Menopause: The final frontier – Birds on the Blog

Menopause: The final frontier

saving lives, changing the world, one menopause at a time

I’ve been researching and writing about menopause for around 5 years. When you first dip your toe in the menopause ocean it can feel like you are a perimenopause pioneer. I’d missed the menopause memo and it was possible others had too, so I was going to spread the word of this outrageous gap in our understanding of our own bodies and save the world, single handed, with the power of the pen. However, you soon realise that on a global basis there are thousands of bloggers, celebrities and everyday folk that have been shouting about it for years, but no one listens. Every now and then there is someone else that pops up to ‘claim the win’ on pushing the conversation over the tipping point, but again very little changes in the bigger picture.

There is a classic book published in 1994 by Dr Miriam Stoppard all about menopause. It’s a complete manual of how to navigate midlife and the hormone shift known as The Menopause.  I know many people in the menopause space who, like Dr Miriam, have been beating the drum of midlife and menopause for over 30 years, but still very little changes. Pop the word ‘menopause’ into Amazon and you get 6000 results. There are gadgets and gizmos galore, shakes, plans and programs to reset and balance your hormones, or my favourite misdirection “get to the root cause”.

FACT

Let me be super clear on one fact– menopause is not optional.

Whether you notice it or not is a different story, and if you need support managing the symptoms is only something you will know when the time comes. Add on the monumental consequences of menopause transition, that we rarely get to speak about, the significance of this life-changing hormone shift is beyond compare.

Periods start at puberty and end at menopause. That’s it.

As my colleague Dr Joanne Hobson regularly reminds me, ‘Menopause is not complicated.’ However, how you choose to navigate the hormone highway from periods to perimenopause and beyond, is a process like no other.

At the point of puberty our ovaries begin a monthly infradian rhythm of selecting the best egg to be released. This eggs-factor competition produces a surge of hormones. We may or may not have a bleed as a result of whether the egg meets up with sperm. This menstrual cycle rinse and repeat formula continues for about 40 years. The regularity of the cycle can become unpredictable around 10 years before it comes to a complete stop.

That is menopause day.

Menopause is a biological time stamp – when you have gone 12 consecutive months without a period. Perimenopausal symptoms, menopausal symptoms, hormone levels and the consequences of menopause transition are a different story. We must stop confusing one with the other.

WHY?

I still come across women who think they can opt-out of menopause, or that they didn’t have one.

  • Menopause is not your hormones ‘out of wack’.
  • Menopause is not because you are deficient in minerals.
  • The ‘root cause’ of menopause is not hormone imbalance.

Menopause is the pause of your menses. Menopause is when your ovaries stop releasing eggs and you have no periods.

However, the interconnecting roles between our sex hormones and other hormones in our body means that the process by which we reach this point of pause is unique to each of us.

The huge overall hormonal shifts during the process of ovarian decline and how we manage that journey is fundamental to our future health from midlife until the day we die. That is what we are not told in clear terms. The variables in this typical transition have allowed many bad actors to twist words and phrases that, once dissected, you’ll realise are simply the way a biologist would explain something in factual terms.

What we need, to completely understand what is happening to our bodies, from menstruation to menopause, is – biology for grown-ups.

OVER THE NEXT FEW ARTICLES

Over the next few articles, I will explain where the story of menopause starts and the misdirection that has continued to keep us in a menopause bubble unable to move forward. Women’s health and well-being is heading for a global crisis.

We need to grow-up and learn about ourselves so we can care for ourselves, today, tomorrow and the rest of our lives.

Author: Fiona Catchpowle

About the Author Fiona Catchpowle

My name is Fiona Catchpowle, and I hate it when things are over complicated and confusing. When I first started The Menopause Directory 5 years ago it was a simple blog and resource of menopausal things. When I went hunting for support at that time I found the online resources inconsistent and the context lacked relevance for the modern menopausal woman. So my aim was to simplify things and make it easy to access the right care. Since then my mission has changed dramatically and now I am about to embark on a major task of creating an army of Menopause Mentors!