Naming Women’s Midlife Reproductive Transition

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The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research has a new position statement on the language of peri-menopause and menopause.

Among health care providers, consumers, and media, confusing use of terminology exists relating to women’s midlife reproductive transition (such as “menopause,” “perimenopause,” “the change,” “menopausal transition”). In the midst of this confusion, this important and sometimes symptomatic transition may be lost, or conflated with the end of reproductive-related life.

As a Society that listens to and aims to facilitate women’s understanding of, and self-advocacy about, their own health, Society for Menstrual Cycle Research claims what bell hooks has called  the “privileged act of naming,” because they believe that presently midlife naming “obscure(s) what is really taking place” (Ms. Magazine, July 1992; 3:80-2). Their aim here is not to criticize women’s language, nor to tell women how to describe what they are experiencing but rather to alert both women and society to the ambiguities and potential miscommunications in the current language.

They want to promote the use of clearer terminology in the interest of reducing confusion and improving midlife women’s quality of life, as well as access, if desired or needed, to appropriate health care.

Download Naming Women’s Midlife Reproductive Transition.

Here’s the re:Cycling blog post about the project, written by Jerilynn Prior of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.