73 Percent of Women Over 40 Are Ignoring These Symptoms, Study Shows
A new study has found that this health concern is not being adequately addressed.
The last year hasn't been the best when it comes to our well-being. Beyond the obvious threat of COVID itself, many of us have let our health take a backseat, whether due to fear of contracting COVID at a doctor's office, high costs of healthcare, or the stress of finding out some bad news. A June 2020 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that nearly half of people in the U.S.—48 percent—delayed medical care due to the coronavirus, with 11 percent saying their condition worsened as a result. But now that the pandemic is becoming less of a concern, there is little excuse for not getting that ache or pain that may be the sign of something more serious checked out. Still, new research has found that many women are ignoring symptoms of one particular health issue. Read on to find out more about what condition is not being adequately addressed by more than 70 percent of women.
Nearly three quarters of women over 40 are ignoring their menopause symptoms.
New research from Bonafide, a company that sells women's health products, has found that only the minority of women are addressing their menopause symptoms. The company's 2021 State of Menopause Study surveyed more than 1,000 women ages 40 to 65 across the U.S. According to the findings, 73 percent of women reported that they are not currently treating their menopause symptoms. This includes 16 percent who have hot flashes, 15 percent experiencing weight gain, 14 percent with sleep difficulties, and 14 percent with night sweats.
"Most women are enduring symptoms that can be chronic and in some cases progressive," the study authors state. "Physical symptoms have lasting health implications, not to mention the emotional toll of suffering (mostly) in silence."
Women are also declining medication to treat menopause.
There has also been a steady decline of hormone replacement therapy (HRTs), medication that contains female hormones to replace the estrogen that the body stops making during menopause, per the Mayo Clinic. This medication treats some of the most common menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes. But according to the Mayo Clinic, HRTs do not come without risks—depending on your age, type of hormone therapy, and health history, you could be at risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer from the medication.
That may be why many women are no longer using them. According to the Bonafide study, 65 percent of women say they would not consider using HRTs to treat their menopause symptoms, despite 73 percent saying they're aware of the medication.
Women today are "having a worse menopause experience than their mothers did," the study authors say.
The Bonafide study authors say that the market for HRT has declined by 94 percent. In their survey, 84 percent of recipients said they are not using the same menopause treatments that their mother or grandmother used, and only 9 percent have spoken to their mothers about menopause symptoms.
"Between the 1960s to the early 2000s, hormone replacement therapy was the most common treatment for menopause symptoms. It was also considered the most effective solution at the time," the authors state. "Since far less women are using HRT today, and gaps still exist around effective substitute treatments, it's safe to say today's women are having a worse menopause experience than their mothers did."
And many women have menopause symptoms that can last for nearly a decade.
Research has shown that symptoms of menopause can persist for nearly a decade for some women. A 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine included around 1,500 women with frequent vasomotor symptoms (VMS) of menopause, which includes hot flashes and night sweats. The researchers found that on average, more than half of the women studied had these symptoms for more than seven years, and those reporting the longest duration had symptoms for more than 11 years.
"The median total VMS duration of 7.4 years highlights the limitations of guidance recommending short-term HT [hormone therapy] use and emphasizes the need to identify safe long-term therapies for the treatment of VMS," the study authors explained.