Knowledge and Understanding of Menopause and Menopausal Symptoms: A Namibian Perspective
Käthe Hofnie Hoëbes, Kenneth Matengu

Objectives: Toassessthe knowledge and understanding of women and men about menopause andto differentiate the levels of knowledge between HIV/AIDS and menopausal-related symptoms for women. Methods: A four-stage, stratified cluster sampling design recruited 1502 respondents, aged 38-78. Structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Results:Majority (94%) of respondents demonstrated strong understanding of the meaning of menopause.Statistical associationwas found between knowledge of menopause and gender (Chi square test: 000). Regarding the knowledge of menopausal versus AIDS symptoms, higher knowledge was found on AIDS related symptoms (diarrhoea = 74%; weight loss = 62% & skin lesions = 56%). Hot flashes (52%) and less interest in sex and change in sexual responses (58%) were the only menopausal symptoms withhigher knowledge levels.Category of menopausal& AIDS related symptoms demonstrated knowledgelevels less than 50%.Owambo respondents confuse menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, hair thinning or loss, and skin lesions mostlyas symptoms of AIDS.Abnormal bleeding or spotting; irregular menstruation; hot flashes;vaginal dryness; vaginal discharge/ infection; less interest in sex and changes in sexual response; heart palpitations; and forgetfulness werefound statistically significant by gender(P.000). Conclusions: It appears that despite some understanding about menopause, lack of in-depth knowledge exists, resulting in confusing menopausal and HIV/AIDS symptoms. This concern warrant further exploration.

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