Why do so many women dread menopause? Why do we focus on the negative symptoms rather than the long list of positives? The reality is – menopause means an end to spending money on sanitary products and contraceptives…an end to scheduling holidays and important life-events around your ‘due date’…and an end to worrying about falling pregnant. Surely that’s reason to celebrate?
Author and comedian Jean Kittson has just published a light-hearted book on the topic titled, ‘You’re still hot: The joys of menopause’. She was inspired to write the book after realising how much she didn’t know when she hit menopause. Given that 1.5 million Australian women are menopausal at any one time, Jean thought it was time to shed some light on the issue. She says the ‘third age’ of a woman’s life should be embraced – not feared.
“We need to remind women that symptoms relating to menopause will not last for the rest of our lives. Yes, some women will have several years of symptoms and some of those symptoms will be debilitating – but unlike our periods, menopause is not going to give us grief for 30 years. The symptoms pass, and then we are liberated!” Jean said.
She says one of the biggest challenges for women facing menopause is that many of them will still be in the workforce when they start experiencing symptoms – whereas previously they might have been at home, looking after the grandkids.
“In the past, women were not having to manage their jobs as well as hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. They don’t have the option of taking an hour to sit in a cool room and fan themselves – they have to keep up with their work schedules and that can be very stressful – it can even cause some women to quit their jobs,” she said.
Part of the reason she wrote her new book is so that the topic could be brought into the spotlight. She says the less secretive women are about the issues surrounding menopause, the better it will be for future generations.
“I have full faith that menopause will become just as easy for women to talk about as menstruation. I mean, it used to be that a woman’s ‘time of the month’ was a taboo topic – something that nobody discussed – but now there are TV ads about tampons and we have a younger generation who are not afraid to discuss their cycle with their partners and colleagues. We need to get to this point when it comes to menopause,” Jean said.
She also believes that we need to stop viewing menopause as the moment when a young woman becomes an old woman.
“Our menstrual cycle is not an indication of our used-by-date. We shouldn’t carbon date ourselves according to our hormones because there are women who go through menopause in their thirties and they’re not old and they shouldn’t feel old just because their cycle has come to an end,” she said.
Jean’s new book has been described as a robust conversation between women and some of Australia’s top experts, which allows readers to discover how to recognise the symptoms of menopause and gives them the lowdown on which treatments really work.