Menopause may be a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. For some women, changes may include symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes, problems sleeping, weight gain and more. It’s no wonder some menopausal women often don’t feel like themselves! While it can be hard for some women to talk about menopause, speaking up about this natural part of a woman’s life can be helpful—and even empowering. Read on to learn more.
Changing the conversation
Some women believe that menopause is simply something to suffer through. Even though we’ve come a long way in our thinking about menopause, some may still view it negatively and as something that should not be talked about. Possible reasons for this include:
- Being too shy or embarrassed to talk about menopause symptoms.
- Not knowing that certain symptoms may be related to menopause.
- Expecting that their healthcare provider will bring the subject up first (and they might not).
As a result, many women may suffer through their symptoms instead of getting help from their healthcare provider. But for women who have symptoms that are disrupting their daily life and negatively affecting their quality of life, lifestyle changes or medication may be helpful. Talking openly about your menopause symptoms may help you accept this new phase of life. And the more that women talk about menopause, the more likely it will be seen as a milestone in a woman’s life.
Talking with your healthcare provider
If you find it difficult or awkward to talk with your healthcare provider about menopause, remember that you are not alone. Many women have menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Having an open conversation with your healthcare provider can help you learn how to manage some of the symptoms you may be having.
The first step toward starting the conversation is to bring a list of concerns and questions to your appointment. Also be sure to tell your healthcare provider what symptoms you are having and the medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take.
Below are some questions that may help you talk about menopause with your healthcare provider, and that you can add to any list of questions that you may have.
- Could my symptoms be caused by a condition other than menopause?
- Are my symptoms severe enough that I might need treatment?
- Which treatment do you recommend based on my symptoms?
- What benefits can I expect from treatment and what are the possible side effects?
- What other lifestyle changes could be helpful for me?
- What long-term health issues should I be aware of? Am I at risk for conditions such as heart disease or osteoporosis?
- 1. Texas Children’s Hospital. The More We Talk About Menopause, the Better. Accessed October 11, 2018.
- 2. American Psychological Association. Menopause, the Makeover. Accessed April 4, 2018.
- 3. Nosek M, Kennedy HP, Gudmundsdottir M. Silence, stigma, and shame: A postmodern analysis of distress during menopause. ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 2010;33(3):E24-E36.
- 4. Womenshealth.gov. Menopause Symptoms and Relief. Accessed July 9, 2018.
- 5. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Menopause FAQs: Understanding the Symptoms. Accessed April 26, 2018.
- 6. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The Menopause Problem Women Don’t Like to Talk About. Accessed April 26, 2018.
- 7. Womenshealthconcern.org. Top tips for a healthy menopause. Accessed June 22, 2018.
- 8. Mayo Clinic. Menopause. Accessed April 27, 2018.
- 9. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Hormone Therapy & Menopause FAQs. Accessed July 9, 2018.
- 10. American Heart Association. Menopause and Heart Disease. Accessed September 19, 2019.
- 11. Cleveland Clinic. Menopause & Osteoarthritis. Accessed September 19, 2019.