Menopause experts say that women should not experience the menopause as a burden, but as a natural enrichment.
The menopause as the autumn of life, as a farewell to fertility, as a phase with symptoms and limitations: the exclusively negative view of the menopause urgently needs to be changed, experts are increasingly demanding.
What is also new is that prominent women are openly reporting on their personal experiences, most recently Hollywood star Salma Hayek and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“Time for a change: We need a new attitude towards menopause” was the title of an editorial in The Lancet, which was published in the summer of 2022. Menopause is wrongly stigmatized.
“The menopause has long had negative connotations”
There is an urgent need for a holistic and individual view of this phase of life. “The menopause has long had negative connotations in too many societies – or has been hushed up.”
Yes, many women would have problems in this phase, some suffering from hot flashes and night sweats, depression and cognitive limitations, a decrease in sexual desire or sleep disorders.
Menopause also has positive sides
But many women don’t have these problems either – only the discourse hardly allows to perceive the positive sides. Advantages can be, for example, that the annoying menstrual period does not occur and that you no longer have to use contraception. Menopause can also mark a new beginning: “Menopause can be a time to reinvent your life.”
It is wrong to see the menopause exclusively as a hormone deficiency that requires treatment, say doctors led by Martha Hickey from the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital Victoria (Australia). This fuels negative expectations and is therefore potentially harmful.
Hickey and her colleagues call for a more realistic and balanced narrative of female aging. They suggest better educating women and emphasizing the positive: “Seeing women’s aging as normal, celebrating the strength, beauty and achievements of older women can change the narrative and offer positive role models.”
The high summer of life
The second half of life is not the “autumn of life,” says Wiesbaden gynecologist Sheila de Liz, who wrote a bestseller about menopause with “Woman on Fire” (Rowohlt), in a trailer for her book.
“It’s more midsummer.” De Liz also thinks that the picture of this phase of life has to change: “It’s time that we talk about menopause and its advantages.”
Katrin Schaudig, President of the German Menopause Society, likes the approach, but is skeptical about how it should look in practice. Around 30 to 50 percent of all women have symptoms during menopause that impair their quality of life. (SDA)