We are unaffiliated with the guys on the Discovery Channel, but we will channel some discovery… of menopause myths and facts!! No matter how educated we are, some urban legends and misinformation catch on like wildfire despite being untrue. As you can guess, that applies to menopause just as much as it applies to escaping a sinking car or how long it actually would take to find a needle in a haystack. I’ll leave the sinking cars and needles to the official MythBusters guys. As for menopause… your dear Menopause Mother is here to guide you. Test your knowledge and see the official Menopause Mondays® list of wrongs to dispel and anxieties to quell.
Menopause Symptoms Don’t Last Long
One of the most common myths women hear is that our menopause symptoms will only last a year. I wish! The truth is, there are 30+ reported symptoms of menopause. That’s right–it’s not just hot flashes! Some are physical, some are mental, and some are what doctors refer to as “vasomotor.” Vasomotor symptoms happen due to constriction or dilation of blood vessels — aka the infamous hot flashes! But also includes night sweats, heart palpitations, and changes in blood pressure. And studies show these vasomotor symptoms last an average of 7.4 years!
Only Severe Menopause Symptoms Need Treatment
You don’t have to be dying to finally see a doctor! Between periods and menopause, women are essentially born with pain built in. Top that off with healthcare professionals who brush us off as being “dramatic” or assuring us, “Everything looks fine” before even running a test. It can feel like a full-time job seeking medical help. I get it! Still, if you are in pain or discomfort from menopause symptoms, do not question the severity. Seek a medical professional’s guidance. Of course, I encourage you to find a menopause specialist first and foremost. Even if you are not experiencing bothersome symptoms, it’s important to check in on menopausal changes. Bone loss and early signs of heart disease are best spotted through preventive screenings. It is much better to be proactive, not reactive, regarding your health!
Hormone Therapy Will Give You Cancer
The big C word is undeniably scary… No, not that C word! Cancer! No one wants to hear it; the alarms surely sound off when they do. The debate over whether hormone therapy for menopause will increase your risk of breast cancer has lasted for years in the media, but experts agree about the benefits of hormone therapy for menopausal women. The Menopause Society has provided clear guidelines for hormone therapy. It states the lowest dose of HT for relieving menopause symptoms before the age of 60 or for those within ten years of menopause is safe and can provide significant alleviation. It also irons out the details of how and when serious risks of HT come into play. You can also read more here if you’re scared of HT but want to know more.
Menopause Is a Disease
Because of how menopause– and, let’s be honest, women in general– are depicted in our cultural imagination, it’s not uncommon for menopause to be described or discussed as an illness. Busted —big time!! It is absolutely NOT a disorder, disease, illness, or ailment! However, symptoms during perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause can range from disruptive to debilitating and warrant medical treatment, as mentioned above. But the truth remains: menopause is a natural transition.
All OB-GYNs Are Menopause Experts
Despite not being a medical condition in and of itself… we still need medical support through our midlife transitions. Most women are STUNNED when they discover how little training or education OB-GYNs receive on menopause. A study by John Hopkins reveals that fewer than 1 in 5 OB-GYN residencies receive any formal training in menopause medicine, and seven in 10 would like to receive it. (Subscribe to Menopause Mondays® Free HOT News Flash to get the latest info next week on the gap in menopausal training and education in the medical field!) This is why I’m always emphasizing finding not just any vagina doctor but someone specializing in menopausal care! You don’t have to wait on institutional change… use my resource guide to find a menopause specialist for you and your loved ones!
Once You Hit Menopause, Your Life is Over
Menopause, like puberty, is simply a transitional phase in the body. It can be a vibrant and freeing transition with the right support system. Our lives are not defined by the misogynist notion we are “in our prime” when we’re young or “fertile.” We as women have the power to decide when and what our prime looks like… better yet, feels like. Menopause or bust!
My motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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*EllenDolgen.com does not recommend, endorse, or make any representation about any tests, studies, practices, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, healthcare providers, physicians, or medical institutions that may be mentioned or referenced.