Why you should be talking about The Menopause in your 20s
Every woman will experience the menopause in their own unique way, but for many it still remains shrouded in worry and ignorance. By having conversations we can understand it for what it really is—a time for all women to thrive.
The Menopause is a universal milestone of womanhood, yet as a young woman myself, I know very little about it. We all receive the dreaded ‘talk’ before we start our period, but for some reason we don’t get the ‘talk’ before our period stops. Something that is an inherent part of growing up is removed from the dialogue. I’m now 22 and still don’t understand the full scale of symptoms. My knowledge is basic and I can’t help but feel daunted by the prospect of the transition, as inevitable as it may be.
First and foremost, what actually is the menopause?
Before writing this article, I wouldn’t have been able to answer properly. The menopause was simply the end of your menstrual cycle. But when I looked into it, I realised that it was far more personal, and to reduce the menopause to this meagre statement enters into the dangerous territory of trivialising something that is a pivotal moment in a woman’s life.
The menopause occurs when you have experienced no periods for 12 consecutive months, with peri-menopause (the time before menopause) lasting up to 10 years and post-menopause being the time after. There are 48 known symptoms associated with each phase, including hot flushes, anxiety and night sweats.
Despite being so extensive, only 51% of women can actually name 3 of these symptoms. What’s clear is that women are not aware of the true scope of menopause. I for one had no idea of its magnitude, in fact, I can’t think of a single instance where I’ve actually heard anyone talk about it—friends, family, teachers. For some reason, society places an emphasis on the preliminary phases of womanhood, and a disregard for the latter.
Yes, the menopause is probably decades away for me, but it should not represent some far-off euphemism, it should be embraced and included in the conversation from the get-go. I believe we all have the right to understand our bodies and own our bodily autonomy. We should feel prepared for every chapter of life.
Why is the menopause such a taboo?
Almost 13 million women in the UK are experiencing the peri- or post-menopause. But despite being so prevalent, the menopause still remains caught up in harmful stereotypes. There’s an overriding feeling of loss surrounding the dialogue, with women falsely connecting a loss of fertility to a loss of femininity. I’ve definitely heard the phrase ‘past it’ thrown about too many times to count.
Why are we rejecting the innate cycle of womanhood when we should be championing it? I’m a firm believer that the female reproductive journey is something to be empowered, and only by dissolving these labels can we create a space where women can talk about it comfortably and openly.
So why should we be talking about menopause so early on?
1. To understand our bodies and how they operate.
2. To dismantle these stereotypes and honour the female body in every phase of life.
3. To normalise having conversations and empathise with women going through the menopause—no woman should suffer in silence.
4. To enable us to prepare for our own menopause.
I for one plan to have more discussions with my mum and friends, so I can be more open and informed about a natural part of life. I think it’s time we saw a shift in mentality: from rejection to celebration; condemnation to liberation.
Don't be afraid of the menopause. Change will come when we talk about it now. Let’s allow everyone of all ages to be involved in the conversation and remove the stigma.
Read more about it at: https://luna-daily.com/blogs/resources/why-we-need-to-talk-more-about-menopause
Written by Libby Collins