patlunch1croppedI began to focus on the menopausal transition in 1991, when Gail Sheehy asked me to consult with her on her book The Silent Passage. What an incredible and unique opportunity. This month, known nationally as Menopause Awareness Month, is a good time to reflect on what the New Menopause really means.

Back then, I was 42 and newly menopausal. I traveled across the country with her to talk to groups of women just like me in this stage of life. I was deeply affected by hearing first-hand how women felt about what was happening to them.

Some women experienced few symptoms. However, so many felt a loss of youth, loss of sexual vitality, loss of visibility, loss of power and loss of hope.

I am not saying that this passage is easy, but there is no reason for women to experience shame, isolation, confusion and fear of the unknown

infocard1Menopause is a universal experience. It is not a disease. Each woman experiences it in her own unique way.

Menopause will define one-half of your life. Decide how you want to live it. How can you be the best you can be?

We believe that with accurate knowledge and current information, you can harness the tumultuous energy of hormonally induced change to transform your life.

UtianWulf20071In 2005, Dr. Wulf Utian asked me to help the North American Menopause Society take their message beyond the scientific and medical communities. This organization is the preeminent professional organization devoted to women’s health in midlife and beyond.

You’ve probably never heard of the North American Menopause Society. Women’s Voices for Change, its first collaborative partner, has been working to change that.

In collaboration with the North American Menopause Society, we’ve been working on a national scale.

Closer to home, we’ve held information/empowerment sessions such as last March’s “Time of Your Life” luncheon and an upcoming talk on women and finance; to assist underserved menopausal women, we  created Project Esperanza, a fully funded clinical outreach project that has provided copies of the North American Menopause Society’s “Guidebook on Menopause,” translated into Spanish, for the first time, as well as free bone density exams for thousands of underserved Hispanic women in New York City.

 

Lauren Streicher, M.D.

Lauren Streicher, M.D.

 

This month, NAMS’ annual convention, in San Diego, will be a special tribute to Dr. Utian, who is retiring after more than 30 years. And on Monday, the American Menopause Foundation will hold a symposium in New York City, featuring Lauren Streicher MD, Clinical Professor Ob/Gyn, Northwestern University Medical School, and Kathleen Uhl, MD, FAAFP, director of the FDA’s Office of Women’s

 

Dr. Kathleen Uhl, Director of the FDA Women's Program.

Dr. Kathleen Uhl, Director of the FDA Women's Program.

 

Health. I will be there with WVFC’s Executive Director, to join in the discussion of the facts and fictions around hormone therapy for menopause. Stay tuned – for more insight in the rest of September, and beyond.

We’ve come a very long way since my travels with Gail Sheehy in 1991. This is the Era of the New Menopause. Our ambitions are not modest: We’ve begun not only  to change how people think of menopause but to alter how women experience it.