Menopause is Different for Women of Color

 

 

 

 

Every woman who lives long enough will experience menopause, but the onset and severity of symptoms vary significantly between individuals and ethnicities. Women of color tend to enter menopause earlier and have more severe and longer-lasting symptoms than White women in both the United States and worldwide. 

 

On average, White women experience menopause around age 51, however, the average age is only 49 in other populations. Black and Latina women often report menopause-related vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) earlier than White women. Their symptoms are more severe and last longer. On average, White women report vasomotor symptoms subside after 6 ½ years, Latina women after 9 years, and Black women closer to 10 years. Native American women report hot flashes and night sweats exceeding ten years on average and report more vaginal dryness than other ethnic groups. 

 

 

 

 

The reasons why are multi-factorial, but current research has shown Black women, regardless of socioeconomic status, carry a higher allostatic load, meaning they are under more inherent stress. This appears to be related to systemic racism and healthcare racial disparities. Because hormones are very susceptible to stress levels, researchers theorize that earlier entry into perimenopause and more intense symptoms may be related to their allostatic load.

 

Earlier onset of menopause means living more years with lower levels of estrogen, and a higher risk for cardiac disease, obesity, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Menopause hormone therapy is a gold standard for treatment of vasomotor symptoms and can be cardioprotective of women who experience menopause early, but many women who may be good candidates for hormone or non-hormone therapy options are not getting the important information they need. Every woman experiencing menopause-related symptoms, regardless of ethnicity, should discuss their symptoms with their provider sooner rather than later to learn more about the options available to best manage their health.

 


Tags

Diabetes Risk and Menopause, estrogen, heart disease risk, hormone health, hormone therapy, menopause, women's health, women's heart health


You may also like

Breastfeeding and Menopause

Breastfeeding and Menopause

Voice Changes After Menopause

Voice Changes After Menopause