Whether or not to take estrogen is a huge decision every woman must make as she faces her symptom of menopause. Most of the fears about estrogen began with the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) when they falsely claimed that estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. I explained how the WHI got it wrong in The Estrogen Fix.
Today, only about 5 percent of women take estrogen to treat their menopause symptoms and most of the rest take nothing at all–they tough it out. And that has an an impact on women in the workplace. Below is a short excerpt from my latest book Working Through Menopause: The Impact on Women, Businesses and The Bottom Line. As you’ll see, doing nothing to treat menopause symptoms is really doing something that is negative.
The Impact of the WHI
Negative misinformation about estrogen is responsible for a new perspective to the menopause experience. “My symptoms are making me feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, miserable, tired, foggy, less interested in sex, less effective at work, gain weight, or incredibly moody, (you fill in the blank), but they won’t last forever. I can tough it out.” That indirect and unfortunate outcome from the confusion caused by the WHI caused the vast majority of a generation of women to make a conscious decision to avoid estrogen. A subset of those women also chose to avoid estrogen alternatives. All of them are “toughing it out.” So millions are unnecessarily suffering through perimenopause and menopause.
How do you feel about estrogen?
Are you convinced that whatever the benefits, no matter how great, it isn’t worth the risk and worry of taking it?
If so, reevaluate your mind-set. The current way of thinking created a brain drain for women—two decades of women enduring menopausal side effects that could have been avoided and that, as you will discover, has robbed millions of women of quality of life and advancement at work. In addition, emerging research is strongly suggesting that the lower levels of estrogen found at menopause increases a woman’s risk for the COVID-19 virus. That is why being informed is so important.
The Bottom Line
If you are having menopause symptoms, there is zero need for you to go untreated and suffer in silence. This includes natural, surgical or induced menopause, and early or premature menopause. Estrogen is safe and effective for most women. However, if you can’t or don’t want to take estrogen, that’s OK. There are non-estrogen treatments, knowledgeable doctors and coaches to guide you, and lifestyle changes that can make a difference. Women undergoing cancer treatment or cancer survivors face additional challenges, but symptomatic treatments are available. Those who are transgender may also face additional menopausal challenges and should seek treatment. Treating your menopause symptoms could save your quality of life, your health, your job, your marriage.
Imagine how much better and how much more empowered you will feel. Do not tough it out, figure it out. That will change everything.