Jennifer O’Connell: Why don’t we want to talk about menopause?

Liveline has put welcome focus on topic shrouded in taboo and HSE neglect

File photograph: iStock

File photograph: iStock

If there was no sex in Ireland before the Late Late Show, was there any menopause before Liveline?

There certainly wasn’t much talk of it on the national airwaves, or anywhere outside the health supplements or women’s magazines. The first – and for over 50 years afterwards, the only – mention of menopause in an article in this newspaper was in 1907. It appeared in Medico, a brusque, no-nonsense medical advice column which intriguingly printed only replies, leaving the reader to guess what the question could have been. “Housekeeper,” one reply goes, “Your friend no doubt meant ‘menopause’. It is not a disease, but it is a natural change, which is apt to be accompanied by functional disturbances, such as you have experienced. Take one tabloid varii three times a day.”

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