Are You Celebrating World Menopause Day on October 18?

World Menopause Day began in 1984, making this year's international celebration the 30th annual day of recognition for hot flashes, night sweats and everything else menopausal. The World Health Organization and International Menopause Society instituted this tradition to encourage education and awareness of this pervasive, yet still taboo, topic.

The mission of World Menopause Day is to encourage women to feel comfortable discussing menopausal health issues and to make menopause a visible public health priority.

Around the world, WHO and IMS members and health care providers use World Menopause Day to spur medical research, disseminate health information and promote public awareness about a topic that for far too long has received little public attention.

In some areas, you'll find joint events sponsored by local societies devoted to women's health care issues that affect older women, like breast cancer detection and osteoporosis prevention. This encourages patients to seek information and engage in conversations about the various health concerns encountered during and after menopause.

Ultimately, most women will go through menopause at some point in their life, either naturally or through surgery or medical treatment. This life transition brings a whole new set of health concerns, including osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia, urinary incontinence, certain cancers and sexual dysfunction. And now that the population is bigger and living longer, the number of women who will be dealing with menopause-related health issues is expected to balloon to numbers never before seen. It is time that we bring the topic of menopause out of darkness and into the forefront of our public conscious.

So, personally, how might you celebrate this auspicious occasion? First, mark it on your calendar – October 18th, 2013. Consider attending or hosting an event of your own to generate local interest. Converse with your family and friends, encourage them to seek routine age-relevant medical screening and care. If you are overdue to meet with your health care provider, make an appointment.

Help yourself, your friends, your community and our world to become more aware and take control of their health by celebrating World Menopause Day this year. Then why not make it an annual tradition?

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