Indian women are experiencing menopause earlier than their counterparts around the world. Almost 4% of Indian women experience signs of menopause between the ages of 29 and 34, according to a pan-India survey conducted in 2009 by researchers for the Institute for Social and Economic Change. About 8% of women between the ages of 35 and 39 start feeling the symptoms of menopause. The average age at which women around the world reach menopause is between 51, a range between 45 and 55.
Even though the symptoms of premature menopause – change in pattern of periods, hot flashes, mood swings, crying spells and sleeplessness – are the same as natural menopause the cause, gynaecologists suggest, could be premature ovarian failure, a condition that can be triggered by changing food habits and stressful lifestyles.
Early menopause can have repercussions on a woman’s general health as well. For example, research published in November 2016 shows that women who hit menopause before the age of 40 are at higher risks of fractures even if they take calcium and vitamin D supplements to counter osteoporosis. Menopause also increase the risk of cardiac disease. With younger women getting menopause, this means more people at risk of heart disease in the general population.
With public discussion of menstruation in general only slowly picking up in India, where it has long been a taboo subject, there is little discussion about menopause and its health and social effects on a woman. This short film by a student of the National Institute of Design highlights why dismissing menopause as a trivial health issue might be dangerous as women and their families might miss signs of depression, suicide risk and even cancer in the process.