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The Menopause Moonshot

by Mary Beth Janssen

The “M” word—“menopause”—has definitely come out of the closet, and the veil has been drawn from what has long been considered a taboo subject.

Fifty million women currently navigate menopause in the U.S., now a $16 billion global market. It’s estimated that 1.1 billion women globally are expected to be postmenopausal by 2025. The market for products, services, education, technology and community addressing the needs of these women is projected to grow to $600 billion, according to a new report from the Female Founders Fund.

It’s important to note that although I refer to “women” here, non- binary people are very much a part of this inclusive and supportive menopause shift. The same for queer people, trans women on HRT, and even trans men. The menopause conversation is going well beyond cis hetero relationships and male partners—as it should. Whatever one’s sexual orientation, there are brilliant and progressive women diving into the conversation and helping to create new avenues of compassionate care and opportunity. “This is not your mother’s menopause,” has never rung truer, especially with regard to the built-in misogyny in the language used to talk about menopause symptoms.

Whereas our mothers’ menopause largely honed in on the “loss” of fertility and childbearing years, today’s new menopausal paradigm has women wanting direct, no-nonsense, science-based info and guidance about how hormonal shifts are affecting their bodies, lifestyles, energy and desires—and how they can recalibrate in order to be and feel their best.

Aspirational Menopausal Women

Thankfully, many powerful role models and high-profile personalities are removing the stigma by opening up about their menopause journeys—including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah, Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Salma Hayek, to name just a few. These women are thriving examples of the fact that our old ways of thinking about midlife and menopause are ready for a serious makeover.

Stacy London, former host on TLC’s popular What Not to Wear, is now CEO of the menopause brand, education and community, State Of (stateofmenopause.com). The Womaness brand (womaness.com) founded by Sally Mueller and Michelle Jacobs, offers a full range of products devoted to skincare, feminine care, sexual health, with supplements that address every symptom possible. And Rochelle Weitzner, founder of the award-winning PAUSE Well-Aging brand of skincare, says, “This can be the best time in our lives...our passage
to power, when we have the most freedoms, we are the wisest we’ve been, and we just don’t give a crap what other people think about us.”

Physician, Do No Harm

Many general practitioners have only a cursory understanding of women’s midlife health needs, and only about 20 percent of OB/GYNs are menopause-trained. As a result, it is estimated that three out of four women who seek help for symptoms don’t receive it, and that’s where a menopause specialist can help. To find a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner (NCMP) and/or purchase a copy of the
9th edition of The Menopause Guidebook, go to the North American Menopause Society (menopause.org).

Oprah shared an anecdote about how she hadn’t been sleeping well for two years. Restlessness and heart palpitations were her steady companions, so she went to see a cardiologist. She began taking medicine and wore a heart monitor for weeks. And then one day, walking through The Oprah Winfrey Show offices, she picked up a copy of Dr. Christiane Northrup’s The Wisdom of Menopause, and it fell open to “Palpitations: Your Heart’s Wake-Up Call.” She says, “I took it as a sign. Contained in that book was the answer I’d been going doctor to doctor trying to figure out. Until that point in my adult life,” she continued, “I don’t recall one serious conversation with another woman about what to expect.”

Oprah’s anecdote makes it abundantly clear there is a need for education and resources that will help women through this process, from the medical community to femtech to menopause wellness communities. Check out Gennev (gennev.com) and Elektra Health (elektrahealth.com), also take a look at high-profile menopause
apps such as Caria (hellocaria.com), Menolife (menolabs.com), and Health & Her (healthandher.com). There are now menopause-focused spa retreats, yoga classes, coaches, emotional/mental wellness workshops, nutrition and sexual wellness seminars, hot- flash cookbooks to night-sweat pajamas and cooling pillows. And recommended books, such as What Fresh Hell is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You—a Guide, by award-winning sex ed/health educator Heather Corinna, and Rejuvenation: Spa Secrets for Menopause by yours truly.

The renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “There is no greater power than the zest of a post-menopausal woman.” May all of our lives be filled with zest!

MARY BETH JANSSEN, CAyur, RYT, CMT, RYT-500, (marybethjanssen.com) is president of the Janssen Source, wellness director for a large Chicagoland Health Care Organization, and certified Ayurvedic and mind-body health specialist for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

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