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Perimenopause Inequality

At Over The Bloody Moon, we take health seriously. That's why we have 12 different Advisors from integrated wellness practices on our team and are continually adding to our perimenopause learning by chatting to clinicians and British Menopause Society accredited specialists. To that vain, I wanted to share a topic close to my heart that continues to surface as we look to fulfil our mission to help all women take charge of their change. It's Perimenopause Poverty and the lack of BAME representation that exists in the UK. Access to education and healthcare but also in the way menopause role models are portrayed in media. No one likes to be classist, but the fact remains - we have a Health-Wealth gap that’s growing in the UK. Women that live or have lived in poverty are more likely to experience early menopause (under 45 years), are more likely to have lifestyle factors contributing to symptoms, are less likely to visit a GP for menopause and less likely to have access to quality, health care. Alexis Palfreyman was quoted in an article written for British Menopause Society, saying “A key factor determining a woman’s experience of menopause is the culture in which she finds herself before, during, and after menopause.” Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority communities cannot be clumped together – each community has its own culture nuances that are impacting on a woman’s menopause. In some cultures, cessation of periods and infertility is linked to a woman’s status becoming devalued with it being common for men to remarry. In other cultures, menopause is considered a taboo and embarrassment with issues like incontinence or painful sex being ignored whilst women suffer in silence. Of course, women whose first language is not English have a further barrier of having to share something private through their translator to the GP. We caught up with Fay Reid, founder of 9to5, a menopause community, supporting women. She felt isolated through her own perimenopause experience, feeling a lack of affinity to the stories and faces, she saw in the media. “I thought to myself, where are the black people? None had a 9 to 5 job...meanwhile, I’m legging it for the train first thing in the morning and after work. Their stories and experiences just aren’t realistic of my life, I want people to know that it happens to us too. It made me realise that the black community doesn't talk about it as much as we should and we need to. That’s why I set up 9to5 to share my journey whilst sharing tips and stories from other women.” Dr Nighat Arif, GP and press commentator on health including menopause, agrees. “As a mainstream society there is little representation of ethnic woman in literature, posters or media campaigns when it comes to woman’s health, in particular menopause. When a black woman cannot see herself on a poster of the signs and symptoms of the menopause, the association is made that this is something that ‘doesn’t happen to me’. Women are likely to become educated and engage in an open conversation if there is an inclusive dialogue.” She has observed that women from an ethnic minority background are more likely to report some physical symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue or dry skin than mental symptoms. It becomes difficult for health care professionals to support women who are unable to discuss their experiences honestly. “Mental health is stigmatised and a taboo subject anyway in our communities. This is particularly more so, when it comes to understanding that fluctuations in hormones can impact on our mental health. This is something that has to be highlighted more especially for women in the perimenopause phase - let’s face it, it’s easier to talk about a ‘physical pain.” However, it’s not just the ethnic minority communities where perimenopause poverty exists. Women from any ethnicity but living in low income households are more likely to experience severe physical and mental symptoms than those from higher income ones – smoking, drinking alcohol that’s more than the recommended 14 units per week, immobility or obesity are all triggers. These women may be less resistant to seeking out support and used to a culture where they just ‘tough it out’. If you are a healthcare professional that wants to be involved with Over The Bloody Moon to help inform, equip and empower women through perimenopause OR a BAME women who wants to share her story of perimenopause, then please get in touch –


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