October is Menopause Awareness Month! In the United States alone, 6,000 women enter menopause every day. Despite these numbers, menopause is often the butt of jokes or dismissed within society and remains largely ignored by healthcare professionals. According to a 2021 Forbes article, 20% of women experience symptoms for a year before seeking professional help, while another 34% never receive a formal diagnosis. A 2022 study by Nuffield Health Group supported these findings, citing that women are not getting the support they need. In fact, 1 in 4 women struggle to cope due to menopausal symptoms in midlife. This week on Fox 17, Dr. Bitner normalizes the conversation around healthy aging and menopause. Suffering from menopause symptoms does not have to be the norm!
Menopause is a life phase that all women experience. During this time, the ovaries no longer produce estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These essential hormones impact every cell in the body, and losing these hormones leads to menopausal symptoms. 80% of women suffer from symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, bladder urgency, bone loss, premature heart disease, weight gain, poor sleep, and mood change. Menopause is a big deal; women deserve to know what is happening inside their bodies and have options to cope better.
Menopause is the most dramatic risk factor for obesity, depression, low libido, heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia, and stroke. Loss of estrogen changes how we store calories, and within five years of menopause, a woman’s risk of heart disease is greater than that of a man with the same starting risk factors.
Once you are clear about your aging goals, the next step is knowing which options are safe and best for you. All women deserve to know their options. For example, estrogen hormone therapy is safer than many women think, and taking estrogen can mitigate the risks of menopause. If estrogen is not an option after a conversation with a certified menopause provider, other options exist, including Veozah. Of course, a healthy lifestyle is the foundation of healthy aging, and the sooner you start, the better.
Jane entered perimenopause; her periods were irregular, and she had inconsistent hot flashes and night sweats. Jane’s worst symptom, however, was her mood changes. Her mother had experienced similar changes during menopause, and Jane remembered her mother being in a consistently bad mood for several years. Jane’s father would whisper, “It’s the change, just give her space.” She felt like she missed out on years of being close to her mom, and she did not want her children to experience this in their relationship. Jane scheduled an appointment with her healthcare practitioner to discuss when menopause would start and strategies to feel better when it did.
Health Tip of the Week:
Know that menopause happens to all women; you do not have to suffer in silence! There is no gold star for women who go silently through years of night sweats, fatigue, and anxiety. Menopause can be a gift of not worrying about birth control, feeling aware and empowered, and knowing you are doing all you can to live a healthy life! When symptoms that don’t make sense start to happen, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You should also consider scheduling an appointment with a certified menopause practitioner. Be informed and stop the silence around menopause!
Watch the full segment.