Op-Ed: Menopause and the Culture of Ignorance
If someone were to tell a woman going through menopause that the hot flashes she is experiencing are all in her head, there would, no doubt, be a mass outcry denouncing this kind of misinformation.
Yet a recent CBC story suggesting “vaginal atrophy” is largely a promotion by big pharma, and not a painful condition suffered by women, has gone, as yet, unchallenged.
Only about 20% of women in Canada are lucky enough to consider themselves asymptomatic during menopause. But up to 80% claim to suffer from at least one menopausal symptom including mood swings, irritability, interrupted sleep, hot flashes or vaginal dryness.
In spite of the fact that about half the population over 50 are in various degrees of physical discomfort from these diverse symptoms, we still aren’t talking about it. Yet in multiple surveys women indicate they avoid intimacy, starting with menopause, because they are worried about painful sex.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) is a leading authority on women’s health in Canada. We believe it is time women stopped suffering in silence. Menopause is a natural step in the aging process that not only impacts most women experiencing it; it also has a profound impact on their partners. For improved quality of life, we must stop the culture of ignorance that surrounds menopause and set the record straight.