London-based Avon released a first-of-its-kind global study that reveals women around the world are unprepared and uninformed when it comes to menopause.
The study—titled “Menopause TLI. Too Little Information…The global conversation deficit”—was carried out across four continents and co-authored by women’s health GP Dr. Sarah Jarvis. Women aged 45–65 years old, who were either experiencing or had experienced menopause, were surveyed.
The research revealed the onset phase of menopause left women feeling most unprepared. More than two-fifths (44%) of women globally were unaware of perimenopause until they started to have symptoms.
Online resources—many of which may not be substantiated—are still the most popular source of information for a third (31%) of women, above gynecologists, GPs and friends.
“We undertook this global menopause study to better understand women’s experiences at this time in their lives,” said Gina Ghura, head of Future Innovation at Avon. “By looking at the physical changes shared by so many, we knew we could support women through our product innovation and develop something that would be both functional and enjoyable to use. The beauty of Avon is that through our global community of five million Reps, we can also support women’s emotional experiences by opening up conversations. With the support of experts, like our partner Dr. Sarah Jarvis, we will equip or Reps with the facts and guidance they need to support their customers.”
- Nearly half (46%) did not expect perimenopause when it started, and this figure is even higher among UK women, with more than half (53%) being surprised when they started to experience symptoms.
- This could explain why 44% felt anxious during perimenopause. A figure which leapt to nearly three quarters of Indian women feeling anxious (71%) and more than half of Polish women (56%).
Furthermore, globally women still lack understanding about menopause:
- 36% state they still didn’t understand the two phases, perimenopause and menopause, despite being in one of these phases.
- 46% of women did not feel prepared for menopause.
TLI in a world of TMI: Conversation deficit
The report showed that globally, menopause is a subject that women are still reluctant to discuss. In fact, rather than looking to friends, partners or GP for advice and support, many women are turning to internet resources.
Mum’s the Word:
- Despite perimenopause/menopause often following maternal patterns, only 6% of women globally said they would discuss the matter with their mother.
- This was even lower in the UK where only 3% of women said they would speak to their mum about it.
- A quarter of women (23%) feel uncomfortable / very uncomfortable discussing menopause with their partner.
- And, perhaps even more surprising, is the fact almost as many (22%) felt uncomfortable/very uncomfortable discussing the topic with their friends.
- In the UK women were more likely to find out information from the internet (53%) than a healthcare professional (24%).
“We’ve spent years in laboratories researching the impact of hormones on our skin, and when looking specifically at the impact of menopause and perimenopause we released it was a massively under-discussed topic,” said Ghura. “Women didn’t realize why their skin was changing or how to manage those fluctuations. We call this ‘TLI—Too Little Information.’ In a world of social media, we are used to sharing and even over-sharing. We are all familiar with the term TMI: Too Much Information—from pimples and cellulite to hospital baby scan images. But for some reason menopause is under-discussed and therefore misunderstood.”
“Much more needs to be done to explain the stages of menopause and eliminate that element of shock,” said Dr. Jarvis, a UK GP with a special interest in women’s health. “I see it all the time in my surgery: women think menopause is something that happens in their 50s, whereas most often they start to experience symptoms far earlier with the little-communicated phase, perimenopause. The hormonal shifts can have a major impact on mood and how we feel about ourselves. They can disrupt sleep and concentration and affect your weight, skin, hair and energy levels. This can be confusing and worrying for women and their loved ones. Knowing what’s happening is the first step in managing those symptoms and navigating this natural process with lessened impact.”
Avon has developed a new range of products to work in harmony with fluctuating hormones. Later this year they will launch the first of those specifically to support women through the hormonal effects on skin during menopause.
See the full report—which delves into the physical and emotional symptoms experienced, including changes to skin quality and texture, hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, anxiety and insomnia—here.