Surely there’s no convenient time to go through menopause, but special empathy must be extended to those who are making their way through the transition at the very same time normal life has been upended by COVID. Here’s how one such unfortunate enumerated the issues she’s been facing: “This year I had to reinvent my career, I went through menopause, lost many who are dear to me, and invested $10k in a failed business.”
These woes were reported in a new survey of 120,000 menopausal women conducted by Gennev, a first-of-its-kind menopause and emotional wellness company that gives women unprecedented access to therapists and menopause specialists from the comfort and confidentiality of their home. The survey, released last week, offers a glimpse into the impact of the pandemic on the emotional and physical well-being of women our age.
Experts told us we were safer staying at home during the pandemic, which is largely accurate. However, staying at home instead of getting preventative care could actually be harmful. Still, the survey found that one third of women skipped their annual wellness visit in the past year, 22 percent didn’t get their mammograms, 15 percent didn’t get the Pap smear they were due.
“It may take years to understand the impact this will have on women’s health,” Jill Angelo, Gennev’s CEO stated.
Of the women who were forced to put off preventative care, the majority of women (57 percent) cited COVID as the main culprit. Another two main reasons–financial constraints and loss of insurance due to job loss–are both likely to be COVID related.
The Emotional Fallout of Menopause and Stress
The year of COVID has challenged the state of our psyche as well. Even though older people have been found to fare better than the younger set, 45 percent of women in the Gennev survey said they were struggling more than they ever have. Driving the pressure were pandemic-specific issues like working from home, loneliness and isolation, financial burdens, helping care for elderly parents, and helping their children manage remote schooling. For 40 percent of respondents, quality of life had clearly declined.
For 40 percent of respondents, quality of life had clearly declined.
At times like these, we need to give ourselves more TLC than ever, but one in three women surveyed reported they were taking less care of themselves on a daily basis. Work and not enough time in the day were given as the main reasons. Sigh. For 21 percent of respondents, a structure community that provided emotional support would be most welcome.
The good news is that Gennev is able to set women up with online tele-health doctors and therapists. Plus, they host an online community for those finding their way through menopause (and the pandemic). Fortunately, other communities are available too. For instance, because NextTribe realizes that good social networks boost immunity, help you recover from illnesses and live longer, we have fostered community in many different ways. (For more info, on becoming a member of the TRIBE, click here.)
“The common thread throughout the comments we received was an intense and overwhelming state of chaos and uncertainty few women have experienced in their lifetimes,” says Angelo. Still, women like us are resilient, and have been seeking meaning and silver linings in what they’ve experienced. As one respondent said, “2020 has been a difficult year, but one that has helped me to see that I need to make changes spiritually, physically and emotionally to become the best version of myself!”