To assess knowledge and attitudes associated with the menopause transition among women in Bangladesh.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among women (age range 45-60 y), 160 participants were selected from both urban and rural settings using a systematic sampling procedure. We used face-to-face interview techniques employing a semistructured questionnaire. Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were done to assess the associated factors.
Around one-fourth (23%) of the participants did not have a basic understanding about symptoms of menopause. Knowledge about menopause increased proportionately with higher education levels (primary education, risk ratio [RR] = 3.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.66-22.92; secondary education, RR = 6.10, 95% CI = 1.26-29.41; higher education, RR = 6.74, 95% CI = 1.33-34) and was more common among urban than rural women (P = 0.001). In addition, women who were service holders had greater knowledge about menopause compared with women who worked in the home (RR = 8.67, 95% CI = 1.94-38.58). Most of the women (96%) suffered from different kinds of depression during the menopause transition. Key barriers to gaining knowledge about menopause included access to information (63%), social stigma (57%), and shame (52%).
Menopause is a neglected issue in Bangladesh. Accurate and appropriate information regarding premenopause and menopause can help women cope with this life transition. Social and familial support may also play a role in minimizing isolation and depression. Public health messaging to increase awareness and knowledge about menopause should be undertaken to overcome the stigma and shame associated with menopause in Bangladesh.