Medicalizing Menopause

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Menopause is a natural biological change in women’s reproductive system that leads to a cessation of menstruation. It usually occurs between ages 45 and 55 when a woman reaches midlife, but can be induced earlier if a woman had a reproductive surgery. Although, menopause is a natural process ,in recent decades, it has been viewed as an “unpleasant marker of old age that requires medical attention”(Rebecca) or worse “disease” that needs to be immediately treated. This radical notion that menopause should be medicalized can be attributed to cultural and socio-economic factors in the United States. The patriarchal society has a long history of subjugating women and establishing gender hierarchy to lower women’s self-governance and maintain its…show more content…
The medical personnel has always had a tremendous trust of the society; thus their medical treatment would rarely be questioned. Thus, their role in socially constructing menopause as “deficiency” is significant. According to a medical model, menopause is described as a “failed production” or “breakdown of the normal functions in the female body and possibly a danger to a woman’s health”(McPherson). Although, McPherson has stated that in 1990, her statement is still relevant today. The patriarchal medical personnel has a long history of associating “ill-health and even characteristics considered undesirable to a woman’s reproductive organs and hormones”(Hubbard). The term “hysteria” (derived from the Greek word hustera “womb) represents…show more content…
Many cross-cultural studies of menopause have shown that symptoms of menopause are not frequently experienced in non-western cultures, thus there is less stigma around the issue. Yet, for Anglo/European women, their cultures “perceive menopause as distressing and embarrassing, requiring treatments such as HRT” (Kelly). Therefore, the perception of menopause greatly depends on the cultural and environmental factors. The study that observed the breast cancer of Chinese, Japanese, or Filipino women who migrated to the United States found that immigrants who had lived in the West for a decade or longer had an 80 percent higher risk than more recent immigrants”(Meyer). Thus, it must be the environmental factors that affect the health of women rather than biological

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