Midlife Myths & Realities: Andrea M. Slominski, Ph.D.
There’s a long and complex tale woven around women’s menopause and midlife.
The menopause-as-a-disease model began in the eighteenth century.
“These ideas were also carried into the first decades of the twentieth century.”
For example, in 1789, William Buchan wrote regarding menopause in Domestic Medicine; “The stoppage of any customary evacuations, however small, is sufficient to disorder the whole frame and often to destroy life itself. Hence it comes to pass, that so many women, either fall into chronic disorders, or die about this time.”1
The theory at the time was that menopause, with the ending of menses, was the root cause of all mature women’s physical illnesses. This late eighteenth-century belief helped to seed the tenacious roots of menopause as a disease.
Victorian medical theories asserted that women were held captive by their bodies and reproductive organs. These ideas were also carried into the first decades of the twentieth century.
Medical And Drug Research:
Menopause-as-a-disease thinking still influences and challenges women. We can see it in our cultural beliefs and practices.
Though much has changed since the nineteenth century, medical and drug research is still ongoing. It should not be lost on any woman that HRT is a billions-of-dollars industry.
Fortune Business Insights reports that the market for HRT in the US alone in 2021, was $14.17 Billion. And will grow to $21.49 billion by 2028!
In addition, hormone replacement therapy for women has had some ups and down in popularity and safety since it became widely available in the 1940s. The drugs and dosage have changed, and now women have many options to choose from. It’s about time for some updates on menopause.
“Be sure you are informed, with the best available information to make your choice.”
New Guidelines For HRT:
Whether or not to take HRT is a woman’s personal choice, a decision that she makes with her trusted physician. Be sure you are informed, with the best available information to make your choice.
This week I attended a meeting hosted by letstalkmenopause.org. They are dedicated to getting accurate information to women about menopause, separating the facts from the fiction, and encouraging us to decide on our best options.
Moreover, the physicians on the panel were women, Dr. Jewel Kling and Dr. Paru Davi d, both from the Mayo Clinic. They were discussing the new guidelines for HRT that NAMS just published. (The North American Menopause Society.) They also answered several questions.
15 Key Updates And Takeaways On Menopause:
Here are the key updates and takeaways from the meeting.
“Let’s Talk Menopause plans to advocate to change this!”
- Hormone therapy not recommended for women with breast cancer.
- There are other treatments for women with breast cancer! Again, you don’t need to “suffer” through it.
- Hormone therapy can be used preventatively for bone health.
- HRT is not recommended for treatment of osteopenia/osteoperosis.
- Early or premature menopause: they will benefit from hormone therapy for bone health, heart health, and cognition. It is IMPORTANT to put these women on hormone therapy.
- Women can develop symptoms BEFORE menopause (perimenopause). Menopause is defined as one year without your period.
- Late perimenopause often has many symptoms.
- Low-dose birth control pills can help with perimenopausal symptoms.
- Use FDA-approved hormone therapy.
- Use FDA bioidentical hormones, not compounded pharmacy.
- Progesterone needs to be oral.
- There may be a black box warning on vaginal estrogen. This is not supported by the (more) research. NOTE: Let’s Talk Menopause plans to advocate to change this!
- You don’t have to suffer through it!
- Risk is nine patients in 10,000 risk for breast cancer.
- Furthermore, midlife is a “window of opportunity.” for your health.
Learn More About Updates On Menopause:
Download our symptoms checklist to bring to your medical provider. Found on our symptoms page: https://www.letstalkmenopause.org/symptoms
To learn more about the stages and symptoms of menopause: https://www.letstalkmenopause.org/what-to-know
To learn more about long-term health risks: https://www.letstalkmenopause.org/long-term-
You can watch a recording of the meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3brAlOi0Ts&list=PLzNb689xVAVswYIjed0c1vYSIg9qiJhXa&t=117s
You can read the NAMS guidelines for yourself here: https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/professional/nams-2022-hormone-therapy-position-statement.pdf
- Buchan, William. Domestic Medicine: Or, a Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases by Regimen and Simple Medicines, with an Appendix Containing a Dispensatory for the Use of Private Practitioners. Nathaniel Patten, 1789.
About the Author:
Andrea M. Slominski, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and women’s midlife coach. During her dissertation research and study, she explored the new life stage for women that has emerged over the past 100 years.
Naming this new life stage, from ages 45-70, Regency, Dr. A. has spoken at conferences, published articles, and coached women to make the most of their emerging power years. Dr. A. guides women 45+ through the often-tumultuous transformations during perimenopause, midlife, and menopause. She uses tools that include creativity, story, mythology, imagination, ceremony, and ritual. If you need support for your Regency years, including all the changes of midlife and menopause, I’m here for you. Email me at [email protected]