Menopause is Different for Black Women, and it’s Time to Address It

3 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: December 1, 2023
Two black women with bare shoulders-AW571

In the United States, there are an estimated 55 million women currently in menopause. And for a long time, it was thought that all 55 million would have the same experience, and that it would be pretty short-lived. We now know neither of those things are true. At all. 

Everyone’s individual experience with menopause is different–there are 34 different symptoms, and you could have all of them, or any combination. We’re also learning that there’s quite a bit of disparity among groups.

Recently, Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, one of our medical advisors, co-conducted a literature review of 100-plus published studies covering menopausal outcomes. They found that, as in many areas of healthcare, Black women experience distinct differences in physical, psychological, social, and quality of life measures during menopause. Specifically, Black women tend to have symptoms longer than white women (an average of 10 years, vs. 6.5 years for white women), and also experience them more intensely. They’re less likely to seek treatment for their symptoms from a medical provider than white women–Dr. Richard-Davis and her co-authors found that Black women are more likely to get information about menopause from their family and friends, while white women get information from their healthcare providers. And when Black women go to a doctor, they’re less likely than white women to leave with a prescription.

That’s hard to read. But, it’s true. There are a lot of different reasons for it, but Dr. Richard-Davis found that for the most part, it boils down to the systemic racism that affects every part of our healthcare system and diminishes outcomes for Black women. 

We need to address these issues, and we can start by talking about them. This Juneteenth (Monday, 6/19), our Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Sharon Malone, will be hosting a webinar with Dr. Jayne Morgan addressing the health disparities Black women and women of color experience during menopause. We’ll shed light on the unique health challenges faced by women of color, from cardiovascular issues to cancer, and share the solutions we’ve found helpful. For more information and to register, click here!

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