The Importance of National Menopause Awareness Month (September 2005) to the Red Hot Mamas: Our Philosophy and Significant Facts about Menopause

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: May 26, 2010

It is a busy time of year for the Red Hot Mamas as we observe National Menopause Awareness Month this September. Our agenda is filled with many events across the country as we spread the importance of menopause to thousands of people. Our hearts go out to the victims and family members of all who were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As we piece our lives back together in the aftermath, let us try to reshape our lives and reach out to others in a healthy, spirited way.

Why is it important to have menopause awareness?

Women are overwhelmed with information about menopause. Menopause is a hot topic that is not cooling down! Bombarded with hormone therapy news, alternative therapy options and an abundance of resources regarding menopause, women are constantly trying to sort through this information, and sometimes misinformation that is out there. Many women enter this phase of life with excitement and trepidation looking for answers regarding their menopausal health concerns.

Many women are looking for support. Family members, friends and loved ones also need support. Relationships are important throughout everyone’s lives. While it is easy to hide away in the shadow of menopause, relationships can be very beneficial throughout “the transition”. The people that are most important to you must understand what this transitional journey is all about. They must understand and be compassionate towards symptoms and concerns during this time. One of your goals during Menopause Awareness Month should be to reach at least one person that is closest to you. Help them understand what you may be experiencing both physiologically and emotionally.

Where do you find your information?

While the internet is an indispensable resource, it is also a tangled web of information. Going to the library can be enormously useful but frightening at the same time. Knowing the most up to date news is a must for health care consumers. Can we follow advice from books about menopause written in the 1950s? Are our health care providers qualified to tell us all the options about relieving our symptoms? In the spirit of National Menopause Awareness Month, question the source and quality of the health care information you are receiving. Know the resources that are available and your options for treatment.

Educational Resources

The Red Hot Mamas philosophy of “menopause awareness” involves taking control of your menopause and midlife issues. By using our website, bulletin boards, programs and our e-newsletter, The Menopause Minute, as resources, you can effectively leverage your options. The Red Hot Mamas continues to be committed to staying on top of current research. We doing our part, so please do yours and monitor your health and risks of diseases as you move through midlife. Know how to choose the right health care professional and know what questions to ask them. Feel confident in yourself as you embark on the journey through midlife. Talk to others about your experiences.

The Job of a Menopausal Woman in September

In observance of National Menopause Awareness Month, we ask everyone to make a conscious effort to become well-informed and educated on the topic of menopause. We agree with the FDA statements:

  • Know that menopause is normal, and that all women go through it
  • Know what is available to women as they go through menopause
  • Increase your understanding of hormone therapy for treatment of symptoms
  • Make informed decisions with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about ways to manage the symptoms of menopause

In addition, we suggest the following:

  • Attend a menopause education program at your local hospital. If there is not one in your area, contact us and we will attempt to set a program up in your area.
  • Stay up to date on the latest research by using some of the following reliable resources:
    • WHI (Women’s Health Initiative): www.whi.org
    • FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration): a href=”http://www.fda.gov”>www.fda.gov
    • NAMS (North American Menopause Society): www.menopause.org
    • US Department of Health and Human Services: www.4woman.gov
    • National Women’s Health Resource Center: www.healthywomen.org
    • Learn the basics of perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause

Red Hot Mamas® Providing Interesting Facts about Menopause:

“Baby Boomer” women are now entering menopause! About 20 million more of you will reach menopause over the next decade. Polls show that you will turn to your OB/GYN, education/support programs, like the Red Hot Mamas — and to the media — for information. Thank you for continuing to consider us a valuable resource during your passage through menopause.

In light of National Menopause Awareness Month, we wanted to offer some facts and interesting tidbits about menopause.

Basic Menopause Definitions/Facts:

Perimenopause
The transitional stage leading up to menopause – typically lasts approximately three to five years, but may be longer or shorter.
Menopause
The time when ovaries cease functioning and menstrual periods stop. A woman is officially in menopause when she has stopped having monthly periods for 12 consecutive months. Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years.

Postmenopause
The years that follow menopause.
Surgical Menopause
Menopause brought on by the surgical removal of a woman’s ovaries or by medical means (radiation therapy or chemotherapy). If a woman has not experienced natural menopause when she has this surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, she will go immediately into menopause and will skip the perimenopause stage.

Menopause results in a significant decrease in estrogen, which can cause side effects and increase the risk of:

Osteoporosis
Leads to hip, wrist and spine fractures. Number of serious osteoporosis-related fractures per year: 210,000.
Cardiovascular disease
The number one killer of women.
Urinary incontinence
As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose their elasticity, you may experience a frequent, sudden, strong urge to urinate (urge incontinence) or incontinence with coughing, laughing or lifting (stress incontinence).

Menopause Tidbits:

  • The median age for onset of perimenopause is 47.5 years.
  • The average age of US women at menopause is 51.
  • Twenty million women of the “Baby Boomer” generation (born 1945-1960) will reach menopause within the next decade.
  • In rare instances, menopause can occur as early as the 30’s or as late as the 60’s.
  • Smoking, poor nutrition and/or pre-existing medical conditions have all been identified as causes of early menopause.
  • Several generations ago, few women lived beyond menopause. Today, most women will spend 1/3 to 1/2 of their life in post menopause.
  • A majority of American women who are approaching or currently going through menopause (53%) consider themselves only “somewhat informed” about the subject.
  • While 55 percent of women consider menopause to be “no big deal,” nearly 90 percent voice concern about at least one condition associated with menopause, when asked.
  • Their top concerns include: osteoporosis (37%); emotional symptoms such as mood swings (37%); and hot flashes (31%).
  • Although it’s associated with hormonal, physical and psychosocial changes in your life, menopause isn’t the end of your youth or of your sexuality.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; The N
orth American Menopause Society; 1997 Gallup

Sources:

www.medicalreporter.health.org

Survey for ACOG on Women’s Attitudes About Menopause.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER).

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