Hot flashes, weight gain, and night sweats — are some of the most well-known (and common) symptoms of menopause. But common doesn’t mean easy. For the more than one million women who experience menopause each year, “the change,” as it’s called, can cause serious physical and mental health difficulties — which makes it even more frustrating when you don’t have accurate information about what’s happening to your body.
Indeed, for many Black women — beyond the idea that menopause happens once you no longer have a period, plenty is still unknown.
Part of the unknown is the lack of research studies that focus on the different ways Black women experience menopause. Some studies date back to the early 2000s, and the severity of symptoms leaves Black women questioning what is happening to their bodies and if it’s even related to menopause.
Due to cultural taboos, our moms and aunties might not have shared their experiences. And, given that research shows healthcare providers don’t always take Black patients’ concerns seriously, we may not necessarily get help from the doctor.
In a 25-year study on the menopausal transition of women, researchers found Black women were more likely to reach menopause 8.5 months earlier than white women — and have worse symptoms like depression, untreated hypertension, and sleep disturbances.
Despite this, for Black women, menopause doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it seems.