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In 2021, it was estimated that 1.02 billion women were post-menopause. It has been reported that as many as 80 percent of these women have symptoms of menopause that cause them to seek medical help. But many leave their provider’s office without getting the help they want and need. In one study, it was reported that less than 10% of physicians believed they were prepared to deal with managing menopause symptoms and 20% didn’t receive training in this area.

Symptoms of menopause, include, but are not limited to brain fog; night sweats; inability to get to sleep and stay asleep; joint pain; vaginal dryness; mood changes; thinning hair; increased belly fat; and dry skin. These symptoms are typically due to a lack of estrogen. These symptoms can last between three and 11 years, but women can experience hot flashes into their late 60s (10 percent), or into their late 70s (five percent).

Even more disturbing is the fact that these symptoms can start much before a woman’s period ends; with changes in estrogen production, testosterone, and progesterone depletion occurring as early as a woman’s late 30s. When symptoms go unaddressed, the women can be left feeling hopeless and helpless with little optimism for the future. Women experience a lack of confidence and often express that they “just don’t feel like themselves anymore!”

Despite the importance of menopause symptoms to the woman; her family; and her workplace, very little attention is paid to the treatment of these symptoms, and women are left to suffer, most often in silence.

Did you know that as many as one out of every 10 women quit their job because of menopause symptoms? And as recently as 50 years ago, women were being admitted against their will to institutions and diagnosed with hysteria due to menopause.

Women: We are learning more about menopause and the effects of this chronic condition. For example, estrogen replacement is not only important for symptom relief, but also for brain and heart health. Estrogen provides protection for women against heart disease. It is not a coincidence that most heart disease in women develops after they stop menstruating.

Family: Menopause symptoms can affect personal relationships. Family and friends often have a lack of understanding of the experience. This lack of understanding and the woman’s personal experience can lead to increased tension in relationships, a decline in physical intimacy, and eventually relationship breakdowns.

Employment: Menopause in the workplace is not a priority for many employers and there is limited coverage for services related to menopause care and hormone replacement. Despite new laws that protect gender transition and infertility treatments, the same legal changes have not been put in place for menopause.

Women experience worsening quality of life as they transition from their child-bearing years to menopause and may indeed spend more than one-third of their years in this phase of their life. Unfortunately, very few women who would benefit from treatment with bio-identical hormones receive treatment.

Safe treatment for symptoms is available and women do not need to suffer in silence any longer.

Take back your hormones and get the scoop in this bi-weekly column, Tammy Talks Hormones. The more you know, the more power you will have.

Break the Silence: Menopause Matters!

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