Black Women and the Menopause.

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2020 National Women's Conference
17 October 2019

Conference notes that the definition of menopause is a lack of menstruation for one full year. It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55 but it can develop before or after this age range. Trans, non binary and inter-sex people may also be affected. Every menopause experience is unique.Symptoms can include hot flushes, dizziness, poor coordination or clumsiness, urine leakage vaginal dryness, body odour, hot feet and bloating.Conference notes that researchers have found that Black Women are more likely to experience symptoms related to the menopause than white women due to genetic and environmental factors such as culture, lifestyle events, religion and food.Conference also notes evidence that Black Women often prefer to get information, advice, and treatment for their symptoms from other women in their communities, including churches, mosques and traditional herbalist�s methods instead of seeking professional advice. Conference is concerned that some Black women, particularly from underdeveloped countries, do not fully understand the reasons for their symptoms, but associate the changes with witchcraft, curses or punishment for their sins.Conference is also concerned that because of this association, women may believe they have to undergo cleansing through fasting prayer sacrifices to the gods in order to get better. They see their symptoms as taboo or a punishment for their family or personal sins, so it should not be discussed in public.Conference believes it is time to challenge such beliefs. Because there is little or no awareness of the menopause for these women it is difficult to reach and help these women receive professional medical care. Knowledge is power and ignorance is not an option. Without spreading more awareness through education, many of us will continue to suffer needlessly. Black women have lost their lives because of the lack of awareness of the symptoms and treatment of menopause. Because of the high levels of distress and the evidence of unnecessary deaths caused by menopause, conference calls on the Women�s Members Committee to work with the National Black Members Committee to:1)Explore how a work plan on menopause can form part of UNISON�s yearly activities and educational awareness via workshop programmes.2)Create a column on UNISON�s website to raise awareness of the impact of menopause on Black Women.3)Publish pocket size booklets/leaflets on the menopause and include targeted languages. 4)Create a menopause blog targeted at Black Women, that also includes signposting of information and support to women going through the menopause and challenge the myths surrounding this.