearly half (48 per cent) of Australian women who had been through menopause experienced symptoms before the age of 45, which is much younger than people generally think it occurs.
Leading women’s health and reproduction educator Natasha Andreadis believes that the many misconceptions surrounding menopause, and the fact that symptoms and timelines can vary considerably from person to person, is the reason many Aussies are still “menopause ignorant”.
“It’s really quite disheartening to find that 80 per cent of women in their 40s and 50s feel like menopause is still a misunderstood topic that can’t be discussed in day-to-day life,” she says. “For women, this is a pivotal time in their lives that they should be able to embrace with freedom and empowerment, yet instead, the Flordis Femular research has found that they believe they will be perceived as old, less valuable (due to their inability to have children) or not as attractive as they once were. And with the general population reinforcing these sentiments, it truly shows that misinterpretations of menopause are having an impact, by continuing to fuel the stigma and drive these feelings in women.”
Fifty-one-year-old business owner Alex Coward first began noticing menopause symptoms about 18 months ago. Her cycle had become more sporadic over time, and was accompanied by difficult symptoms including sleeplessness, low energy and hot flushes. While trying other therapeutics, Alex decided to pursue complementary medicines to help alleviate her menopause symptoms. She tried the Flordis women’s health range, including Flordis Femular®, which she says relieves a lot of her symptoms. “Having energy was always a pride thing, and menopause really stole that from me. It’s been a tough process, particularly in the early stages; however, now I am working to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle with Flordis Femular®, which is helping me be less hot and sticky during the night, sleep easier and just overall cope better with the symptoms,” she says.
When it comes to menopause, Andreadis stresses that there is no set framework for how each woman will experience it, but instead should become as menopause-aware as possible and be on the lookout for symptoms of perimenopause as they hit their 40s, so they can combat it effectively. Andreadis has some top tips for noticing the early stages of menopause.
Track your cycle
If you’re someone who’s always been on a regular cycle, one of the first differences you will notice entering into perimenopause is the irregularities in your cycle. During perimenopause, it’s normal to skip periods for intermittent lengths of time. This can go on for years; however, once you’ve had no period for at least 12 months, this is normally when you would be considered as moving into the menopausal stage of life.
While many women ignore the habit of tracking their cycle after children or as they age, maintaining this is an important step through your menopause journey, so you can keep an eye on how frequently and consistently your periods are coming and know where in the process you are.
Don’t ignore the lethargy
During perimenopause, your body experiences changes to its hormone levels, including oestrogen and progesterone as well as those produced by the thyroid, so it’s understandable if you start to feel a little lethargic or fatigued. I’ve noticed a lot of my patients want to blame busyness or crazy work schedules; however, getting tired or lacking energy when you used to be bouncing off the walls is a clear sign that something is changing in your body. As women we like to think we can take on the world, but sometimes we just need to stop, take a breath and listen to our body and what it needs.
Embrace the stereotypes
One of the major telltale signs that a woman is entering into menopause is a significant adjustment in mood and temperament. I know, it seems like one of those lazy stereotypes, but it’s often true. Studies show that women are more likely to experience anxiety, low mood and mood swings in perimenopause, so it shouldn’t be something you have to make an excuse for.
Your body is going through one of the biggest transitions in its existence, so embrace those stereotypes with pride, ensuring those closest to you know you’re going through a few hormonal adjustments, so they understand and can assist you to make it as easy as possible.
Common menopause symptoms
Results from the Flordis research.
- Hot flushes: 57 per cent. Those aged 51+ were more likely to report this, with 64 per cent aged 51–55 and 77 per cent aged 56-65
- Night sweats: 48 per cent
- Sleeplessness: 48 per cent
- Mood swings: 42 per cent
- Fatigue: 42 per cent
- Irritability: 40 per cent
- Anxiety: 36 per cent
- Joint paint: 29 per cent
For more, visit flordis.com.au.