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Myths of perimenopause




My twelve-year-old aspires to make us laugh on the regular—quite successfully, I might add. His humor catches us off-guard routinely. 


When not of the potty variety (Sigh. How many years does this last?), his wisecracks are laced with witty banter plucked from recent seemingly mundane household conversations.


The other night, after watching him procrastinate with homework in various creative ways, I asked why he hadn’t yet gotten started. 


Because of Para. Mean. Oh. Pause. 


What? My face scrunched up in confusion.


Because of Para-mean-o-pause.   


My brain struggled to interpret the mispronunciation. 


Slowly, the intended word registered, my face broke out into a smile, and I burst out laughing. 


Aha. Perimenopause. Yes, of course. It’s been a hot topic of conversation around these parts and was, therefore, bound to show up in his comedy repertoire eventually. 


Perimenopause is progressively becoming a part of everyday vernacular not just in my house, but in the media overall. 


Thanks, in large part, to a handful of outspoken midlife women, this once-shame-filled topic is now a burgeoning field of long overdue, hugely helpful, and mostly evidence-backed information. 


The upside is that women are speaking more openly about their varied experiences, allowing others to not feel so alone in their struggles. The downside—the perpetuation of misinformation, resulting in fear, confusion, and overwhelmed inaction for many.


Though myths are rapidly being debunked, some stubborn inaccuracies nevertheless remain. The largest, perhaps most damaging, myth is surrounding Hormone Therapy. 


More than 80% of midlife women suffer from hot flashes and/or night sweats. For some, they are occasional, annoying, and uncomfortable. For others, they are downright debilitating. 


Essentially, due to wildly inaccurate evaluation and dissemination of data from a Women’s Health Initiative study in 2002, Hormone Replacement Therapy was deemed dangerous, causing fear and misinformation to spread like wildfire. 


It has taken years for the field of menopause to recover. There are still well-meaning, but misinformed providers who continue to steer women away from Hormone Therapy because of it.


Providers with the most up-to-date solid information all agree that the most effective way to manage hot flashes is with Hormone Therapy, reducing symptom frequency and intensity by up to 90%. Even women with a personal or family history of breast cancer may benefit.


So, if you are suffering, do not take the general consensus information floating around the media at face value. It may be inaccurate. Do not take any option, including Hormone Therapy, completely off the table unless you’ve discussed it with a well-informed provider. (Find one here.)

 

I am not a medical provider and cannot say if Hormone Therapy is right for you. Whether it is recommended depends on many factors. 


I can share that HT has worked magic for me in taming night sweats and sleep deprivation. I tell every struggling perimenopausal woman to investigate the options. It is absolutely worth the effort.


Back to my cheeky twelve-year-old. He is no longer permitted to use perimenopause as a valid reason for avoidance and procrastination.


I certainly don’t want it to stop you from getting sh*^ done and thriving, either. 


Let’s get you back on track in Para. Mean. Oh. Pause


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