A good example is perimenopause – who knew there was a warm up to the actual event? It can hit women as early as 40, and the cliché ‘hot flushes’ does not even begin to cover the side effects some will experience.
Crippling anxiety, self-doubt, depression, insomnia, mood changes, brain fog and irregular periods can all be part of perimenopause and menopause.
This often happens just as women reach the stage in their career when they move into executive or senior roles or are looking to re-enter the workforce after raising a family.
Many women battle through this stage in life without the knowledge that this is something that is happening to their body and that it’s not a failure on their part, a sign they can’t do the job, or handle life at this pace, and that they can do something about it.
While everyone has a unique story, the issue is one all women will experience and have to deal with at some point in their lives.
More research, greater understanding, better allocation of funding for health services and support would make life easier for everyone.
Let’s follow the lead of our young women who are changing attitudes and society for the better.
Older generations of women like me should also help grow awareness and acceptance of this normal part of ageing.
It takes courage to speak up. I know many women of my generation worry that admitting they aren’t functioning as they always were could be seen as a weakness and be detrimental to their careers.
We need to remove that stigma attached to menopause and ensure it is not a barrier to success.
Monday 18th October is World Menopause Day – the purpose is to raise awareness of menopause and the support options available for improving health and well-being.
This article was first published on Stuff.co.nz.