Menopause and perimenopause are stages in life that every woman will go through but other than occasional complaints about hot flashes or weight gain, many suffer from a host of other physical symptoms and emotions that surround “the change,” alone. A support group based in Vancouver, British Columbia has been helping women in mid-life get the information and health services they need for the past decade, and as the number of middle-aged women has grown, so too has membership.
According to a recent CBC News report, Menopause Chicks is an online community for women to ask questions and get the information they need from trusted health care professionals. Some women feel their doctors don’t give enough credence to the symptoms and concerns surrounding perimenopause, which can last as long as 10 years. Menopause, when menstruation has stopped for a full 12 months, typically occurs around age 51.
The symptoms of perimenopause can begin for some women in their 40s and include night sweats, sleep disturbances, changes in mood or libido, anxiety and exhaustion. The majority of women experiencing perimenopause or menopause don’t feel they have someone they can talk with about their common experiences. But with an online group of women and experts to support and inform, mid-life women can navigate this stage of life and enjoy better health and well-being.
Most symptoms of perimenopause like hot flashes are annoying and can be helped with diet, medication or lifestyle changes, but some are cause for concern. Seek medical attention for heavy periods that last longer than 7 days or include unusual severe cramping and bleeding. Flushing that is accompanied by weight loss, persistent low energy or fever can be a sign of infection, hyperthyroidism or drug interactions. If insomnia from hot flashes or restlessness is interfering with work or is affecting relationships, it’s time to talk with your doctor.
Menopause Chicks is a private Facebook community with 15,610 members at present and has been online for the past 11 years. Learn more or apply to join the online forum by following this link. Group founder and advocate, Shirley Weir, has also written a guide for women to help them through menopause and to sort all the information and misinformation out there. Mokita features 13 women’s health professionals in an easy-to-read guide that supports women through the menopause years.