Women’s lives have changed drastically over the past half-century and although great strides have been made in achieving equality in the workplace and at home, there is still a void in the medical field providing good care and education for women entering menopause.
According to a recent New York Times interview with Dr. Stephanie S. Faubion, medical director for the North American Menopause Society, there are at least 34 symptoms associated with perimenopause. Beginning around the age of 40, the transition to menopause starts and some of the changes can be alarming – gaining belly fat, irregular menstrual cycles, hair loss, heart palpitations, hot flashes, and brain fog are just a few of the many symptoms that middle-aged women may experience.
All these changes make it difficult for women in the workplace to stay competitive and productive and without help managing symptoms from healthcare providers, many women spend big money trying to problem-solve for themselves. Menopause management receives very little attention in medical school; perhaps only an hour or two of discussion. Women themselves are rarely well informed about how hormonal changes may affect not only weight or changes in the skin but also bone density, heart health, and sexual well-being.
Each woman is different and perimenopause can begin as early as 40 or as late as 55 and last anywhere from a few months up to 14 years. A woman is considered to be in menopause when it’s been one year since her last period. But the transition can be a bumpy ride for some women and until medical providers fill the gap in knowledge about menopause, women will continue to suffer from symptoms that can wreak havoc in their personal and professional lives.
The good news is that more health care providers and communities are stepping up to help women gain more understanding and achieve a better quality of live during perimenopause and menopause. Menopause Chicks and Perry. are online communities that open up the conversation for women and help provide resources to thrive in mid-life and beyond.