Dr Google will see you now…Study reveals the most searched-for menopause concerns
Menopause is a reality of life for millions of women and non-binary people worldwide, affecting some people earlier than others. In fact, this World Menopause Day, an estimated one-third of the population will be experiencing the menopause (and perimenopause too).
Yet, it remains a taboo in society, with many people too embarrassed or scared to seek help or advice for the sometimes difficult to deal with side-effects.
A recent study revealed 67 percent of women felt there was little support for those going through menopause from health services, while 25 percent found their GP didn’t link their symptoms to the menopause at all.
The tide is turning though, with more conversations taking place in the public sphere thanks to influential medical experts and celebrities like Davina McCall, Michelle Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow.
So, to understand the scale of the issue and how many of us are turning to Dr. Google for advice instead of their GP, the data analysts at StressNoMore have looked at over 50 common symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause and how many related Google searches are made each month in the UK.
From the data, it’s clear the most-concerning issue when it comes to the menopause is weight gain, with 3600 Google searches a month.
Weight gain is a fairly common occurrence experienced during the perimenopause transition, estimated at an average of two to five pounds. This occurs as a result of fluctuations in oestrogen, progesterone and other hormones which can lead to increased appetite and fat gain.
Increasing physical activity, eating a balanced nutrient-rich diet, prioritising sleep, reducing alcohol consumption, and taking steps to alleviate anxiety and stress are ways to limit this hormone-induced weight gain.
The joint-second and third most commonly searched-for terms are ‘night sweats’ and ‘breast soreness’ with 2400 searches each month.
Night sweats occur when changing hormone levels affect the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. It’s thought a diet rich in caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol can make hot flushes more severe at night. Try and avoid potential triggers, keep your bedroom cool, wear loose-fitted cotton clothing and take a cool shower before bed.
Breast soreness, on the other hand, is a side effect that many women will be familiar with from other stages in their lives. From periods to pregnancy, many of us will know what its like to suffer with tender boobs.
To help, wear supportive bras and avoid any strenuous exercise where you can (if not, invest in a sturdy sports bra). If all else fails and your breasts are still bothering you, try using hot or cold compresses to alleviate some of the pain in your chest.
Following on in 4th place is ‘menopausal headaches’, with 1900 monthly searches. Much like tender breasts, many of us will not be a stranger to headaches. Often in menopause however, these can be migraines, which means they can be more severe and debilitating.
Making up the rest of the top five biggest menopause concerns is “joint pain”, with 1600 searches a month. Joint pain can be common in perimenopausal women as oestrogen, the hormone that reduces its production in menopause, is what can help protect from inflammation in the joints.
Of the 50 menopause and perimenopause side-effects studied, nearly 30,000 Google searches are made in the UK every month – that’s 360,000 annually.