Apr 2, 2024 News Wellness Tips AMC Team 31 views

Promoting Awareness and Support During World Health Day

It’s a busy month here at the Australian Menopause Centre, with April’s global focus on World Health Awareness Day. This global health awareness event is one way we can work together to build healthier, fairer outcomes for all of us, no matter which part of the world we call home. While there are plenty of health concerns and considerations that all deserve our time and energy, menopause is one health experience that’s likely to be experienced by more than half of the world’s population. 

Even with such commonality in this experience, there are, sadly, still significant gaps in menopause education and awareness throughout the world. This World Health Awareness Month, we’re digging into why these gaps exist, different menopause perspectives around the globe, and what that means for our individual menopause journeys. 

Menopause: universal experience or different in every country?

Yes, most women in the world will experience menopause. No, they won’t experience it in the same way. 

Even within the same suburb, two women can have hugely varying experiences throughout each phase of menopause. With so many factors feeding into common menopause symptoms and challenges, no two paths will follow the same direction when it comes to menopause’s fluctuations. You may have hot flushes every hour of the day, while your friend is struggling more with sleeping through the night.

Alongside the highly individualised nature of menopause, there are also unique factors in different geographical regions that can impact how a woman experiences menopause. With varying cultural attitudes and practices at play, these can either make it easier or harder to access the quality of care necessary for a supported menopause transition. These include countries and practices such as:

  • Japan – here, menopause is treated through a blend of both modern healthcare and traditional medicine. The Japanese concept of ‘konenki’ refers to an empowered approach to menopause, translating roughly to ‘the years of transition’ or ‘a sense of new purpose and growth’. Compared to our Western understanding of menopause, this brings a more positive and empowered perspective to this time of transition. Here, instead of seeing menopause as an ending, Japanese culture views it through the lens of personal growth and an opportunity for newness. As a result, many Japanese women are able to embrace menopause with more openness, focusing on wellbeing and exploring their passions in the midst of this season of transition. 
  • Northern Europe – in this region of the world, many countries are taking an open and more progressive approach to menopause. Countries that are known for their robust healthcare systems, including Sweden and Denmark, also provide ongoing support, accessible treatment, and knowledge to women navigating menopause. This is extending, too, into government policies regarding menopause in the workplace, with growing recognition of the need for policies that support women’s needs during this life season.
  • North America – here, too, there’s a culturally open approach to necessary discussions and treatments surrounding menopause, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is particularly helpful for women who require additional support throughout their therapeutic journey. North America is also a hub of research across menopause, bringing new findings to light for the benefit of the global community.
  • Middle East – in the Middle East, a wide-spread cultural conservatism often plays a role in how management is discussed and managed. There can be a reluctance to speak openly and publicly about issues of women’s health, which can create barriers to treatment and knowledge. However, with strong family support systems, these can provide natural hubs of support for women in the midst of menopause’s changes.
  • Africa – with a widespread array of cultural perspectives and beliefs on menopause in Africa, it’s difficult to summarise an African woman’s menopause experience. Here, urban areas are far better equipped to support women in their journeys through menopause than rural regions. Traditional beliefs can also play a key role in how menopause is managed, with women looking to natural remedies and the support of community elders. 

[Mid-blog CTA: Struggling to find the support you need for menopause closer to home? The Australian Menopause Centre’s expert team is at your service.]

What we can learn from our global counterparts

Here in Australia, access to menopause treatments aren’t a common challenge, but access to high-quality education and support remains surprisingly difficult. This gap creates an ongoing opportunity for us to look at where we can learn from other countries and cultures that have developed more effective ways to support their female population through menopause.

The most powerful opportunity we see this World Health Awareness Day is to learn from the Japanese concept of ‘konenki’. This positive framing of menopause is something we desperately need more of in Australia, with messages of empowerment that could radically shift how the average Australian woman views this biological experience. If we can look at menopause as a time of growth and opportunity, rather than a time of debilitating stress and limitation, we can shift beliefs and expectations. This, too, can pave the way for women to proactively seek menopause care that helps them to achieve more in this fundamental life stage.

By taking note of the proactive policies coming out of our European friends, we can also find blueprints for how Australian businesses and workplaces can become more menopause-friendly environments. With key implementations like flexible working conditions, standardised employer education, and practical support for menopausal women, positive and empowering change is in sight.

By embracing a global perspective on such a common health experience, we all have the opportunity to build a more inclusive and holistic approach to menopause. Work smarter, not harder, right? Thanks to our international neighbours, there are some easy ways we can create far better outcomes for our Australian population.

Conclusion

This World Health Awareness Day, we’re celebrating every individual who’s navigating the challenging maze of menopausal symptoms. Take a moment to look at how you can build greater support for yourself in every step of the journey. To find expert care that’s dedicated to providing you with the highest quality of life throughout your menopausal journey, reach out to the Australian Menopause Centre.

About The Author - AMC Team

Our team consists of doctors, nurses, program assistants, naturopaths and nutritionists that join their wealth of knowledge to offer our patients and website visitors interesting and insightful articles to assist you understand the symptoms you are experiencing and how to relieve them.

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