Gen X women are refusing to suffer in silence
Great post. Thank you so much for being another awesome woman with a platform discussing this topic. Girls and women deserve to know what is going to happen to their bodies, that these changes are normal and that there are solutions to help with the myriad of symptoms. I’m calling this phase of my life my “midlife confidence!” I’m not shy about advocating for myself and I don’t care what other people think. I am thankful that I have lived long enough to be going through peri menopause. If you are looking for a great informational resource read Canadian OB/GYN Dr. Jen Gunther’s book the Menopause Manifesto.
I’ll proselytize along with you, Shannon. I’ve often said that they’ll have to pry my bottle of HRT out of my cold, still hands.
Thanks to you I spoke up: am I worth $7 a day for a patch or should I crawl up on the gurney to desiccate and become a protein bar? (See ‘Soylent Green’). Also - saw a comic this weekend who killed us with her sketch on peri menopause - we deserve the next film in the series (why did they stop after 4th grade health class?) maybe narrated by Leslie Jones. (If we don’t laugh…) thanks for shining a light on this - we tolerate women’s suffering too easily.
All of this!!! I stayed on the pill till I was 53 as I wasn’t interested in dealing with any menopausal symptoms. My gyno gives me a ring and says he wants me to go off the pill for a month so that he can get my blood work to see what my hormone levels are at. I’m thinking no biggie, so I do as instructed and when the bloodwork comes back, he informs me that I’m in full-blown menopause. Great I tell him, now I’d like to get back on the pill, and that’s when I get a big fat NO. I felt like I’d been played...mind you I didn’t have any menopausal symptoms YET, but weeks later when the hot-flashes began and my sleep was absolute shit, I reached out to my gyno and said I wanted to get on HRT. He was not down with that, explaining all of the possible side effects...mind you I don’t smoke, don’t drink, exercise daily and have no history of breast cancer in my family. He suggested I try some “natural” therapies first and I told him no thank you, I’d been on birth control for 3 decades so I’d happily take my chances on HRT. He gave in and I’ve been comfortably symptom free for 8 years now🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
I’ve got appointment #2 tomorrow with my primary care doc to revisit HRT. During appt #1 she was wary of prescribing it, despite my severe hot flashes & insomnia. In the intervening ~5 months I experienced a debilitating herniated disk, for which I’m convinced perimenopause is at least partly to blame. If she doesn’t budge tomorrow, I’m going elsewhere.
Omg this is so important. I started taking HRT young - 43. I was an absolute mess beforehand. As soon as I started it my mind quietened down, I could see more clearly, I understood complex problems, I slept like I'd never slept before. I always tell people it's the best ADHD medicine I've ever had. Genuinely I'd be happy to lose a handful of years to side effects if it meant the rest of the years were as good and capable as I feel on HRT. Fellow evangelist here!
Thank you!! This helps! I’m 49 and have been experiencing I guess premenopausal symptoms. I’m freaking out because the increase in my anxiety this summer. Is it the menopause or my meds for surviving encephalitis not working anymore? I also have been very bitchy. I don’t look forward to it getting worse.
I’m 59, I’ve been on HRT for 5 years. I started it more for its protective nature for both brain and bone health. I tell all my friends to self advocate and read about the benefits because our doctors are not in a position to encourage it. So many women are sadly misinformed of the benefits and actual risks. Your article and advocacy will certainly help. Thank you.
This is a great post. I am of that generation that missed the boat because of the faulty studies and the panic over the possible negative outcomes of HRT. I have not suffered greatly, but had I know then what I know now, I would have insisted on HRT. Thankfully, my perimenopausal daughter is armed with updated info and the nerve to speak up for herself when the time comes.
As a guy I can pray that the medical field gets their act together to help with this. In July of '83 I was bike riding in my home town with friends 7 miles to the 7-11 for mountain dew super big gulps.
I had a similar experience with my OB/GYN with discussing HRT. I finally decided peri/menopause was just so freakin' hellish, I started a little side-project... obsessively curating a better experience for women one issue at a time. I call it The Empress Age because I'm so sick of the patriarchy always implying that there are only three phases of a woman's life: Maiden/Mother/Crone. I think there's great power in the messy middle... between the Mother and the Crone phases and I just wanted to give us some deep grace and humor :)
My general practitioner is wary of HRT because of a history of breast cancer in her family. She hasn’t gone through menopause so she was dismissive of anything I told her at my last appointment. The only symptom she acknowledged HRT helps with is hot flashes. I learned more about her situation than she did about my symptoms! I found a doctor on menopause.org that I am seeing later this month.
+1 on HRT. So glad to be on the other side, and with my brain back.
Back in the late 1990s I was getting ready to do a phD using data from the famous Women's Health Study looking at HRT when it was suddenly cancelled.
For this reason, I was always wary of hrt and determined to avoid it. I know better now.
Hi Shannon, it’s great to be here and join the conversation. I couldn’t take HRT (familial cancer and my own cancer history), but I believe it’s necessary and should be available and readily discussed. PSA: a few drops of organic coconut oil works wonders for vaginal dryness. Thanks for starting this SS.