What are some common myths about menopause?
There are many myths about menopause. I think the most common ones are that “menopause is a phase,” that “menopause is natural and shouldn’t need treatment,” and that “all hormone replacement therapies are the same and are dangerous.” The truth is
- Menopause is a permanent condition. Once a woman’s ovaries run out of eggs, at about the average age of 51-52, she is no longer fertile and also no longer has the ability to naturally produce estrogen and progesterone in significant amounts…forever. “Postmenopause” is actually a misnomer, the only thing after menopause is more menopause. A woman doesn’t go through menopause, she goes into menopause, whether she has hot flashes or not.
- Although it is natural for women to run out of eggs if they live long enough, it is not natural for women to live in a hormone deficient state. Only in the past 100 years or so, due to modern advances, have women started to routinely live in menopause for 1/3 of their life. Furthermore, whether or not a situation is natural is not the standard. Your life and health are the standard. This is also why eye doctors prescribe glasses for many people as they age even though it’s natural for their vision to decline.
- Menopause causes permanent hormone deficiencies of estrogen and progesterone which need to be treated with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). However, a woman needs to realize that not all hormone replacement therapies are the same. For example, the largest randomized study on HRT (The Women’s Health Initiative 2002), used estrogen and progesterone molecules which are not naturally found in the human body, administered them in a non-physiological way, and then found that these hormones increased the risk of heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer. Bioidentical estrogen and progesterone (hormones identical in structure to those produced by the human body) have not been shown to have these risks, and are also more effective. But even bioidentical hormones need to be administered correctly in order to be most effective.
What tip can you give women regarding menopause?
The best advice I can give to women in menopause is to find a doctor who is an expert in menopause, who prefers to use bioidentical hormones, and whose goal is to return your hormone levels and rhythms to where they were before menopause.
What does being a Financially Wise Woman mean to you?
For me, being a FWW is part of being a wise woman in general. To stay wise, I think it’s important to take personal responsibility for all aspects of one’s life, including one’s health and financial future. Ultimately, nobody cares more about your health or financial future more than you, so it’s you who needs to do something about it.
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Dr. Shira Miller is not affiliated with LPL Financial or Perennial Financial
Britt Castro, CFP® and Founder of Financially Wise Women
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