Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Bored by Research Updates and News Headlines

January 3rd, 2013 by Heather Dillaway

"— Allons, à ton tour, ma petite... vas-y ! — Non, Papa ; si on devient si vilaine que ça en un an, j'aime mieux pas entrer".

By Achille Lemot (1846-1909) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes I think biomedical researchers and media spokespersons are just searching to find the pathology in our lives. Not that we don’t know this already, especially when it comes to women’s health. Because of how medicalization works, of course anything that veers from the defined “norm” for women (here, a young woman who menstruates every 28 days like clockwork) is pathological. Thus, menopausal women are pathological by definition. But, sometimes this gets pretty depressing, and really, it’s not very accurate considering that the vast majority of women go through menopause at some point during the midlife (so doesn’t that make menopause pretty normal and non-pathological?). In my Google alerts last week, here were the “menopause” headlines:

Diet, Exercise Post Menopause Help Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer
Medical Daily

Menopause linked to higher brain aneurysm risk
abc7.com

Healthy lifestyle during menopause may decrease breast cancer risk later on
Medical Xpress

Weight-y menopause
The Star Online

Diet To Overcome Menopause Problems
BoldSky

I do understand that there are many more health risks in middle age and beyond, and that changing/waning hormone levels at menopause induces different concerns/risks than women might have faced before menopause. Researchers, doctors, and media spokespersons have made it crystal clear over the past few decades that this is the case. But, as feminist and social science researchers have urged us to get beyond the “menopause as death” or “menopause as problem” perspectives, it seems that we’re not making much progress in thinking differently or more broadly about this transition. As I read the articles on menopause leading to more breast cancer risk, risk of brain aneurysm, and risk of weight gain, it is reaffirmed in my mind that we’ve made very little progress in broadening the dialogue (at least the published and mainstream dialogue) on this important life stage.

Sure, this life stage is filled with problems, risks, and interesting situations, but what life stage isn’t? Isn’t there published research coming out on ANYTHING ELSE about menopause? I want to read about something different! Readers, feel free to comment about any other interesting stuff you’ve read about menopause recently because I for one am searching for new takes on menopause. Seriously, people, was there nothing else new last week on menopause? As we head into 2013 I’m hoping for something new.

Readers should note that statements published in re: Cycling are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.