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Midwest Matters May 22nd, 2024
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Time for Change

Posted by on May 10th, 2024 Posted in: Blog

Embarrassment, a lack of public awareness, and miscommunication can mean that for many women, menopause is endured in silence, perhaps feeling hopeless, confused, or “crazy” and not seeking the support and resources available to them. Stigma surrounding menopause can not only impact a woman’s wellbeing and quality of life, but potentially it can put her long-term health at risk. It’s time to make a change and have the talk because menopause is a normal, natural biological life event.

Menopause is a normal, natural life event. A person has reached menopause when they have not had a period for 12 consecutive months. On average, it usually occurs around age 51. However, changes and symptoms can start several years earlier, which is called perimenopause. Some common, normal signs include irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and mood swings—all results of unevenly changing levels of ovarian hormones (estrogen) in the body.

Discover MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus is a service of the NIH National Library of Medicine, the largest biomedical library in the world. Use Medlineplus.gov anywhere, anytime, on any device – for free – to discover high-quality health and wellness information that is reliable, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish.

Discover NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. NIH is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with a specific research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems.

The primary NIH organization for research on Menopause is the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Getting a good night’s sleep often is a restless prospect during this period of life. Hot flashes, especially night sweats, and changes in mood — depression in particular — can contribute to poor sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect all areas of life. Lack of sleep can make you feel irritable or depressed, contribute to cardiovascular disease, and might cause you to be more forgetful than normal, and could lead to more falls or accidents. Read more about getting a good night’s sleep.

Easy-to-Read Information from the National Institute on Aging (NIA):

Also, explore findings from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) — a multi-site, long-term study funded by NIH — in this series of fact sheets covering bone health, memory and cognition, hot flashes, and more. Information is available in Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

In March 2024, the United States President announced new actions to advance Women’s Health Research and Innovation including the launch of an NIH-Cross Cutting Effort to Transform Women’s Health Throughout the Lifespan:

NIH is launching an NIH-wide effort to close gaps in women’s health research across the lifespan. This effort—which will initially be supported by $200 million from NIH beginning in FY 2025—will allow NIH to catalyze interdisciplinary research, particularly on issues that cut across the traditional mandates of the institutes and centers at NIH. It will also allow NIH to launch ambitious, multi-faceted research projects such as research on the impact of perimenopause and menopause on heart health, brain health and bone health. In addition, the President’s FY25 Budget Request would double current funding for the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health to support new and existing initiatives that emphasize women’s health research.

Discover More

Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH) promotes public health research, evidence-based programs, policies, and strategies to improve the health and well-being of women and girls. Discover resources such as the fact sheet Top Questions About Menopause.

To have the talk, start by visiting the NNLM Reading Club. Three books have been selected to help get the conversation started around Menopause. Each book includes a discussion guide and social media material.

Image of the author ABOUT Darlene Kaskie
Darlene Kaskie, M.L.S. is Community Engagement Coordinator for Region 6 of the Network of the National Library of Medicine. She connects communities to training, engagement, and funding to improve access, use, and understanding of health information. Advancing health literacy and digital skills training helps people make informed decisions about their health. She earned her Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) from the Medical Library Association.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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