Menopause And Blackwomen

•TueUTC2008-02-19T01:27:04+00:00UTC02bUTCTue, 19 Feb 2008 01:27:04 +0000 3, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Hello Sistha’s

This Page is dedicated to my Sistha friends I wanted to focus on how we as women of color deal with some of health issues, beginning with either peri -menopause or shot straight to hell in menopause. Let’s start with how we as women of color are managing our symptoms.
The majority of women I speak with says that the emotional changes they experience in relation to menopause are far more difficult than their physical changes, which would be due to the roller-coaster of emotions they experience. Many say they find it hard to cope with constant mood swings and up-and-down emotions. We are often finding ourselves irritable, sad, depressed, anxious, angry, fearful, forgetful, unfocused, and in tears for no reason. While these emotional changes are manageable for most women, some feel they are “going crazy.” Many women who, before menopause, saw themselves as strong and emotionally “in control” type people, were upset at the loss of control they felt as a result of their erratic mood swings and emotions that seemed to “come out of nowhere.”

The subject of depression is not often discussed among Black women as revealed through participants in this project. To some, there is no such thing as depression. Some choose not to call their state of mind “depression.” The subject is avoided for myriads of reasons. Some women said it was because Black women find it difficult to talk about their emotions. Others said it was because it is a “taboo” related to a myth within the Black community about women who “go crazy” at this time of their lives.

No matter how inexistent some might think depression is, many Black women in this study agreed that depression is a real part of their midlife experience and cannot be wished away. Depression constitutes one part of the journey women experience at this time, which one woman aptly called “40 years in the wilderness.”

What are the Major Causes of Depression among Black Women?

Depression is typically not about just one thing, but rather, many things, or as described by one woman – “zillions of things.” The interplay of many different life circumstances may compound women’s feelings of being “blue,” or “down,” and result in depression. Many women find it is difficult to pin-point the precise cause of their depression. In some cases, especially during menopause, there appears to be an almost seamless relationship between women’s physical and emotional conditions, which leads them to feel hopeless and depressed. Among the major causes of depression women mentioned are:

I thought I would cry all day. Like, I could cry over peelings falling on the floor. I could just sit down and start crying. I was so depressed.

Women’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type mood swings also have an impact on their families, friends and co-workers. Some women admit there are times they want to “wring everyone’s necks.” Family members feel they have to walk on egg shells when their mothers or wives are out-of-sorts or “moody.”

Last week I read a study on-line that said doctors are having a problem communicating with black women about menopause. l must admit the article surprised me because I, personally, have a wonderful relationship with my gynecologist. As a matter of fact I think she gives me more information than I want to know. She also provides lots of options for treatment of my menopausal symptoms. Is it because my gynecologist is a female? Or is it because she’s black like me?

The doctors who conducted the study said women in their focus groups expressed a lack of confidence in their treating physicians. The doctors were quoted as saying “The women in our study put great stock in how their mothers or other older women in their communities had managed menopause symptoms.”

WHAT DID OUR MOTHER’S DO?

I wanted to know who these women are because most of the women I’ve interacted with about this issue say it was NEVER DISCUSSED with their mothers. In my own mother’s case, who when asked replied, ” I didn’t have any problems that I can think of”.But I knew something was going on, she wasn’t her normal mean self this episode took on another personality, I thought she was experiencing some type of mental breakdown because of her erratic behavior. She never once identified her symptoms as “menopause” and I certainly don’t remember her seeking any type of medical treatment. She like my Grandmother didn’t equate there change of life as what we as women of today would call going through the change of life.

It seems as though just like everything else in life, race plays a factor. But menopause is not a black, white, Asian or Latino issue. Menopause crosses all racial lines. It is a true Equal Opportunity Annoy-er! Physicians need to recognize this fact and treat us fairly.

Like white women, the black women in the study had most of the common menopause symptoms. But many women had other symptoms — such as body odor, hot feet, and bloating, that they associated with menopause.

It is critically important that clinicians explicitly ask women experiencing menopause to describe their symptoms, The symptoms they identify as most bothersome may be different from those we think might be troubling them the most.

One of my symptoms was not what I would call Rage, but aggression. I would often argue with members of my family as well as my staff over small minuet matters. I became distance with relatives calling me time, well eventually I basically lost real close contact with family and friends.

My memory was disconnected, I often had the feeling being disoriented not connecting with what was really going on. After my surgery my Doctor recommend I use HRT’s and I did for a while, they seem to just take the edge off of what I was suffering from. My skin was my worst symptom in my dealings with this curse.

I had several spots on my arms and legs that were dry and itchy, to the point to where they became discolored. Needless to say after years of dealing with this issue the color finally returned. But I steal have to fight the itching daily by using moisturizers on a daily basis.

Once I decided to stop the regimen of HRT, I found other sources of mind settling remedies. Of which I am willing to share with you via this blog.

Things To Find Out and suggest to your Physician.
How one might consider treating us as black women and our menopausal symptoms:

— Identify what symptoms the individual woman is experiencing by focusing on what differences if any between us and our counterparts.

— Focus on the symptoms a woman identifies as most distressing, instead of trying to solve each symptom with (HRT)

— Provide clear and accurate information about treatment options.

— Support healthy lifestyle changes that might reduce menopause symptoms.

— Develop group information sessions for women to share with one another, like this one and exchange information that is working for you and others.


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