What You Need to Know About How Menopause and Perimenopause Affect Women

Fact: We’re not talking enough about perimenopause and menopause. Always Discreet and Always want to help prepare you for this next stage of life through more open dialogue and education.

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While menopause is a completely normal stage of life (Reminder: 10 million women in Canada are either in or entering perimenopause, menopause, or post menopause.), many women feel shame around it. In fact, some say when they lose their period, society makes them feel less valued as a woman—and that’s heartbreaking.

“Menopause is overwhelmingly viewed as negative and remains shrouded in secrecy,” says Janet Ko, president and co-founder of the Menopause Foundation of Canada. “This has a negative impact on women’s health and on society as a whole.”

According to a study by the Menopause Foundation of Canada, one in two women feel unprepared for this new life stage. What’s more, three in four women find its symptoms interfere with their daily life, and one in 10 leave the workforce due to unmanageable symptoms.

Menopause comes in three stages: perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. Perimenopause typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 55 and can last 4-10 years before experiencing a full stop to your menstrual cycle. During this period, estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, which can trigger some not-so-pleasant symptoms (looking at you, hot flashes!). Menopause occurs when ovaries stop producing eggs and a woman has been period-free for one full year. Post menopause begins immediately after menopause and doesn’t have an end date.

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Perimenopause and menopause bring with them a slew of symptoms—over 30 of them, in fact. These can include, yes, hot flashes, but also heart palpitations, aches and pains, lack of energy, depression, insomnia, irregular or heavy periods and bladder control issues. Postmenopause can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and genitourinary ( symptoms include vaginal dryness, painful sex, urinary tract infections and general irritation of the genital area).

To eradicate stigma around menopause, Ko says we must address its root cause—which is ageism and sexism in our society. “There is education, support and open discussion for other natural phases of life, such as puberty and pregnancy, but when it comes to menopause there is a deafening silence,” says Ko. “We need to normalize what is a natural part of life.”

That’s why Always Discreet and Always are on a mission to help women re-gain their confidence and embrace menopause. The brands aim to empower women at all stages of life via their work on initiatives like #EndPeriodPoverty and Like a Girl and support women from their first period to their last—and beyond.

Always Discreet is also a proud supporter of the Menopause Foundation of Canada, whose goal is to break the silence and the stigma of menopause and to empower women with evidence-based information. “Menopause can usher in an exciting and vibrant phase of life,” says Ko, and people need to recognize that.

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Incontinence affects 50 percent of women, during menopause and can negatively impact their physical, emotional and social well-being. Always Discreet offers a collection of liners, pads and underwear specifically designed to offer protection and support for bladder leaks and incontinence. And Always has a vast assortment of menstrual products, including pads and liners, designed to help manage any type of period. All products are particularly useful up to and including perimenopause, when menstrual flows can change, becoming heavier or irregular.

Through these initiatives, Always Discreet and Always hope to increase conversation around menopause to both educate and de-stigmatize the topic, so women can embrace this phase of life with confidence.

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Shop Always Discreet and Always products to support your changing menstrual and bladder leak needs. Available at Walmart. For more resources about Menopause, please visit menopausefoundationcanada.ca