A new report has found that Black women can experience the menopause differently to white women – with it even starting earlier.
Decades of research has revealed that Black women reach menopause at 49, which is two years earlier than the national average age.
The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) also found that Black women spend more time in the menopause transition than white women.
The study indicated that hot flushes and night sweats are reported more often by Black women.
Dr. Nanette Santoro, professor and E. Stewart Taylor Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says there are lots of factors at play as to why this could be.
She said: ‘My educated guess is that a lot of the differences have their basis in lifestyle, SES (socioeconomic status), and other stressors such as systemic racism and their long-term consequences.’
Stress can bring on the menopause early, so the physiological effects of racism are a possible reason for early onset.
Karen Arthur, podcast host of Menopause whilst Black, lost her ‘sense of self’ when she went through the menopause.
She wants her podcast to highlight how under researched this area is.
Karen said when she looked up the menopause while going through it, websites told her Black women ‘don’t go through the menopause’ through the lack of diversity seen in advertising around menopausal issues.
‘I image searched the menopause and all I saw was a sea of white women, with silver hair in beige clothing surrounded by lavender with a forlorn look on their face,’ she explained.
‘Black women don’t have it easy. We never have. You know, historically and statistically.
‘We are raised to work at least twice as hard and then some to prove we can be on a level. So you’d think it’d only be fair that we skip the menopause. But no.‘
She suffered with low mood and anxiety and left her job as a teacher behind due to the severity of her symptoms.
An ‘invisibility report’ found that in general, two thirds of women feel blindsided by the menopause and not prepared, and 90% of those polled wanted more inclusivity from brands advertising products and services linked to the menopause – which is something that Boots is now doing by launching a symbol to help women identify menopausal products.
The brand is working to make menopausal services accessible to everyone – no matter their race.
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