Susan Dominus writes about how women have been misled about menopause. As she states, menopause symptoms are expected for all women of a certain age, and yet what to do when the symptoms arise can still be a mystery. Despite the varying and intense symptoms that women experience, Susan noted that after doctors’ appointments, “there was no obvious recourse for these symptoms.” She poses a thought experiment where the roles were reversed: imagine a large population of men started suffering from their intrusive symptoms, imagine that they were dismissed, imagine that the treatment to ease these symptoms was overlooked. That’s the reality for women in this stage of life.
There is a treatment, “known as menopausal hormone therapy, that eases hot flashes and sleep disruption and possibly depression and aching joints. It decreases the risk of diabetes and protects against osteoporosis. It also helps prevent and treat menopausal genitourinary syndrome, a collection of symptoms, including urinary-tract infections and pain during sex, that affects nearly half of postmenopausal women.” While menopause and menopausal hormone therapy has garnered controversial opinions and confusion from organizations like the Women’s Health Initiative, it is clear that education of the people who are supposed to be treating women in this stage of life is incredibly overlooked, forcing women to make difficult decisions without the proper support or grasp on the matter. Susan concludes: “Maybe in the next decade, when my personal risks start escalating, we’ll know more; all I can hope is that it confirms the current trend toward research that reassures. The science is continuing. We wait for progress, and hope it is as inevitable as aging itself.”