Well, if you aren’t there yet, you will be. Unfortunately menopause can not be avoided like death and taxes, but we sat down with Sherry Shepherd, who along with Cloris Leachman joined forces with Poise, to have the “2nd Talk” about the dreaded menopause. Hope this helps clear up some concerns and answer some questions that no one likes to talk about. We also asked the tough questions to menopause expert Rebecca Hulem RN, RNP, CNM and certified menopause Clinician, so read further and wonder no more!
Tell us about the 2nd talk program with Poise. Sherry: Poise has launched a program called the “2nd Talk” and I am so excited that they asked me to be involved because I love Cloris and I also think it is an important topic. Most women remember the “1st talk” with their moms or when they had it with their daughters about body changes and puberty; well the second talk discussed the next round of changes that women experience during menopause. Poise’s new line of products that are specifically geared towards helping women through menopause, which are the first of their kind in the industry. The team is also working with experts in the field to provide tips and information on menopause so women understand what their bodies are going through.
Are there other celebrity friends who have admitted going through menopause to you? Sherry: I didn’t really even know about menopause until the View, and I got my ‘2nd talk” from my co-hosts
What is the strangest thing that people have told you happens while going through menopause? Sherry: The strangest things that I’ve heard happen is the instantaneous “body furnace” feeling, all of a sudden just burning up… the intense sweating, the “menopausal middle” belly fat, and the loss of sex drive “women say ‘what sex drive???’”
What is your top piece of advice for people dealing with menopause? Sherry: For people who are going through menopause, tell people about it so they know what you are going through, and know it is OK to be going through it, and that is what Poise is helping to do.
Do you have any recommendations for people on TV and how to best deal with hotflashes? Sherry: Wear layers and always have a personal fan with you!!!
The 411 on Menopause answered by Rebecca Hulem RN, RNP, CNM and certified menopause Clinician
At what age do women need to start being concerned about going through “the change”? Rebecca: Early to mid forties is a good time to start preparing for the physical and emotional changes that occur during the perimenopause/menopause transition. If you have a male partner, don’t forget to prepare him too! It will make this transition so much easier on both of you.
Does everyone experience the dreaded symptoms of Hot Flashes? Rebecca: Most women will experience some hot flashes. Not every woman will experience hot flashes at the same intensity or frequency as other women that they know. Even though “the change” is an equal opportunity event, physical and emotional experiences of this “event” will be as unique as your fingerprint.
Besides Hot Flashes, what other symptoms do most women experience? Rebecca: Mood swings, sleep disturbances, decreased libido, fuzzy thinking and vaginal dryness are the most common symptoms that women are troubled with during the perimenopause/menopause transition.
How long will we be in this horror of menopause? How long does it last? Rebecca: The average length of time that women experience symptoms of the perimenopause/menopause transition is two to ten years. But keep in mind not every day of the two to ten years is going to be difficult to deal with.
Are there many divorces caused by such such a horrific time? Rebecca: Not divorce per se but so many men have confided that they sure wish their partner would communicate with them what they’re going through; particularly when loss of libido, mood swings and vaginal dryness occur. Men tend to take it personally when it feels like their partner is avoiding them.
What the heck can we do to minimize symptoms? Hormones/etc……. Rebecca: Healthy lifestyle choices are a must. Exercise regularly, eat a diet rich in plant based proteins, (soy, lentils, beans, & legumes). Also include: salmon, fresh vegetables and fruit. Hormones are now only suggested for extreme symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Discuss this approach with your doctor. Over the counter products like the Poise Roll-On Cooling Gel for hot flashes, and Personal lubricant for vaginal dryness are easily accessible without a visit to the doctor. Yoga and meditation practices help calm the mind and minimize mood swings. A positive attitude, a best friend that makes you laugh and reminding yourself that “this too will pass” is always the best medicine.
What could possible be so funny about menopause besides just laughing at yourself and horror in your family’s faces as they deal with you? Rebecca: Observing all the 30 year old women feeling so “in control” of their life, juggling work, kids, and romance and thinking to ourselves….”just wait your time is coming”.
Is menopause worse than PMS? Rebecca: PMS symptoms generally occur only two weeks out of every month. Menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes, can occur every day or even every hour. Some women don’t experience PMS, so it’s difficult to compare the two. The mood swings that occur during PMS however are similar to the mood swings during perimenopause.
Do we come out better women on the other side? Rebecca: Menopause is a very important psychosocial passage. Not because of the symptoms we experience, but because of all our life experiences leading up to menopause. We no longer stress over the small stuff. We care less what other people think of us. We’re not so hard on ourselves to be perfect. We pay less attention to our “to do lists” and more attention to the people that we hold dear. So I would say “YES” we definitely are better women on the other side of menopause!
Rebecca Hulem is a Certified Menopause Clinician, professional speaker and author with over 30 years of clinical experience in Women’s Health.