If you've followed this blog for any time at all, I hope you've gotten the message that I'm passionate about opening up the conversation about menopause. In 30 years of practice as a gynecologist, I've heard from countless women that they've been surprised by the effects of "the change," that their mothers didn't share their experiences, that their friends don't talk about much beyond hot flash jokes. I'd like to see that change.
I'd like women in their 30s to know what's coming, so they're not surprised and they can manage their health to be in optimal condition from the get-go. I'd like women in their 40s to understand what perimenopause can mean to them—so they know they're not crazy, so they can avoid wild goose chases in diagnosing some of the symptoms, and so they can continue to manage their health, including solidifying exercise and diet habits that will continue to serve them. I'd like women in their 50s to be fully informed so they can make the best decisions for themselves about hormone therapy, other pharmaceutical options and over-the-counter products that too few are telling them will be helpful.
(I'd like partners to be well-educated, too, so they can be supportive. I'd even like employers to understand the potential challenges of life as a menopausal woman who has plenty of value and wisdom to share with their organizations. But those are likely other blog posts….)
When a publisher approached me about writing an introduction to menopause, I jumped on it. The result, Fearless Menopause, is now available on Amazon and at a number of other online booksellers. What I hope I've done is to outline the central physical changes of perimenopause and the various effects those changes can have—on your body, your brain and your emotions.
Read more about Menopause and Your Moods.
When you understand what's happening and why, you have a far better opportunity to manage your health in the way that you choose—and much less risk of distracting yourself by wondering where this fresh new symptom (difficulty concentrating? heart palpitations? vaginal dryness?) has come from. You'll also be equipped to talk to your health care provider from a position of knowledge, helping him or her focus on addressing whatever issues are causing you concern.
Pick up a copy if you don't know what you don't know. And if you're feeling like a menopause ninja, order a copy for your daughter, your colleague, your niece. I'm hopeful my generation is that last that's taken by surprise by menopause.
Barb DePree, MD, has been a gynecologist for 30 years, specializing in menopause care for the past 10. Dr. DePree was named the Certified Menopause Practitioner of the Year in 2013 by the North American Menopause Society. The award particularly recognized the outreach, communication and education she does through MiddlesexMD, a website she founded and where this blog first appeared. She also is director of the Women's Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, Holland, Michigan.