Menopause Resources

Why You Should Think About Menopause (No Matter How Old You Are)

Why You Should Think About Menopause (No Matter How Old You Are)

September is Menopause Awareness month, but if you’re reading this you’re probably more than aware of it. Our experiences and emotional reactions will be as varied as we are. For some women, the menopause journey signals new beginnings. While for others, it can be an added burden during an already stressful time. Menopause Awareness month is a great opportunity to reflect on what this era means for our family, our friends, and for ourselves.

Menopause symptoms may mask other conditions

It’s not uncommon for women going through menopause to be suffering from other health conditions as well. Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, arthritis, depression, and anxiety may all occur in parallel with menopause, though not necessarily related to it. Any of these conditions can exacerbate our symptoms, or worse—hide behind them. While we should always listen to our bodies, it’s possible that other conditions are at play or affecting our experiences.

Use this month to schedule a menopause-only chat with your healthcare practitioner. Set aside some time to focus on exactly how you’re feeling and the best steps to help manage your symptoms.

Menopause is a full-body experience

In the midst of unexpected hot flashes or mood swings, it can be tempting to seek immediate relief for those specific problems. But estrogen is one of the body’s great multitaskers. The heart, bones, brain, bladder, and skin all rely on estrogen to do their jobs effectively [1]. The loss of this hormone can affect the health of every organ that relies upon it. Physical changes that aren’t commonly associated with menopause, may still be a symptom of it.

After the chaos of summer, September is a good month to unwind, listen to our bodies, and prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

Menopause isn’t just for women over 50

While estrogen production ceases with age, many environmental and health-related conditions can also trigger . Some young women may opt into surgical procedures which induce menopause in order to reduce a genetic risk for cancer. For other young women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, they may not even have a choice. There are some women who enter into menopause before 50 for reasons we don’t yet understand.

Either way, it’s important to know and share that a woman may experience menopause at many ages. Some factors that contribute to early menopause include: autoimmune disorders, infections or inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndromes, smoking and/or genetics [2-6]...

Menopause awareness means talking to friends and family too

The loss of a major hormone throughout a woman’s entire body is a big deal regardless of her age. There are few things we can do to help ease this transition for everyone else in our lives as well—and ultimately for ourselves as well.

Share your experiences with the younger women in your family. Genetics play a large role in the time in which and how you experience this. If you can, it helps to share your experience with younger women in your family, or reach out to any other relatives may be able to shed light on the experience.

It can also help to open up to your partner. This is the final biological period in our lives, and for many women it’s the longest one. That’s something worth talking with our life partners, as it could mean big changes for us and for them.

And most importantly, listen to yourself. Every woman’s journey is different. Stay educated, explore all of your options, find a healthcare practitioner you trust, and listen to your body. After all, only you know what’s best for you.

Take our menopause assessment quiz

 

References

  1. Endocrine Society, Hormone Health Network, “Estrogen.” Webpage. <https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/estrogen> Accessed on 09-05-19
  2. North American Menopause Society, “Menopause 101: A primer for the perimenopausal.”  Webpage. <https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/menopause-101-a-primer-for-the-perimenopausal> Accessed on 09-10-19.
  3. Shuster et al. Maturitas. 2011; 65(2): 161-166.
  4. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Practice: A Clinician's Guide. 3rd ed. Cleveland, OH: North American Menopause Society; 2007
  5. Nelson LM. N Engl J Med. 2009; 360:606-614.
  6. Santoro N. Ann Endocrinol (Paris).2003; 64:87-92.

 

Hot Flash Fashion

Hot Flash Fashion

The menopause goddess look is even hotter than you think 

Harling Ross just wants to dress like Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give right now. Or at least that’s what she wrote in her recent article, “Menocore is the New Normcore” for Man Repeller, the wildly popular site for which she’s Fashion Director and Brand Strategist. 

“Picture a 50-something-year-old woman who doesn’t care what other people think and just wants to be supremely comfortable,” she writes, describing her current summer fashion fantasy. She also writes that her colleagues share the vision.

Do you realize what this means? We’re sweating. We’re graying. We’re softening. And apparently, we’re trending!  So for this summer at least, we can have the comfort of knowing that dressing for a potential hot flash is actually cool. And there are plenty of beautiful ways to do it.

Comfy wide leg cropped pants are everywhere this summer, so find yourself a pair in a breezy fabric and wear it with a crisp, roomy white blouse, like the ones made by the French mother-daughter brand Maison Cleo. Marie Dewet founded this sustainable line with her mother, Cleo, 56, (who probably understands exactly what we need) and makes every piece herself, to order.

Paris-based fashion stylist Laura Boyle also understands our quest for summer hot flash comfort that looks good. She recommends natural fabrics, especially airy cotton and linen. “Look for easy-to-wear sundresses, both long and short, that can be worn with or without a tank top or a short sleeved tee,” she says. She also recommends layering tops, particularly slightly oversized short sleeved shirts, which you can wear open like a jacket over a tank, like these looks from Jacquemus.

She also likes the idea of floaty, flowy garments embellished with embroidery, to disguise any traces of a hot flash. California brand Johnny Was is the master of this easygoing boho style.

And let’s not underestimate how right the iconic slipdress from long reigning queen of comfort Eileen Fisher is for the current “menocore” moment.  Her trademark loose-fitting, layerable, breathable tops, skirts, pants and dresses are timeless, and at least for the moment, ageless.

 

The Summer Hot Flash Survival Kit

The Summer Hot Flash Survival Kit

You never know when a normal summer day is going to turn into your own personal scorcher of a heat wave, so you might as well be prepared. Here’s what we’re carrying in our bags this season so we can cool down and pull ourselves back together no matter where we are when a hot flash hits.

iphone_fan

  1. iPhone Fan

Attach this little gizmo to your phone and you’ve got your own little automatic cooling machine, whether you’re on the go or at your desk.


 

blotting_paper

  1. Blotting Paper

The hot, humid climate you live in with hot flashes is kind of like summer in an Asian country. So we’re doing what women there have done for centuries—carrying pouches of little papers that absorb, freshen and just smell so, so good. There are a bunch out there to choose from. Tatcha makes a particularly pretty one, made with natural abaca leaf and flecked with gold. 


 

  1. Hair Elastics

If your hair is on the longer side, put it up when heat starts rising through your upper body. You can’t have too many of these (have you noticed how they mysteriously disappear, like socks in the dryer?) Carry them in your bag, rather than on your wrist, where a hot flash can put them out of service. 


 

  1. Face Mist

A little can of spritz goes a long way to restore your cool in the midst of a sweat session. New ones are launching all the time, but we still love the iconic Caudalie Grape Water, for its gentle, soothing sensation. It’s made with 100% organic plant water extracted from grapes, and French women swear by it. Although has anyone ever seen a French woman have a hot flash? Maybe this is why.


 

  1. Moisturizer

When a hot flash takes it out of you, your own favorite trusty emulsion, serum or cream reinfuses you with hydration. Pump, pour or squirt some out into a travel bottle. You know what your skin likes, but if you need a new idea, we have a little summer crush on the vacation-y, water-fresh L’occitane Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst Quenching Gel.


 

  1. Hair De-Frizzer

When a surge of inner heat makes your hair damp, you know what kind of a hair day that can turn out to be. We’re putting little bottles of conditioning cream in our bags for just such an occasion. Victoria Tap, owner of Salon Riviera in Redondo Beach, CA recommends Bumble & Bumble’s Don’t Blow It Hair Styler, for gently smoothing wet strands (especially those crazy grays) and leaving it feeling soft and fresh without a blow dryer. If your hair is long, distribute it evenly through, divide hair into sections, and weigh down potential flyaways by twisting the sections and securing them with hair elastics. Available in Thick or Fine formulations. Go with the Thick if your gray hair is as coarse and mischievous as ours. 


 

makeup

  1. Waterproof Makeup

Waterproof foundation is the way to go if you think you might have a hot flash during the day. It’ll stay on through a mild-to-medium sweat, and at the same time, it protects you from summer’s searing UV rays. We love Abella Tinted Moisturizer—it gives you a good layer of luminous, natural looking coverage without looking too flat or too shiny, in a range of shades that offers a good match for any skin tone. It’s a great base for other makeup products. And at just  $1.50 each, the travel size tubes are perfect for tucking into your bag.


 

  1. Makeup Setting Spray

Most hot flashes won’t require a full face do-over if you spritz with setting spray. We’re liking Coola Makeup Setting Sunscreen this summer, for its budge-free security, comfortable feel, SPF30 protection and organic formula.


 

  1. Menopod

 This beautiful little electronic gadget is engineered to provide instant cooling relief when you hold it against your neck, which is apparently your body’s main area for sensing and regulating temperature. Keep it by your bed at night and bring it to work with you during the day. This thing looks so much like a computer mouse, you can leave it out on your desk while it charges and no millennial colleague will ever be the wiser.


 

  1. Essential Oils

According to researchers in Iran, inhaling the fragrance of lavender for 20 minutes a day reduces the incidence of hot flashes1. It’s also just a really nice thing to smell. We like it in a rollerball, because it’s easy to carry and hard to spill.

1. Kazemzadeh, R, Nikiou, R and Norouzi, H, Effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause hot flushing: a crossover randomized clinical trial.  Sept., 2016  Epub July 4 2016.