You’re a smart woman. I know you are, but, how informed are you when it comes to menopause? If you’re like me when I began the process, then the answer is: not very well informed at all! Let me tell you, when I hit perimenopause, all of a sudden I found my nights sleepless, my memory disintegrating, and my emotions uncontrollable. I felt like an alien had taken over my body. I found myself repeatedly asking, “What the heck is happening to me? Aren’t I too young to be in menopause?”
With all the information out there, how was I to differentiate the myths from the truth? This week, we’ve put together a round up of the top 7 myths about menopause. So, go ahead and test your knowledge!
1. One day, your period just goes away and bam, you’re in menopause.
Actually, the entire process takes years. It begins with perimenopause, a 6-10 year stage that typically begins in your 40’s (if you’re in your 40’s, that puts you in the same category as Jennifer Aniston!). For some it can begin in their 30’s or even earlier due to genetic makeup, an illness, or medical procedures. During perimenopause, often one’s period drifts away, comes back and drifts away again before it is gone for good.
2. Menopause comes around the same time as your AARP first arrives.
The average age of menopause is 51, however this varies from woman to woman. You are considered to be in menopause when you have been without a period for 12 consecutive months. If your period has been gone for a year before you are 40 – this is called premature menopause or POS (Primary Ovarian Insufficiency).
3. The only symptom of menopause is hot flashes.
I wish! There are about 34 menopause symptoms. Check out the Shmirshky Daily Symptoms Chart in Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness on pages 168-69 for more details.
4. All OBGYN’s specialize in menopause.
While all good gynecologists are familiar with menopause, there are gynecologists and healthy aging doctors who specialize in perimenopause and menopause and who are likely more informed and experienced with working with perimenopausal and menopausal women.
5. Menopause is something you can hide from your friends, co-workers, and loved ones.
Good luck! A more effective and fun approach is to reach out for support, share and learn. Menopause comes with its own 24/7 travel pack – it goes with you wherever you travel. As I like to put it, don’t hide your shmirshky under a bush! Shmirshky Parties are a great place to start the conversation. (If you host a shmirshky party – send us your pix & we’ll send you a complimentary cozy shmirshky bathrobe.)
6. All Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) options are essentially the same and have the same potential side-affects.
There are many different types and applications of Hormone Therapy, from bioidentical to non-bioidentical, from oral to transdermal. Each different treatment option comes with its own set of potential side effects and benefits. You can reference the Hormone Therapy Menu on pages 154-5 of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness for an easy reference about the different types of HRT. There is also a Hormone Therapy Brand Chart on page 156-9 which describes the different HRT treatments available and whether or not they are bioidentical or not. With the help of these resources and a perimenopause and menopause specialist, every woman should evaluate the treatment options and approach the treatment that might work best for her. There is no one size fits all solution to treating menopause symptoms.
7. Hysterectomies are the simple solution to menopause challenges.
Hysterectomies can be necessary, but they are far from a “simple solution.” There are different types of hysterectomies, and a myriad of potential side affects and risks associated with each. These procedures should be considered very carefully and only performed upon the recommendation of highly qualified and informed doctors. Many women having these procedures have not been informed of the post operative possibility of heading directly into menopause. If you are considering or are about to have a hysterectomy, make certain you are fully informed about this and prepared to deal with the resulting symptoms that you might be facing in the near future.
So there you have it! As you’re sipping a colorful cocktail by the pool or relaxing by the beach this summer, consider busting these myths by taking a copy of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness along with you!