It’s official! When it comes to perimenopause and menopause, talking to your mum, or an older female relative, is the key to having a better transition, according to a new study.
The research, of 1,000 perimenopausal and menopausal women by Health & Her, found that three-quarters (71 per cent) of those who talked to their mum were able to self-diagnose perimenopause sooner – an average of two months quicker than those who didn’t.
Over half (56 per cent) said that asking questions and delving into their female family history helped them get their symptoms under control more quickly, with 80 per cent admitting they were thankful they talked about it and 58 per cent agreed that talking helped them have a better menopause.
In contrast, those who didn’t discuss the change spent more than 15 months feeling out of sorts, with a further four in ten (44 per cent) finding it took longer and was harder to get the symptoms under control – an average of 15 months.
Four in ten (46 per cent) turned to research to understand and identify what they were going through, while a third (29 per cent) talked to a GP. One in ten (13 per cent) booked themselves in for a blood test, with a further 11 per cent said they watched a TV documentary on menopause to see if they could find common ground.
Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson, GP at Health & Her says: “It is no surprise that the women who talked to female relatives about the menopause felt more prepared and in control. Studies have shown that genetics play a big role in determining timelines, symptoms and how an individual experiences the transition, so much so that 69 per cent of the women surveyed said that they had similar symptoms to a female relative or their mum. Looking into your family history can give you a greater understanding of how your body will change and how to best manage the process, helping you to be more prepared when the time comes.”
Two-thirds (69 per cent) found that they had similar symptoms to their mum, with a further third (30 per cent) stating that they first realised they were in perimenopause after speaking to their mum.
Take HRT (22 per cent), let nature run its course (21 per cent), change your diet (18 per cent) and exercise daily (16 per cent) were Mum’s top pieces of advice for managing perimenopause symptoms, along with talking openly about what you’re going through (16 per cent) and take natural supplements (15 per cent).
Kate Bache, co-founder of Health & Her says: “It is interesting to see from the research the clear benefits that talking to relatives can make to a woman’s journey through perimenopause. In the past menopause, and especially perimenopause, has been a subject that hasn’t been openly discussed and as a result, women have been unnecessarily suffering in silence for a lot longer than they need to. We want to encourage the nation’s women to talk about the transition, ask questions of their mums, aunties or older sisters so they are better prepared, can recognise they are in perimenopause earlier and feel equipped to deal with the changes that happen.”
The research also revealed that the average age to start feeling the effects of the perimenopause was 47 years old, with the most common symptoms being hot flushes (65 per cent), sleeping problems (59 per cent), night sweats (59 per cent), low energy (48 per cent) and brain fog (48 per cent).