To mark World Menopause Month in October, global healthcare leader Abbott is leading efforts to empower women to live this life stage fully. According to a recent survey conducted by Abbott in partnership with Ipsos, 87% of people feel that menopause can significantly impact a woman’s everyday life. Yet, conversations about this topic are limited. As menopause is a phase that impacts all women as they grow older, Abbott’s goal is to raise awareness and support women during this distinct stage in their lives.
To support conversations about menopause, Abbott is launching The Next Chapter campaign, to raise awareness and empower more women to seek the support and care they may need. The Next Chapter campaign kicked-off today with a collection of stories that share women’s unique perspectives and personal experiences with menopause. In India, this compilation of stories was launched with former Miss Universe, Lara Dutta, along with eminent gynaecologist, Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, President Elect, The Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI); Dr. Tejal Lathia, Consultant Endocrinologist, Apollo & Fortis Hospitals; and Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople.
Dr. Parag Sheth, regional medical director, Abbott India, said, “At Abbott, we are committed to helping women live longer and fuller lives. Menopause can be challenging for many. We are raising awareness about women’s menopausal experiences so that women can better understand menopause, be more comfortable to talk about it, and get the support they may need to live this life stage fully. Through our efforts, we are striving to empower women to embrace this new chapter in their lives.”
SURVEY REVEALS MENOPAUSE IMPACTS VARIOUS ASPECT OF LIFE
Abbott’s survey took insights from more than 1,200 people across seven cities. The objective of the survey was to assess awareness levels, perceptions, and experiences women go through during menopause. The survey included women in the 45-55 years age group, as well as family members.
- 82% of respondents believe that menopause can impact a woman’s personal well-being – with many also believing it affects their sexual life (78%), family life (77%), social life (74%) and work life (81%).
- Nearly 48% women mentioned experiencing severe menopausal symptoms – including scanty bleeding (59%), depression (56%), pain during intercourse (55%), and heavy bleeding during periods (53%).
- About 84% respondents feel women undergo a lot of changes during menopause, which demands more care from the family.
- About 37% of women consulted a gynaecologist for their menopause symptoms. Of these, approximately 93% women consulted the gynaecologist after three months or more of starting to experience symptoms. Amongst those who visited a gynaecologist, 54% went to a doctor after more than 7 months.
- 79% of respondents believe women are not comfortable discussing menopause with their family, friends or colleagues – with 62% of women not wanting to ‘trouble their family with their health problems’.
- 76% of women shared that they had never heard their mothers and/or older sisters look for any specific help during menopause.
- 91% of the husbands surveyed felt that more women need to talk about their experiences regarding menopause to increase awareness.
- 80% of respondents believed it is more common to discuss contraception and infertility than menopause – indicating the stigma and ‘taboo’ nature of the topic in India.
Elaborating on the gaps highlighted in the survey, Dr. Pai said, “Understanding how the body changes during menopause and how women can manage uncomfortable symptoms is vital to help them navigate the transition, while safeguarding their long-term health and quality of life. By sharing valuable insights on the wide-ranging symptoms and impacts of menopause, including the experiences of Indian women undergoing this transition in particular, we can take an important step towards educating women and tackling the stigma around this life stage.”
Sharing her thoughts on menopause as a taboo topic, Lara Dutta, former Miss Universe, said, “Although menopause is part of a woman’s natural life process, it is something we often stay silent about. As a result, many women don’t really know what to expect. The more we talk about menopause, the more women will feel empowered to better understand this stage of life. This can encourage them to talk to their friends, families and doctors, so they can not only manage symptoms but embrace what lies ahead.”
MENOPAUSE – A TOPIC STILL LARGELY UNDERDISCUSSED
Hormonal changes leading up to menopause (when periods end forever) typically begin in a woman’s mid-40s, with the average Indian woman experiencing menopause nearly five years earlier compared to western nations, at around 46 years.[i] This can trigger a range of challenging physical, mental and sexual symptoms, which can hinder quality of life. While this transition is experienced by all women, and leads to uncomfortable symptoms for many, it often goes unaddressed. Social stigma and a lack of awareness contribute to half of women not seeking medical help for menopausal symptoms.[ii]
Abbott’s The Next Chapter collection of menopause stories is available as an e-book highlighting real experiences and stories of menopausal women from four countries – India, China, Brazil, and Mexico. From the impact of hormonal changes on relationships and careers to the toll on health and self-esteem, each woman’s story in The Next Chapter is meant to inspire more women to speak up about their experience, discuss menopause more freely, and reach out for support – including amongst family and friends. There are four versions of the book – one for each country that contains a creative illustration depicting menopause, created by a woman artist from each country – including India.
Abbott’s e-book on menopause, ‘The Next Chapter,’ and additional menopause resources can be accessed on its website, The Next Chapter – Womenfirst, and on Facebook at <https://facebook.com/abbottindia>. Women in India are encourage to download ‘The Next Chapter’ here and share their own unique stories in their social media channels using #MenopauseStories as hashtag.