Why Should We Care About Menopause? Part 1

Women's Health |

Too often, women have symptoms associated with menopause but don’t know what causes them and what may make them better. I find it maddening when women go to their healthcare providers and describe their symptoms only to be given a prescription for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) without a thorough explanation of risks, benefits and alternatives.

I hope that this column will offer an opportunity for women to learn more about their menopause so that they are empowered with information to help them make important decisions.

Why is there so much attention today focused on menopause, perimenopause and the “golden years”? Well, the United States population is aging. The subgroup within this aging population, which is growing at the greatest rate, is post-menopausal women. While the average age of menopause (age 52 years) hasn’t changed since 1850, female life expectancy has greatly increased.

When female life expectancy was 47 years, back in 1850, women often did not live long enough to reach their menopausal years. Today, however, women can expect to live into their 80’s or longer, which means they can expect to live about one-third of their lives being post-menopausal.

Given those statistics, it is important for women to maximize their health so that their post-menopausal years remain productive and healthy. As women, we need to get our bodies into good shape and keep them that way so that they can keep up with our minds. I know I don’t want to be confined to a wheelchair or nursing home secondary to osteoporotic fractures, which could have been prevented or treated.

The common public goal, as expressed in a well-advertised makeup commercial, is “Don’t lie about your age, defy it.” Well, why not accept and be proud of our age and maximize our health and post-menopausal years?

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