"There's so much prejudice around menopause, that we come to see it as something negative rather than what it is: an essential life phase like any other. I’ve tried to live well and embrace it." Beatriz, 54, Fortaleza, Brazil
By 2025, there will be 1.1 billion women1 like Beatriz: menopausal or post-menopausal.
Women in the prime of their life.
Women all around the world and in every corner of the globe, from India to China, Mexico to Brazil and more.
Women at the height of their careers.
Women whom society depend upon.
Women who agreed to share their stories.
And what they told is that many women find this life stage — along with the changes their bodies are going through — difficult. Some feel as if their body is betraying them. Everything they had felt so sure about in the past is suddenly changing.
Individual Women, Individual Experiences
Menopause is one of the biggest biological shifts a woman endures.
Her hormone levels drop. Her periods stop, along with production of eggs.
These changes can bring with them a variety of challenging physical and emotional symptoms which each woman experiences in their own way. There are more than 40 symptoms associated with menopause, and how a woman’s body responds to them can vary day to day2.
As there is no one common menopause reality, many women go through it feeling alone and isolated. They often suffer in silence, thinking that these symptoms are just another sign of aging and it can trigger uncertainty and questioning after having reached this middle age phase.
"Menopause hits at a time when life is changing; your parents are aging, your children are leaving home, and you can feel lost in the middle of it all." Rita, 49, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Despite 47 million3 women entering menopause each year, this natural part of growing older is still something few people talk about. Social stigma and lack of awareness of what’s happening to their bodies means many women may have never had a conversation about menopause.4 Studies suggest that half of women suffering symptoms don’t seek any medical help at all.5
"I haven't told a soul that I'm going through menopause. I don't want people to think I'm getting old and can't run my business. Sadly, menopause is still such a taboo. Raising public awareness might encourage more people to speak out. Then, maybe women like me could get the treatment we need." Jing Wen, 44, Guangzhou, China
Women around the world wrestle with sometimes debilitating symptoms without seeking medical support simply because they feel uncomfortable talking about it.
"The Next Chapter" features stories about menopause from women around the world. The book is available in four languages and each book was illustrated by a local woman artist. Click the image for more.
It's Time to Change the Conversation
With little information out there about menopause, what could be an exciting new chapter in a woman's life can feel challenging.
At Abbott, we believe good health is vital for everyone to be able to live their best lives. And the first step to a healthier life is knowledge and understanding.
From talking with women in India, China, Mexico and Brazil comes "The Next Chapter," a collection of first-person accounts of menopause, where both the hidden worries and surprising joys that can accompany this new stage of life are candidly shared.
"Menopause has taught me a lot. To love myself the way I am, to enjoy what my body feels. Some may think that I am mad, and they might be right, but it's a joyful madness." Emilia, 64, Guanajuato, Mexico
While every woman and her menopause are unique, simply talking and learning about menopause can help women prepare for what’s coming. And, if they're prepared, they’re also ready to manage whatever symptoms may come.
"I don't think menopause is a problem to be solved. On the contrary, while the natural hormonal changes that come with it can wreak havoc, if you manage to find a way to work around them, the experience can help you be stronger. It's a matter of regulating symptoms so that you can get through this phase as smoothly as possible." Mei Hui, 46, Beijing, China
Menopause shouldn't prevent women from living their fullest lives. Women can continue to live healthy lives before, during and after menopause.
We're working hand-in-hand with healthcare professionals to change how they support women going through this stage of life. We're helping physicians, doctors and nurses understand menopause better, so they can offer the best care. We're also sharing resources to ensure women have easily accessible information on menopause to take charge of their own health.
"I have always been treated by male doctors and think that, maybe, if they had experienced these things firsthand, they would have been more careful with their decisions and explanations. If the public health system cared about a woman's well-being, I’m sure we would be treated differently." Rocío, 36, Toluca, Mexico
We need to start normalizing the conversation around menopause so that each and every woman can fully embrace this chapter in their lives.
It's essential to empower women around the world by giving them the space to take back control of their health and share their own lived experiences of menopause.
"Menopause is a natural journey, and each woman must find her own way, following her heart and living her life." Ying, 46, Shanghai
Download your copy of The Next Chapter here: https://www.womenfirst.com/menopause/thenextchapter
1 North America Menopause Society – Menopause-Like Symptoms May Strike Before the Menopause Transition. Available at https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/late-reproductive-stage-symptoms-vs-menopause.pdf; Accessed on May 17th, 2023.
2 The Menopause Charity – Symptoms List. Available at: https://www.themenopausecharity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Symptoms-list.pdf; Accessed on May 17th, 2023. World Health Organization – Menopause. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/menopause; Accessed on May 17th, 2023.
3 Hill K. The demography of menopause. Maturitas. 1996 Mar;23(2):113-27. doi: 10.1016/0378-5122(95)00968-x. PMID: 8735350.
4 Menopause TLI. Too Little Information. Available at: https://www.avonworldwide.com/dam/jcr:fcc532e4-f580-4c2e-9eb5-fa93b1290f2e/menopause-too-little-information-report.pdf; Accessed on May 17th, 2023.
5 Are women suffering in silence? New BMS survey puts spotlight on significant impact of menopause