It’ll take years before heads stop tilting when I say what I do:
Person I’ve Just Met: “Oh, you’re a doctor?”
Me: “Yes, I am.”
PIJM: “What specialty?”
Me: “I’m an OBGyn. My specialty is Menopause Care.”
PIJM: (Head tilting, brows knit.) ...Oh...?
Unless, of course, the PIJM is a woman in menopause who has had a difficult time of it. Her response is generally, “Finally!”
It took a very long time for the medical community to to take the physical and psychological changes that come with the menopause seriously at all. And it took still longer before we began developing supportive products and discovering treatments that help ease the suffering of the women (not all women suffer, thank goodness) who have a difficult transition into their menopause.
This means you really don’t need to tough out the meaner symptoms that disrupt your life. Yes, menopause is a “natural” event. So is birth. So is becoming nearsighted. So is the degeneration of our joints. Few of us manage these transitions without the benefit of recent technologies or treatments. And you don’t have to, either.
Just talk to your doctor. Tell her or him that you’re finding that menopause is making life uncomfortable for you, and ask whether your doc is comfortable helping you explore your treatment options. If not, you can be referred to a menopause care provider. Or if you know you’d be uncomfortable discussing this with your primary care doctor, simply find your own menopause care provider and ask for a referral.
Menopause care providers have studied to treat the symptoms of women in menopause. You can find a list of them at the website of the North American Menopause Society (www.menopause.org). And if you don’t have a NAMS-listed provider nearby, ask your OBGyn for help.
We've got it better than our mothers did. All of our lives we’ve demanded that medicine do a better job at women’s healthcare. And healthcare providers are working hard to catch up. Finally!
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.