We were fortunate to connect with Nicole Schroeder, MSW, one of BRIA’s resident menopause experts, to dig deep into all topics related to the menopause transition.
BRIA: Why is it important to talk about perimenopause and menopause?
Nicole: Traditionally, menopause has been regarded as a time when women become irrelevant. It has been often discussed negatively or joked about in Western culture, and people have not had access to robust and informative facts. However, getting older can be great! Menopause often coincides with the wisdom of age, career advancement, and generally feeling more comfortable in one’s own skin. So, I feel very positive about the menopause transition.
Menopause is a universal experience for people with ovaries and is a normal part of the human experience. Most women will spend ⅓ of their lives in the state of menopause and it is important to see it as positive and as another transition time when people can do a lot of great things.
The more we have evidence-based facts, the more we are able to make informed choices about the care we may need at this time. The more you know, the more your know! There are treatment options to help manage symptoms, physical changes, and medical concerns. Since half of the population will undergo this experience, it is important for all people to have an understanding about the menopause transition. It is important for our families, partners and people we work with to all understand perimenopause and beyond.
Also, it is important for people to know about perimenopause, which precedes menopause. Most women, 45 or older, likely have symptoms of perimenopause, including fluctuating hormones, cycle irregularity, and menopausal symptoms. Very often women in perimenopause are not aware of what is happening to them. This can be intimidating to people and can feel overwhelming. And, they may be dismissed by their health care providers when they mention their symptoms and get told: “you’re too young for menopause”. This is invalidating and dismissive.
Finally, there are medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and dementia, that are associated with the menopause transition and it is important for people to know about these so they can be more proactive about their health. Knowing the facts can help people take preventative actions and is important to help people weigh the risks and benefits of treatment options.