Like it or not, GenX (born 1965 - 1981) are now entering their 4th and 5th decade of life.
Despite many of us now being well into the middle of our lifespans, too often the conversation surrounding menopause remains one of shame and stigma or worse - utter confusion. Our mothers were not given the opportunity to help mitigate the symptoms of peri and menopause. This reality stems from unfounded and (thank goodness) debunked fear of breast cancer and blood clots when the topic of hormone replacement was brought up.
Gen Xers are typically described as resourceful, independent, and good at doing it themselves.
The old responses of “it's just a part of aging” or “you will get through it”, or “it's all in your head” are just not cutting it anymore. In the February 5th, New York Times Magazine article entitled, “We have been misled about Menopause”, author Susan Dominus gets to the root cause of why we are not offered HRT and even advises against it. By having a 20-year cohort of practitioners who do not know how to help patients manage menopause, we have created the narrative that there is nothing that can help. Dr. Revecca Thurston puts it bluntly, “It suggests that we have a high cultural tolerance for women’s suffering. It is not regarded as important.”
The fact is that menopause will happen to ALL who have ovaries and a uterus.
Whether you coast through to menopause or have annoying symptoms, each will have their own journey. In light of a generation of women who were denied hormone replacement, the GenXers are on their own quest to not feel so crappy! From the onset of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, to the long-term effects on cardiovascular, mental and emotional wellbeing, menopause can have a lasting impact on a woman’s quality of life.
Unfortunately, this is an experience that many Gen X women are not prepared for. Whether due to lack of discussion or resources, too often women report feeling uninformed and unprepared when it comes to menopausal symptom management. Moreover, women from this generation often don’t have the support network that may be found in larger or older generations, or even the ability to easily access medical practitioners.
It is essential that we as Gen X women are made aware of the realities of menopause and the potential benefits of achieving balanced hormone levels. We need a platform that encourages open dialogue and provides access to available resources, such as books, websites, and experienced professionals. Thanks to several articles recently such as Dominus’ and others, the word is spreading and with this brings hope.
Menopause is a natural life transition that deserves a place in the conversation. As Gen X women, we must be informed and prepared for the onset of menopausal symptoms to ensure that we can make informed choices about our health and wellbeing.