menopause

10 Menopause Myths Holding You Back

July 8, 2024

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10 Menopause Myths Holding You Back

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Please don’t go to Google University to learn about menopause. And please don’t just rely on stuff you hear from friends and relatives. 

There is SO much misinformation out there, it’s WILD. 

As a journalist, I take vetting my sources seriously. 

And after interviewing hundreds of experts (many of which you can watch inside my Menopause Menoverse, I have clarity on what’s true and what isn’t.

So, to save you time (possibly years), I’m listing out TEN MENOPAUSE MYTHS we’re going to squash right here, right now. 👇

Myth #1: Menopause starts late in life and/or doesn’t last long

That's not true on both accounts; I hate to say it. I wish menopause could come from age 60-61, last a year, and that was it for everyone. But it doesn’t work that way.

(The good news is, as we go through this list, you’ll see many solutions to menopause issues, so don’t get discouraged yet!)

The average menopause age in the U.S. is 51 or 52, but the window is about 45-55. However, some women start as early as their 30s and some as late as 60.

Perimenopause symptoms usually last an average of about 7.5 years.

There’s no way to predict how long it will last for you. However, factors like genetic variations, environment, level of physical activity, and more might dictate when menopause starts and how long symptoms last.

Myth #2: Menopause looks the same for everyone

Menopause is highly unpredictable and looks VASTLY different for each woman. Some sail through menopause with barely a hitch, and others experience every symptom and then some.

Myth #3: Only see a doctor for severe symptoms

You don’t have to wait until you’re miserable with hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, or skin issues to see a doctor. Once you notice symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor and have them assess you.

Tell your healthcare provider that you might be experiencing menopause. If they skate over your symptoms or don’t spend enough time with you, find a doctor who’ll listen and take your symptoms seriously.

Myth #4: Menopause doctors don’t exist

I have to admit, I didn’t know this one until late in my journey. But, there are doctors who specialize in menopause. Look for The Menopause Society (TMS) and see if there’s a doctor near you. If not, there are a number of telehealth options available. 

These specialized doctors can help you understand how menopause affects your body by conducting the proper tests and health assessments. Your doctor will then recommend treatments.

Myth #5: Hormone therapy is risky or dangerous

I wrote a whole blog post about HRT myths, but the short answer is, no, hormone therapy isn’t dangerous. In fact, it was a massive game-changer for me personally.

According to the The Menopause Society, even though hormones can slightly increase your risk of breast cancer or cardiovascular disease, studies show the benefits outweigh the risks for healthy women under 60.

Myth #6: Menopause is miserable, and it only goes downhill from here

I want every woman to know that menopause doesn’t have to be miserable.

You can do so many things between lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, medications, treatments, supplements, and products that can ease menopause symptoms.

Keep reading because I’m sharing some solutions below.

Myth #7: Mood swings? Hot flashes? Night sweats? Get used to them

An increase in depression and anxiety is common with menopause, but that doesn’t mean it has to be tolerated. Check out this blog post for more information on managing your mental health during menopause.

Here’s what you can try for hot flashes and mood swings:

  1. Avoid triggers like spicy foods, alcohol, and hot beverages (or just decrease your consumption and see if it makes a difference 😉)
  2. Dress in layers and/or light, breathable fabrics
  3. Ice packs and an ice cold water are your best friends when a hot flash starts
  4. Try slow, deep abdominal breathing when you feel a hot flash coming on (in through your nose, out through your mouth)
  5. Talk to your doctor about HRT (it’s one of the most effective treatments for menopause), and if that’s not an option, ask about non-hormonal medications to help treat hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep.
  6. Use breathable bed sheets and wear breathable pajamas.

Myth #8: Say goodbye to your body

You are not doomed to gain more belly fat, lose your hair, or deal with unbearable skin issues.

Although weight gain, thinning hair, and dry skin can happen during menopause, there are many things you can do to mitigate these changes so you can still look and feel your best.

  1. Find a nutritionist or other specialized healthcare provider to help you find any underlying medical factors to weight gain (like high insulin or an underactive thyroid).
  2. Start a strength training practice to combat the muscle loss that comes with menopause — Get more workout tips for menopause here!
  3. To lose excess weight, increase energy levels, and improve sleep quality, incorporate more vegetables and healthy fats into your diet and limit alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and processed foods.
  4. Minimize stress as much as possible, whether incorporating meditation into your daily practice, seeing a therapist, or simply using deep breathing techniques.
  5. Check out this article for menopause hair + skin tips!

There are SO many ways you can keep looking and feeling your best during menopause.

Myth #9: Say goodbye to your sex life

While sex might look different and be less frequent, many people report sexual satisfaction going UP as they age (I’m here for it!).

So many women think their sex lives are out the window because of vaginal dryness or a disappearing libido, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

And, yep, I wrote a whole blog post on this topic too! But here are some quick tips:

  1. Try vaginal moisturizers, lubricants, and/or estrogen topical creams (talk to your dr. about that last one!).
  2. Don’t skip out on foreplay! Getting fully aroused will increase natural moisture.
  3. Try pelvic floor exercises for stronger muscles and improved blood flow in that area.
  4. Talk to your doctor about prescription-strength medications or HRT to help with the hormones responsible for vaginal dryness (and low libido).
  5. Communicate with your partner, try new positions, and get outside of the box with your regular sexual routine until you find what works for both of you.

Plus, once you’re fully through menopause, you don’t have to worry about birth control or having periods anymore. Now that’s a sexy bonus!

Myth #10: Menopause = You’re old

This is probably the worst myth of all. It’s simply NOT true.

For instance, if you hit menopause in your 40s—you still have half your life to live!

Even if you hit menopause later in life when you’re 55+, you have decades left to enjoy your life. Plus, once you get through menopause, you’ll feel like you can tackle anything.

Your new chapter has just begun, so enjoy it!

Also, if you want even MORE support, check out my new guide, Your BFF’s Guide to (Peri)Menopause, for a FREE, comprehensive, actionable guide packed with ALL the basics about menopause.

This guide will include FAQs, how to talk to your doctor, information on what to eat and how to exercise, skin and hair tips, checklists, worksheets, and more to arm you with everything you need to feel your BEST while going through one of the most significant transitions of your life.

To your health & wellbeing,

Tamsen

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