This clip from the Baroness von Sketch Show is funny … and it reminds me why I do the work I do!
Please watch it before you continue reading.
The video and some reactions to it reveal a lot about why we are confused about perimenopause.
I came across the video after reading this NBC News article on perimenopause, written by Kera Bolonik. Bolonik writes that she “laughed in horror and recognition” after watching the clip. Her friends on social media responded in a similar way.
Bolonik opens her article by complaining that “while there has been a fair amount of research on menopause, perimenopause — the tumultuous hormonal transition as our periods wrap it up — is largely unstudied.” But here (as in other places in the article) Bolonik falls into a medical trap.
Once, just a few decades ago, the term menopause included what we now categorize as our perimenopausal years. Menopause was a 40-something and 50-something women’s experience. But then, menopause got divided up into parts (probably to suit the needs of the medical community, but maybe also because 40-something women were convinced they didn’t want to experience menopause in their 40s).
With THE CHANGE cut up, menopause became a point in time – one year after our last period – with perimenopause becoming the time before, and post-menopause the time after.
But THE CHANGE is a time of flow, not division.
We may experience different symptoms at different times, but perimenopause and menopause symptoms are created for the same reason – to help us return to good health at midlife – not because our hormones are malfunctioning!
There is, and has historically been, a lack of medical research into women’s life-cycle events. And yet, we might want to be careful as to what we wish for!
When medicine brings its patriarchal ideas of women’s bodies into the lab, things don’t work out well. We would do much better if WE OWN THE CHANGE!
The confusion we see around midlife change is because medicine made up stories about women’s bodies and menopause (which in the 1960s became known as a “hormone deficiency disease”) and those stories fed into the dominant narrative on midlife change, for decades.
For example, even just a few years ago, doctors who were considered “menopause experts” were publicly encouraging women to take HRT not only for symptom relief, but also because they claimed it reduced the risks of heart disease, breast cancer and dementia (which turned out to be a profitable strategy for anyone in the business of HRT sales).
Today those same doctors (at least in the US) have gone quiet. They aren’t allowed to make their ridiculous claims anymore, because the idea that women need additional hormones to stay healthy during midlife and beyond was finally proven untrue!
Of course, if you believe a woman’s body innately KNOWS how to journey through her life-cycles, those arguments never made sense, anyway!
Doctors are confused as to what to offer women patients who come to them complaining about perimenopause and menopause symptoms, because they’ve never been taught what’s actually going on at this time in our life-cycle.
Most women also enter their 40s having never learned anything important about this time, which is why, just like the women in the video, so many of us fear THE CHANGE!
More than that, with the unreliable medical story about what HRT is and isn’t good for, and what its level of safety is, doctors have moved from a time when it was almost considered malpractice if they didn't prescribe all women supplemental estrogen at midlife, to a time when almost nothing about HRT is certain at all.
The truth of the matter is that while medicines can sometimes be useful to treat perimenopause and menopause symptoms, they are never going to cure them! Just ask any woman who thought her hot flashes were history thanks to HRT, only to have them storm back into her life when she has to come off HRT (because currently hormone therapies are no longer recommended for more than seven years).
As long as we outsource our care during midlife to the medical establishment, we’re going to miss what we are supposed to learn at this important time in our lives – lessons about our innate health that will allow us to live in well-being, and protect us for decades to come.
This is why I’m so passionate about my work. We need to disrupt the idea that doctors have magic pills to help us through perimenopause and menopause. And we need to wake up to the greatest magic that is within each one of us!
If you want to find out more about how you can tap into the innate brilliance and wisdom of your body and reach the simplest and most natural perimenopause and menopause symptom relief, check out The Wiser Woman Course. The course has just been expanded and relaunched. Join the course before 9 January 2020 to catch the first of three LIVE webinars, which are free for all course participants!
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