New study finds women hide menopause from their partners

Menopause can be seen as a taboo topic and often results in women keeping it a secret a new study has found.

Incontinence products firm Tena have launched a campaign encouraging women to talk to their loved ones about "the change" after they conducted a poll of nearly 2000 women in the UK and found some surprising results.

The campaign is one of many attempting to positively influence the way society talks about and deals with menopause.

The Daily Mail has reported 43 per cent of the women who took part in the poll noted feeling "completely alone" during menopause with only one-quarter of the group choosing to consult a health professional.

The poll also found that 77 per cent of women were hesitant to tell their mother and most keep it a secret from their friends claiming they felt it was "still taboo to many people".

Meanwhile half of the women who had been through menopause admitted they kept it secret from their partners.

Speaking on the poll's findings, Dr Jane Davis, of the Primary Care Women's Health Forum said, "The campaign 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. Menopause is a transition, one that is to be celebrated because things are better after.

"It's all about supporting each other, opening up those intergenerational conversations and not being afraid to ask for help from your healthcare professional."

The results of the poll went on to note only two in 10 women confided in a female relative as a way of dealing with the biological change. It revealed that while 39 per cent of younger women are "dreading" the experience, half of those who had come out the other side appreciated post-menopausal benefits like no periods or PMS.

And a further four in 10 enjoyed being able to have sex without contraception.

TV presenter Lisa Snowdon who is supporting the campaign said, "It's no wonder the word sparks fear in the hearts and minds of women across the globe. For too long, women experiencing the menopause have suffered in silence, alone and fearful of what is to come.

"Synonymous with 'middle age', in a society where ageism is rife, menopause is not celebrated – it's seen as the beginning of a decline. By discussing the menopause with our daughters, nieces, mothers, grandmothers, friends, and partners, we can end the cycle of loneliness."

Menopause, while a fleeting moment occurring 12 months after a woman's last period, can have up to 34 symptoms which can last for years. On average women will go through menopause at the age of 51 but can experience symptoms in the years before (perimenopause) and the year's after (post-menopause).

Symptoms include hot flushes, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, itching, headaches and dryness.

This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.