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Study

Two in five women who've experienced or are experiencing menopause think it's a taboo subject, research finds

Of those who don’t discuss their menopausal symptoms, 22% cite embarrassment as a factor.

AROUND 40% OF women in Ireland who are experiencing or have experienced menopause still think it’s a taboo subject. 

The same proportion only discuss symptoms with their healthcare professional while 37% don’t discuss their symptoms with anyone.

That’s according to a survey of 300 female adults aged 45-60, commissioned by Besins Healthcare.

Of those who don’t discuss their menopausal symptoms, 22% cite embarrassment as a factor. 

Some of the most common menopausal symptoms reported by those who’ve gone/are going through menopause included hot flushes (71%), night sweats (69%), sleeping problems (65%), weight gain (57%), mood changes (45%), vaginal dryness (44%) and urinary issues (27%).

While a number of menopausal symptoms decline over time, such as hot flushes, other symptoms such as vaginal dryness can worsen over time. 

According to the research, 51% of women experience vaginal dryness post-menopause. 

Dr Deirdre Lundy, coordinator of sexual and reproductive health courses at the Irish College of General Practitioners, said: “Menopause is something all women experience and as we are now living longer, we live with the after-effects of menopause for much longer. 

“There are new treatments available that target specific issues of menopause, such as vaginal dryness, which can help treat chronic ongoing symptoms and can greatly improve a women’s quality of life. This research shows that many women are suffering in silence so I would urge all women to engage with their doctor or nurse to discuss any symptoms of menopause that they may be experiencing.”

Elsewhere in the survey, 77% said that sex was important to them but 44% said their sex lives had dis-improved.

A further 45% said they had experienced discomfort during sex with vaginal dryness cited as the main cause of discomfort.

As well as the consulting a healthcare professional, those experiencing symptoms can help manage them in a number of ways, including “getting enough sleep, practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol, carrying out pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen the muscles and improve forms of urinary incontinence, eating a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, quitting smoking and exercising regularly”.

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