“It’s NOT all downhill from here! When you learn how to find balance in your life and in your hormones, it’s really possible to feel vital through perimenopause, menopause and beyond.”
DR. AMY DAY, FOUNDER, THE WOMEN’S VITALITY CENTER IN BERKELEY, CA
Too many women are silently struggling through bothersome symptoms of perimenopause and menopause on their own. Women often feel embarrassed about the changes their body is going through, and studies show the symptoms of menopause, especially the genito-urinary symptoms of menopause (GSM) are significantly under-reported by women to their own OBGYNs. By the time women reach perimenopause, they often have long-standing relationships with their gynecologist. The fact that the majority of women are not comfortable talking to a trusted doctor about these symptoms demonstrates the need to destigmatize the menopause milestone.
The issues are proper treatment run deeper than just embarrassment about the nature of GSM symptoms. Menopause experts report that there is a significant disconnect in the medical community between the latest studies on effective therapies for menopausal women and clinical practice. Therefore, when the small percentage of women do bring up their symptoms they may be dismissed or misguided. The reasons for this are multifactorial, however, here is a quick summary of a few top issues. Numerous studies have come out recently reporting that women are not taken as seriously as men when reporting symptoms to their doctors and show that minority women are treated even less seriously than white women. In 2001, The Women’s Health Initiative released data regarding the dangers of Hormone Replacement Therapy. In 2013, the majority of this information was not only refuted by researchers, but multiple repeated studies showed opposite results than the first studies. The newers data shows that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) actually had protective effects against cancers and heart disease. In 2001, roughly 57% of menopausal women used HRT. Today, the number is less than 7%. As a result, women are suffering unnecessarily. Despite the newer studies, women often still think HRT is dangerous. Doctors may or may not be current with the new data and may or may not be interested in counseling women about menopause.
The age women go through menopause has not changed despite the fact women are living much longer. Similar to the hormonal changes that occur with menopause, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction can cause painful sex and bothersome urinary symptoms. With or without HRT, women have an opportunity to reduce pain, improve bladder issues, and feel better with pelvic floor physical therapy. Most women do not know what pelvic floor physical therapy is, therefore they also do not know how much it can help their symptoms.
Philanthropic women’s health advocate Karen Holly was diagnosed with cancer in her 40’s and the result of her (successful!) cancer treatments resulted in early menopause. As an educated, professional woman she was shocked at how difficult it was to find consistent and accurate information, both from providers and her own research. Karen came to see us at the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center as part of her recovery from the treatments. It was this experience that inspired Karen to create a platform to help women get the information they need from the experts. You can read more about Karen and her mission here.
In May, Karen put together the first panel of experts in the Bay Area and it was a smashing success.
The second panel is happening Saturday, October 5th in Berkeley, CA. The panelists are:
The goal of the panel is to help get evidence-based and accurate information about menopause into the community. We want to arm women with the information they need to thrive through menopause. It is never too early or too late to get educated and make the right decision for you.
Space is limited! For more information and to register please visit : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-womens-health-panel-thrive-as-you-age-tickets-68570952565?aff=ebdssbdestsearch or www.karenkholly.com/upcoming-events. Please share this post with anyone else you think may benefit from this information!
This content was originally published here.