It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, if you are a woman of a certain age, you will have to navigate the confusing waters of menopause.
If you are North American, you might have certain views and perceptions regarding this period of life. We’ve all heard how miserable menopause is supposed to be, that once you are through the change, your life is drastically different.
These ideas are ones you might think are shared all around the world.
However, women globally have different views and expectations for this pivotal change in life.
Cultural expectations, social status and expected gender roles can heavily influence the ways in which women experience menopause worldwide. (1) (2)
Today, we’ll look at some ways women in France experience menopause, and how symptoms are treated in their country.
French women have that certain je ne sais quoi.
In France, women face many cultural expectations as they carry on with their lives. They are expected to stay thin, they are expected to remain attractive, they are expected to be fantastic wives, mothers, cooks and caretakers.
In France, there is an ingrained and unattainable expectation that women are to be perfect.
French women often don’t discuss their struggles with their friends or families, and menopause is one thing that’s seldom thrown up for discussion.
Menopause Symptoms In France
In France, it has been found that women are not likely to suffer the same menopause symptoms that women in other countries such as the United States will experience.
It isn’t that they don’t have these symptoms at all, rather that they tend to manage their health so well that some symptoms serve as nothing but a blip for them.
For the French woman, menopause typically occurs around the age of 50. For a few years beforehand, the body will be going through many changes. As her body begins to enter the menopause, she will begin to experience many strange things happening in her body as well as emotionally. (3)
During this period of her life, the French woman will start to have irregular periods. Some will be long, others will be short. Once she has gone a full 12 months without her period, she is said to be menopausal.
As with anywhere in the world, the symptoms of menopause are brought on by falling levels of estrogen in your body.
As the levels of this hormone begin to fluctuate, other changes will begin to occur. (4)
Probable symptoms of menopause are:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- And more…
Though these are common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause no matter where in the world you are, it might surprise you to find out that women in France are less likely to be bothered by them.
Hormone Replacement Therapy In France
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the treatment options women have for treating the symptoms of menopause. (5)
In France, a significant reason that women are less likely to experience discomfort from menopause symptoms is because women and doctors in France have embraced hormone replacement therapy as a viable treatment option. (6)
When you compare this to other countries such as the United States, there is a marked difference. Women and doctors in the US are less likely to use HRT as treatment for menopause symptoms, partially due to the controversial Women’s Health Initiative study in which hormone replacement therapy was linked to an increase in breast cancer. (7)(8)
Menopause And Sex
Many women think menopause means the end of their sexual lives. However, sex can still be just as enjoyable after the change. (9)
In many places around the world, women are no longer viewed as sexually appealing once they are older and have gone through menopause.
In France however, it seems that women are viewed much differently.
In France, age does not determine sexiness and women can still just be themselves.
Once you are through menopause you are no longer able to conceive children. This frees you to enjoy sex more, as it is no longer linked to fertility.
Because of this, many French women say their sex lives are better after menopause.