Menopause Symptoms Are Worse For Black Women, But They’re Less Likely to Receive Medical Help

Menopause Symptoms Are Worse For Black Women, But They’re Less Likely to Receive Medical Help

Black women are more likely to have worse symptoms during menopause, according to a new study. Black women also reach menopause 8.5 months earlier than white women. They are also more likely to struggle with worse symptoms, such as hot flashes, depression, and trouble sleeping.

However, they are less likely to receive hormone therapy and medical and mental health services.

This is according to the findings of a review of 25 years of research from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, also known as SWAN.

46% of black women compared to 37% of white women reported hot flashes and 27% of black women reported clinically significant depressive symptoms, while only 22% of white women reported the same symptom.

Black women were more likely to report numerous recurrent episodes of depression over time. Although they were less likely to have been treated for depression compared to white women.

“Our analysis suggests that the persistent influence of structural racism – differential access to society’s goods, services, and opportunities by race – is a major contributor to midlife health inequalities between black and white women,” lead author Siobán Harlow, Professor Emeritus at UM’s School of Public Health, said.

On an Instagram posted by blkwomenshealth, a user wrote: “I am 35 and have been diagnosed as postmenopausal complaining of irregular cycles, hot flashes, major depression and sleepiness. I knew I was going through menopause and said it so many times, but I just let it go because my hormones were ‘in the normal range’.”

“Menopause is an issue for reproductive justice and health equity,” writes another user.

Over 500 studies have been conducted using SWAN data covering 3,300 women aged 42 to 52 in 1998, following them through menopause and into early old age. Researchers set out to understand the difference between black and white women.

“One aspect was to bring together the entire history of health inequalities across the wide range of health outcomes examined by SWAN. We then sought to gain a deeper understanding of the health implications of black women’s different life contexts compared to white women, and explicitly acknowledging that these different life contexts carry different risks,” Harlow said.

“It’s clear that discrimination and structural racism play an important role in health in general, but it’s difficult to get the full story,” Harlow said. “It’s about putting each of the little pieces together and understanding the big picture — how do we integrate and understand the difference in the experience of transitioning into menopause as a whole.”

Plans to change UK legislation to improve the rights of women going through menopause have been rejected by the government.

In July 2022, the all-party Women and Equality Committee released a report highlighting the impact of menopause on the workplace. The report found that women were becoming unemployed because of a lack of support and made 12 recommendations to give working women more rights.

In addition, a survey of 2,000 women aged 45 to 67 suffering from menopausal symptoms across the UK found that a lack of support had a direct impact on their decision to leave the job – it is feared up to 1 million Women in the UK doing this could be affected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *