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Finally! Natural Relief for Insomnia

Sweet Dreams © Dewitt Jones

Insomnia wreaks havoc on so many perimenopausal and menopausal women. One woman I met told me that she took HRT just to try to combat it. She said that she felt nearly psychotic from lack of sleep. She didn’t want to take hormone replacement or Ambien, but felt there was no choice. I get it!

Thankfully, my insomnia didn’t last too long. But I know women who are plagued with it still. It’s miserable to be hot, cranky, AND sleepy.

We recently had the chance to try a new, natural product – Sleep Spray. The folks at Verified CBD Oil sent a sample and one of our satellite goddesses grabbed at the chance to test it. She flat out loved it! Slept through the night the first use!

Sleep Spray’s active ingredients are CBD oil, GABA, and Valerian. Stevia helps the taste.

Here’s the short skinny on what these ingredients are:

CBD oil, also known as hemp oil, interacts with our naturally occurring systems, but is non-psychotropic, it doesn’t make you high. This makes it a safer, less controversial alternative than medical marijuana, while still offering significant health benefits.

GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic pain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system.

Valerian root has long been used for insomnia and anxiety. It even is said to have some benefit in reducing hot flashes. I drank Valerian root tea early in perimenopause but while it didn’t seem to affect my hot flashes, I felt calmer.

It’s super easy to use – just spray it under your tongue right before bedtime. It absorbs and works quickly with no grogginess in the morning according to our goddess and numerous testimonials on the site.

This could be a godsend for menopausal women – try it and let us know how it works. This is how we find out about ways to ease this transition – by women sharing wisdom.

Oh, and I saw that they also have an anti-anxiety spray – boy, I sure could have used that early in my journey! If anybody tries that, we’d love to know how it works for you.

Here’s the website: Verified CBD Oil Sleep Spray. Sweet dreams!

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Stay Cool Without Calling Attention to Yourself


Hot flashes and just heat in general are hellish for menopausal women. Often, we find ourselves, mopping ourselves with kleenex or fanning ourselves with the nearest sheet of paper. It just plain sucks.

I found myself in just that situation a few years ago. One of our beloved elders had passed away in Molokai. A few thousand showed up for her memorial service held in a community center on the island. While we could open the doors, it was Hot with a capital H in there. Luckily, I had my secret weapon: the BlowMeCool fan. I’d charged it with the USB cord and dropped it in my purse for just such a menopausal emergency.

I turned it on, holding it in my hand. It was barely noticeable visually, it was QUIET, and blissfully blew loads of cool air right onto my beet red face. It saved my bacon that day and so many others. We’ve carried it in the Menopause Marketplace for 5 years or so.

Now, there is a new, blue edition (the first iteration is orange.) It’s sturdier and the blue color makes it even more unobtrusive. It’s less transparent so the inner workings are less visible. It costs a couple dollars more, but having tried it when the company sent me one, I can definitely recommend you buy the blue one if you can. If you are truly geeky and you want to see the innards, by all means buy the orange one.

And Menopause Goddess Blog readers get a 10% discount just by adding this code at checkout:  MGB18.

In this video, creator Brian Burge explaining why he developed this wonderful fan (spoiler alert: his wife went the the Pause).

Click here to order. And don’t forget to add our Menopause Goddess Blog discount code: MGB18. You won’t be sorry!
 

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Must See Film “Love, Sweat, and Tears” Released on DVD

love, sweat, and tears

At last, Dr. Pamela Dee Gaudry’s film, Love, Sweat, and Tears is going to be available on DVD (release date is Aug. 22 but you can preorder now.

This is a groundbreaking film – and addresses how to keep intimacy alive and thriving during and after the Pause. A host of celebrities and entrepreneurs in menopause remedies augment Dr. Pam’s humor and wisdom.

The DVD is only 29.95 – I wish we had had this film some 15 years ago – it would have been so helpful to the Menopause Goddess group. We had to stumble and fumble our way through (although we wouldn’t have missed our collective journey for the world.).

Dr. Pam’s plain talk is refreshing and appealing. The humor in the film resonated with us goddesses – reverent irreverence helps us along this transition.

I will say that the film spends less time on symptoms of menopause other than romance and intimacy – but if she’d covered every aspect in depth the movie would be several hours long! Those of you who are in or through menopause know what I mean!

I highly recommend that every woman approaching, during, and even post menopause view this DVD. You might want to start your own Menopause Goddess Group and see it together. For hints on how to do this, just put Creating a Goddess Group in the Search box here on the blog.

Order the DVD on the Love, Sweat, and Tears website. You can also rent or purchase the streaming video via iTunes or directly on the website. Click here for more info; Love Sweat, and Tears Film.

And if you missed our blog posts where Dr. Pam shares her personal story, here are the links:

Part I: An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

Part II: An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

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Tackle Hormonal Mood Swings

Maelstrom © lynette sheppard

There are powerful things at work in each of our bodies that help regulate the most basic and the most complex of things. Take hormones, for instance: They regulate our growth and they impact our immune system. When it comes to estrogen and progesterone in females, they also control our reproductive processes.

But hormones have long gotten a bad rap, as a reason that women have to ride an emotional roller coaster every month based on their cycle or as changes occur in menopause. The question is—is that reputation that hormones have deserved?

Research suggests a strong maybe, although the link may not be as definitive as once thought. For starters, some women may be more in tune with those hormone level fluctuations, which means that the levels may have more impact on how they feel. And how they feel may also depend on the phase of their cycle and how they experience menopause.

To learn more, check out this helpful graphic shared by Health Perch in partnership with Ghergich and Co.

Health Perch offers these helpful suggestions for dealing with hormonal mood swings:

Balancing Act

If you feel like your hormones are holding you hostage, some relatively simple lifestyle changes may help.

1. Pay attention
Keep a diary of your symptoms for a few months. All women are different, and the only way to understand your moods is to record them and analyze the data. It may bring relief to observe that menopausal mood swings don’t last forever.

2. Eat up
Studies suggest women with hormone fluctuations may be deficient in calcium and magnesium. Foods rich in vitamin B6, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc may also help prevent mood swings, according to some experts. It can’t hurt to eat a more nutrient-dense diet. Reach for vegetables, leafy greens, beans, seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, poultry, seafood and seaweed, and fish.

3. Improve sleep habits
Some women report insomnia when estrogen and progesterone levels plummet; 40 to 50 percent of women experience insomnia during menopause. Women with sleep disturbances are more likely to feel stressed out, tense, anxious, or depressed. To improve your odds of a good night of sleep, make your room dark, quiet, and cool, and stick to routine sleep and waking times.

4. Move more
In one study, eight weeks of aerobic training significantly reduced participants’ premenstrual symptoms. Choose physical activities you enjoy since the point is to feel good.

5. Manage stress
Women who experience stress early in a menstrual cycle are more likely to experience mood swings later in the cycle, according to a study. The same goes for menopause. Walking, mindfulness exercises, visiting nature, and hanging out with friends are proven ways to reduce stress.

6. Reduce caffeine and alcohol
In studies, caffeine has been shown to decrease feelings of relaxation and increase ratings of anxiousness, tenseness, and nervousness. Alcohol may interfere with estrogen detoxification (which could be why it’s associated with a higher risk of breast cancer). Reach for a drink, such as water or herbal tea, that helps you feel calm.

If you experience mood swings that interfere with your daily life and these healthy makeovers don’t help, it may be time to check in with your doctor or naturopath. Herbs, such as chaste tree and red clover, vitamin supplements, or medical treatments may help.

Conclusion
Hormonal changes should not be used to discount or discriminate against women or medicalize normal life changes. However, it doesn’t serve women to pretend our bodies and moods stay constant through the course of a lifetime. Whether the subject is menstruation, menopause, moods, or other topics, we should take women’s health seriously. Recognizing and understanding hormonal fluctuations may help women move through their lives with more awareness and ease.

You can find lots more health and wellness information on Health Perch: click here to go to their website.

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Writing Menopause – You Must Read This Book!

I love love love fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. I love exceptional writing. I especially love anything that cuts to the heart of what women feel and think. So when Kimberley at Inanna publications sent me the book Writing Menopause, An Anthology of Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction, I was anxious to read and review it.

It’s breathtaking. Literally. And hot-flashing, mind melding, heart touching, beautiful. I actually think ALL women would love this book, not just those of us who are approaching, well in, or past menopause.

Each piece was so tender and truthful that I had to stop after reading it to muse on my own feelings, my own journey. This book will join the ‘desert island’ books on my shelf. (Desert island books are those 10 or 20 you would take to a desert island if you were stranded indefinitely and these were the only tomes you could have.)

If I’ve not yet succeeded in convincing you that you NEED to read these vignettes, then let me say that it is the best book on the Big M I’ve read. Including mine.

If you are looking for remedies or learning more of the physiology of the Pause, this book does not offer that. If you are looking for empathy, understanding, and your confused feelings illuminated in words on paper (yes, that’s it, what she said!), then you can’t afford to miss this book. Seriously! I mean it!

I won’t quote from the book, because it wouldn’t do any of the works justice. In lieu of that, I’ll tantalize you with a few titles.

Drenched
Icing on the Cake
The Things We Carry
Disassembly
Go. Rock.
The Hot Women
Adjusting the Ashes

Please order it asap – and then tell us how you experienced it. Because it is indeed an experience when these gifted writers share the personal and universal in Menopause. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. While I love my e-reader, I suggest you get the paperback version, so you can touch as well as read it, a totem for the journey of becoming that all women must travel.

Writing Menopause: An Anthology of Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction.  Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin, Editors

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The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause

cupcake blues © lynette sheppard

Katrina Jane Rice shares another pertinent guest post with us – this time, she is addressing blood sugar issues that can show up during and after the Pause. As the hot flashes diminish and mood swings stabilize, our attention rightly turns to aging and remaining healthy. Enjoy.

The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause

by Katrina Jane Rice

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle and her ability to reproduce stop.

As a result, different symptoms occur, such as weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, and sleep problems among others. These are triggered by decreased estrogen and progesterone levels in the body and can lead to health concerns to look out for.

If you are in your forties and about to reach menopause, you can expect the above symptoms as well as possible blood sugar problems.

Just as every woman experiences different symptoms, not everyone suffers from high blood sugar. Some women may have lower levels while some may not experience any change at all.

Women who are dealing with blood sugar problems even before they reach their menopause stage are usually those diagnosed with diabetes by their doctors.

Effects of Menopause On Your Blood Sugar
If you are already managing high blood sugar levels before menopause, there are certain changes in your body that you need to be prepared for. You will find that your blood sugar fluctuates more often and it may become more unpredictable. This can alter your energy and affect how you go about your daily activities.

Since the symptoms of menopause can alter your daily routine (due to sleepless nights, mood swings, weight gain and irritability), you will find it more difficult to manage your pre-existing health issues as easily as you used to. Before the menopause symptoms totally take effect on you, beating your health problems and normalizing your blood sugar as soon as possible will truly make a difference.

Estrogen’s Role On Your Blood Sugar
The hormone estrogen decreases when you hit menopause. When it does, your body will undergo significant physical and physiological changes. Your body which once was a well-oiled machine will go through a series of unpredictable metabolic responses that can pose health problems and even put you at risk of diabetes.

To explain further, estrogen plays many roles in a woman’s body and that includes blood sugar regulation. The hormone estrogen has a protective effect on the pancreas and the pancreatic cells by preventing premature cell death.

The pancreas is the organ producing insulin, which is needed to burn sugar. While estrogen helps keep your pancreas healthy, it can efficiently produce insulin and transfer the sugar from your blood to your cells.

The sudden decline of estrogen contributes to your body’s resistance to insulin. For this reason, the sugar in your blood cannot be distributed to your cells and be utilized for energy production. If left untreated, your blood sugar will constantly stay high and can cause the metabolic disorder diabetes.

How To Stay Healthy
If you have been living an unhealthy lifestyle for years, you have to know that there is no quick and easy solution to this complicated medical situation where diabetes and menopause co-exist.

It is normal to feel worried about the likelihood of getting diabetes. But early intervention with a physical check up will determine the amount of work you need to improve your health.

If you already have blood sugar problems before reaching the menopause stage, continue to live a healthy lifestyle and consult your doctor immediately to plan a course of prevention from diabetes. This way you do not have to worry about the other health concerns menopause can bring up.

Monitor your blood sugar and pay a close attention to your lifestyle. Stay away from stress, sleep better at night, eat balanced meals and exercise regularly. If you are overweight, you will be required to shed off the excess pounds as early as possible. Losing as little as 10 pounds can already make a significant difference in your health. Working out daily can also improve your insulin sensitivity.

Be cautious of your health sooner than later. Though menopause is just a stage in a woman’ life, it can become a threat to her overall health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle while waiting for the menopausal symptoms to subside. If you do, you will surely avoid serious health concerns that many women are facing today.

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Get a Perfect Temperature for Sleeping

In the early days of menopause, sleep temperature alternating between boiling lava to glaciated goosebumps as moisture then evaporated from hot flashes. My husband had always slept warmer than I, needing less blankets. Suddenly, he experienced hot flashes of his own as all the covers were flung on top of him. We like sleeping together but that was an untenable situation. Thankfully, the worst is over.

Still, we sleep at differing temperatures even now. I’m variable night to night – sometimes too warm, others chilled. He is usually fine except when I overheat and burn him like a shrimp on the barbie.

Enter BedJet. This truly amazing innovation lets one of us sleep cool and the other warm. Or vice versa. They sent me one to try and I fell instantly in love with it. So did my husband. Dual temperature control without wires or special pads or mattress toppers! And that’s so important now that I have the perfect mattress – I sure don’t want to change it.

We are able to cool off or warm up nearly instantly. Finally, a blissful night’s sleep for both of us.

Bedjet also has a single zone version for those who just want the same temperature for the whole bed – obviously less expensive.

Check out the video about it:

 

BedJet is quick relief for hot sleepers, night sweats, evening hot flashes, cold feet and cold legs, cold winter sheet shock and memory foam mattresses that trap heat. There’s even a Bluetooth Sleep App for intelligent remote control from your smartphone or tablet. They say that the Bedjet reinvents your bed to become one of the most delightful places in your home. I totally agree. That’s probably why it’s now the #1 customer recommended bed cooling and heating product of any kind on all of Amazon.

Check out their website here:  https://bedjet.com/

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Breathable Bedding for a Toss-Free Night!

We Got Older and My Girlfriends and I Complained about Night Sweats. So What Did I Do? I Launched a Line of Breathable Bedding for a Toss-Free Night!
Guest post by Lana Abrams

You know how a travel memory sometimes sticks with you, bubbling up and making you smile even years later? A while back I had one of those swoon-worthy vacation moments that completely transported me. The day in Shanghai had been busy and I ended the night freshly showered and nestled under a comfy, almost weightless layer of bedding. I rested under those crisp, clean linens. Sigh… just perfect.

It turns out that the comforter was filled with mulberry silk—something I’d never seen in the States. I filed the info away, raised my kids, ran a successful design business, and my girlfriends and I… aged. (Wait. What?!) We chatted about the symptoms that start when you can’t have kids. You know—foggy memory, mood swings and (yuck) night sweats. Welcome to perimenopause.

I turned 50 and wanted to try something new, work-wise. I tapped into that travel memory of the delicious bed dressed with a mulberry silk filled comforter. That was it: my Turning 50 project! Bedding that breathes with you and regulates heat, hot or cold. I took the leap and created a new product for women like us.

Mulberry West 300 tc unbleached polished cotton comforters and blankets offer a naturally cooling cover filled with Grade A mulberry silk— a lifesaver for women who’ve been throwing on and off the covers at night. This porous and pure fiber is known for strong ventilation and moisture absorption, making it ideal for battling hot flashes and hot summer nights. Mulberry silk deters dust mites and mold, perfect for allergy and asthma sufferers, plus it repels bedbugs. And ours is the ONLY silk filled cotton comforter internationally certified for no formaldehyde or chlorine. Made in the same factory where a well-known Seattle-based outdoors store manufactures their goods, Mulberry West is committed to eco-friendly production and international inspections.

The all-white collection includes King, Queen and Twin XL cotton piped comforters filled with silk providing a lightweight, shift-free layer of wicking warmth and comfort. They can be placed in a duvet cover or use as is. The collection also offers generously sized King, Queen and Twin XL cotton with satin trim silk-filled blankets. This is a terrific layering piece or lightweight option to a coverlet. Easy to clean—simply air out in the sunshine for a few hours to naturally whiten the cotton shell and rejuvenate the silk filling.

Menopause Goddess Blog readers are receiving a special reader rate of 25% off any item from Mulberry West, plus free shipping with this code: goddess2017.  Click here to go to the website.

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An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine Part II

love, sweat, and tears

Last week, I posted Part I of Dr. Pam’s openhearted sharing of her journey from gynecologist to menopause healer. In Part II, she tells us more about her journey and how being a caregiver changed her forever. I am profoundly grateful that she has chosen to be naked and unafraid in order to help others. Be sure and click on the info at the end of the post about her breakout film “Love, Sweat, and Tears.”

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine Part II

I became a caregiver to my husband when I stopped obstetrics in 2005.  He was an OB/GYN himself.    Our lives changed immediately after his first surgery and radiation therapy.  Our intimate relationship ceased immediately.  We tried to remain intimate, and we sought help.  We did ask one of his physicians for assistance, and unbelievably, he said, “Well, you are alive, right?”  Yes, he was alive, and we appreciated the fact that he was alive.  But, we lost a great part of our relationship.

We lost our closeness and our ability to show our love to one another.  It was a terrible loss, and we grieved the loss in different ways.  I didn’t realize that he continued to try to “fix” things.  About 2 weeks before he died, I was getting the laundry together and checking his pockets.  I didn’t realize that he was standing behind me when I took a couple of packets out of his pocket.  I put some glasses on and saw that it was packets of testosterone.  I turned around and saw him there and said the worst thing in the world.  I said, “What are you doing?  I don’t care about that!”  Well, he put his head down, and I know that he was tearful. He said, “I wanted to try.”  As he walked away, I realized that he took my words wrong.  I meant that it was not a factor in how much I loved him.

I wish that I could have that moment back.  The more that I tried to explain my thoughts, the more that I made the situation worse.  After he died, I have had years to think about this situation.  Here, you had a married couple – both of which are gynecologists – that have not talked for 5 years about the fact that we could not have sexual intercourse.   If we can’t talk about it, then I bet lots of people in our situation have absolutely no hope of talking about it.  How sad is it that two gynecologists can’t talk to each other about what we could do to help our problem.  How sad is it that two physicians went to another physician to ask if there was any way to help us get our intimate lives back, and none of us knew what to do.  I mean to change that fact.   I understand that one of the hardest things for a physician to say is, “I don’t know what to do.”   I mean to change that fact, too.  It is terrible to have to accept that a bad or terminal illness means the end of your sexual relationship.

Taking care of another adult is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life.  Medical school, residency, and having twins were a breeze compared to this responsibility.  This is something else that I completely missed during the early years of my practice.  I didn’t understand what it was like to be a caregiver.  I didn’t understand the physical and emotional wear and tear that was required of my body and mind.  When a patient came in and told me that she was taking care of a husband or parent, I would immediately go into sympathy mode – and I meant it.  I asked who their doctor was, how they were progressing, and the plan of care.  I commented on the physician taking care of them and encouraged them to hang in there.  I completely missed the fact that they were hurting and overwhelmed.

Whether someone is taking care of a spouse, family member, or a parent, they become the “mother.”  It is difficult to take complete care of another adult.  The patient is angry about their situation and frequently those that are closest to them take the brunt of the anger.  As with so many circumstances, life experience is a brutal and uncompassionate teacher.  After being a caretaker, the object of my sympathy reversed – I focused on the caregiver.  I asked if they had any help. I asked if they ever got a break from their caregiving.  Usually, there is not, but someone who understands their “new” life and their “new normal” is a welcome change.  No one can help them, and they know it. However, having someone even acknowledge their responsibility, fear, and stress is comforting.

For almost twenty years, I was a good obstetrician.  I thought I had the best job in the world, and at the time, I did.  For the last ten years, I have become a (hopefully) great gynecologist, gynechiatrist, intimacy, menopause, and sexual medicine physician, intimacy counselor, and survivorship gynecologist.  I have impacted lives in a different way.  I know that I helped so many women as an obstetrician; I loved them and I know that they felt the same about me. However, if I am truly honest, my obstetrical career satisfied me.  The gynecology career that I ended up with satisfies the reason that I went to medical school: my desire and need to help others.

Pamela Dee Gaudry, MD, NCMP
NAMS Certified Menopause Practioner
Medical Sex Therapist
Survivorship Medicine Physician
(and I’m still an Obstetrician 😉

You can host a screening at a theater near you of Dr. Pam’s film, “Love, Sweat, and Tears” through Gathr – they handle the details, it costs you nothing – you get your friends to go and promote the film. Click here for details.

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An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

love, sweat, and tears

When I asked Dr. Pam Gaudry to share her personal story of how she came to create the film for menopausal women “Love, Sweat, and Tears”, I got way more than I bargained for. Her story brought me to tears at times.

Because she shares with such naked honesty her process of progressing from obstetrical physician to menopausal women’s advocate and then goes on to detail the tolls of caregiving, I am posting her poignant piece in two parts. More about “Love, Sweat, and Tears” at the end.

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine
I fell in love with my job before I even had one.  I delivered a baby.  I brought life into the world.  As a medical student, a wonderful couple let me into one of the most amazing and private events that they would ever have in their lives: the birth of their child.  I was honored, thankful, appreciative, and overwhelmed.  I could not believe that I could get paid for doing something so beautiful and miraculous. This first time and the last time that I delivered a baby, I was overwhelmed; I had butterflies in my stomach.  I couldn’t wait to go to work every day of my life.

Why did your OB/GYN choose obstetrics and gynecology?  Because pap smears are fun?  Because we want to treat gonorrhea and chlamydia?  Because it’s amazing to see a bladder falling out?  No.  They fell in love with the excitement of bringing a sweet, adorable new life into the world.  Think about the fact that every time that an OB/GYN physician walks into an exam room with a pregnant woman, they have two patients in the room.  An OB/GYN loves their patients, and they love being part of the family.  They thrive on the excitement and thrill of bringing that life into the world. Obstetrics is our first love.

In 2005, I had a bustling obstetrics practice, my husband became ill with an oral cancer, I had 8-year-old twins, I was spending 6-8 nights a month in the hospital, and I was profoundly overwhelmed.  Something had to give.  Unfortunately, I had to give up the best part of my job – delivering my babies.

I really thought that I would hone my gynecologic surgical skills and become a better surgeon, and to some extent, that did happen.  However, I was flabbergasted that women were coming in just to “talk.”  I was shocked.  The major comment that I got was that they were glad that I now had time to address their gynecologic issues.  What?  I had always addressed their gynecologic issues.  How could they say that?  Well, it became apparent that I did not.  I especially did not address menopausal and intimacy issues.  When I thought about it, I realized that I very superficially discussed menopause and did not touch on the ‘legion’ of problems that peri-menopause and menopause causes.

I was always (very happily) running to Labor and Delivery and (unhappily) trying to rectify being very behind schedule in the office. There is no way to be an obstetrician and, “plan your day” – let alone your schedule.  When I had to stop delivering babies, my days changed overnight.  When I did obstetrics, a normal day was running from room to room and then to Labor and Delivery and then back to the office where I (usually unsuccessfully) tried to catch up to the schedule.  After I stopped doing obstetrics, I found myself entering a room, calmly sitting down, and talking to a patient for 20 minutes or so about menopausal and intimacy issues.

To be honest, I really did not have much training in this area; I went and got some.  I decided to become a certified menopause practitioner through the North American Menopause Society.  Additionally, I spent a couple of years getting a medical sex therapy certification.  There are not many gynecologists that have this kind of training.  Patients probably think that it is inherently part of our residency training in obstetrics and gynecology.  Unbelievably, it is not.  There is no information or training to draw from when treating these patients.   An OB/GYN must rely on their own personal experience as well as the experiences that we encounter during years of practice.  Surprisingly, in 2017, only 20% of residency programs have training in menopause and sexual medicine.  Kind of frightening and sad, isn’t it?

So many women ask me why their OB/GYN had not given them information about the changes that occur in the peri-menopausal transition.  My answer? They don’t know what they don’t know.

I had no idea that I was not really paying attention to my menopausal patients, and I’m sure that other OB/GYNs don’t know that either.  But, think about it.  If a physician rushes into the room, stands up the whole time, asks if you have any new problems or concerns, and you both know that the waiting room is full of pregnant women, crying babies, and strollers, and you know that there are probably two people in labor, it isn’t an atmosphere conducive to a discussion about your vaginal dryness, relationship issues (code word for sexual dysfunction and pain), hot flashes, and rage (pushing you to think about killing people).

When I look back, I feel badly about it; I (unknowingly) blew them off.  I probably, and very nicely, told them to try some systemic estrogen – and, oh by the way – it can give you breast cancer and blood clots.  After a quick exam, I was out the door.  There are sweet wonderful babies to deliver; there are mamas to comfort and reassure.  I gotta go.

I do things differently now.  I come in the room in a calm fashion, say hello, and sit down – giving my patient my full attention.  I spaced my visits out to 30 minutes.  I grab their hands and ask how they are handling the changes that their bodies have gone through in the last year.  It is not uncommon for someone to burst into tears.  I know now.  My dear patient, I will take care of these issues with you and for you.  If you were my patient in those first 18 years of my practice and I blew off your gynecologic and menopausal issues…I’m sorry.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Pamela Dee Gaudry, MD, NCMP
NAMS Certified Menopause Practioner
Medical Sex Therapist
Survivorship Medicine Physician
(and I’m still an Obstetrician 😉 )

You can host a screening at a theater near you of Dr. Pam’s film, “Love, Sweat, and Tears” through Gathr – they handle the details, it costs you nothing – you get your friends to go and promote the film. Click here for details.

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