The $275 Million Step Towards Revolutionizing Midlife Women’s Health

Just recently, Hollywood Actress Halle Berry has collaborated with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to introduce this bill which aimed at enhancing menopause and midlife women’s health research, training, and public awareness. The legislation, titled the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act, proposes a $275 million investment over five years. It includes funding for research, public health promotion, professional training, and establishing Centers of Excellence in Menopause and Mid-Life Women’s Health. Berry, highlighting her personal struggles with menopause misdiagnoses, emphasized the non-political nature of this issue and its significance as a human rights concern. The bill has gained broad support across the political spectrum, reflecting a growing acknowledgment of the need for focused attention on women’s health issues that have historically been marginalized.

Here’s a breakdown of its key aspects:

Focus Areas:

  • Research: The Act calls for increased federal funding for research on menopause, including evaluating existing research and identifying gaps in knowledge regarding treatments and their effectiveness.
  • Education and Awareness: It aims to raise awareness about menopause and mid-life health issues through educational initiatives for healthcare professionals and the public.
  • Healthcare Workforce Training: The Act emphasizes the need for better training for healthcare providers on managing menopause and related symptoms.
  • Public Health Promotion: It encourages preventative measures and public health initiatives to address potential health risks associated with menopause.

Overall Goal:

The Act strives to improve the overall experience of menopause for women by:

  • Strengthening research: Leading to the development of more effective treatment options.
  • Enhancing education and awareness: Empowering women to manage their symptoms and make informed decisions about their health.
  • Equipping healthcare providers: Ensuring women have access to qualified professionals who can effectively address their menopause-related concerns.
  • Promoting preventative measures: Helping women maintain good health during menopause and beyond.

Current Status (as of May 14, 2024):

The Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act was introduced in December 2023 and is currently under consideration by the U.S. Congress.

The Impact on Women

The Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act has several potential impacts on women, especially those experiencing menopause and related mid-life health concerns. Here’s how it could affect women:

  1. Improved Treatments and Symptom Management:
    • By boosting research funding, the Act would facilitate a deeper understanding of menopause and its symptoms. This could lead to the development of more effective and personalized treatments, helping women manage symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood swings more effectively.
  2. Increased Awareness and Education:
    • The focus on educational initiatives would help demystify menopause for both the public and healthcare providers. Increased awareness could reduce the stigma and misconceptions surrounding menopause, making it easier for women to seek help and discuss their health openly.
  3. Better Healthcare Experiences:
    • Training healthcare providers specifically about menopause management means that women are more likely to receive informed, empathetic care tailored to their needs. This can improve the overall healthcare experience for women at mid-life, making it more likely that they receive timely and effective interventions.
  4. Enhanced Public Health Measures:
    • Promoting public health initiatives related to lifestyle adjustments and preventative care can help women address and potentially reduce the risks associated with menopause-related health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
  5. Empowerment and Informed Decision-Making:
    • With increased education and resources, women are better equipped to make informed decisions about their health. Understanding their own bodies and the changes occurring during menopause can empower women to advocate for themselves in healthcare settings and in their personal health choices.
  6. Long-Term Health Benefits:
    • Preventative health measures and education can have long-term benefits by encouraging healthier lifestyles and proactive health management. This can lead to a reduction in chronic conditions often exacerbated by menopause, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Overall, if effectively implemented, the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act could significantly enhance the quality of life for women experiencing menopause, leading to better health outcomes and a more supportive healthcare environment. This could also set a precedent for how menopause and women’s health issues are handled in other regions or countries.

From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: Halle Berry Champions Menopause Awareness

Washington, D.C. — In a moving address on Capitol Hill, Hollywood actress and women’s rights advocate Halle Berry called for a de-stigmatization of menopause and better healthcare for women experiencing this natural phase of life. Speaking in a room full of supporters and several U.S. senators, Berry shared her personal journey with menopause, emphasizing the broad impact it has on women’s health and advocating for legislative action.

Berry’s presence marked a key moment as she and several legislators unveiled a bill to boost menopause care nationwide. With bipartisan backing visible, she expressed her gratitude towards Senators Patty Murray and Lisa Murkowski for their commitment to advancing women’s health issues.

The Need for a Shift in Menopause Perception

Halle opened her speech by expressing how honored she was to advocate for such a vital cause, one she never anticipated championing in her lifetime. The cause, she noted, is not just a health issue but a human rights issue that transcends political lines.

“Menopause is something that affects all women, yet it’s often seen as an issue only for the old,” Berry remarked. “Society tells us to fade away, but we are far from needing to step back. I am here to say, at 58, I have never been more ready to make a difference.”

She emphasized the extensive impact of menopause, explaining how it reaches beyond just the reproductive system and affects overall health, including mental clarity, thanks to the widespread role of estrogen in the body.

A Story of Overcoming Silence

With a lighthearted recount of a recent doctor’s visit, Berry illustrated the lingering stigma and lack of awareness that surrounds menopause. “I had to be the one to bring it up,” she recounted with an easy chuckle, stressing how vital it is for healthcare providers to be open and well-informed on the topic.

Uniting for a Common Cause

The event also served as a perfect stage for Berry to call for more support for the proposed bill, playfully noting her bright orange suit meant to make her—and the cause—stand out. She expressed hope that more senators would join the cause, emphasizing the need for a united front.

“Today, I’m not just wearing this suit for myself but for all women who suffer in silence,” Berry declared, her voice a powerful echo in the halls of power.

A Rallying Cry for Support

Concluding with a spirited call to action, Berry urged women across the country to make their voices heard by reaching out to their senators. “Let’s ensure the conversation around menopause is loud, clear, and positive,” she urged.

Advocating for Change

Berry’s advocacy marks a significant step towards changing the narrative around menopause, aiming to treat it as a crucial health issue that deserves recognition and action. By sharing her story and rallying support, she hopes to spark a movement that prioritizes menopause care in women’s health policies.

As the bill progresses, Berry and her supporters in the Senate are working to lay down a framework that ensures every woman receives the support and resources she deserves during menopause. With continued effort and advocacy, the outlook for women’s health care looks brighter and more inclusive, thanks to voices like Berry’s leading the charge.

Beyond the Beat: Decoding Menopause Palpitations and Wellness

Have you ever wondered why your heart sometimes races or skips a beat, especially during menopause? You’re not alone. Palpitations, those unsettling variations in heartbeat, are a common but frequently misunderstood symptom experienced by many women during this pivotal stage of life. Despite affecting up to 54% of postmenopausal women, palpitations often remain in the shadows of more widely recognized menopausal symptoms. Traditionally attributed to anxiety or stress, these heart flutters may actually hint at deeper, less explored cardiac or systemic issues, a fact often overlooked due to historical biases in cardiology. But what really causes these mysterious palpitations? And how do they impact the daily lives and overall well-being of women navigating through perimenopause and beyond?

In this blog, we delve into the heart of the matter. Drawing on recent research and systematic reviews, we shed light on the elusive nature of menopausal palpitations. From exploring potential triggers and demographic influences to examining the connection between palpitations and other menopausal symptoms, we aim to unravel the complexities of this condition. Not only will we explore its physical ramifications, but we’ll also consider its profound impact on quality of life, offering insights and actionable recommendations for those affected. By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with a deeper understanding of menopausal palpitations and empowered with knowledge and strategies to address them effectively. Stay with us as we uncover the hidden truths and navigate towards a more informed and healthier menopausal journey.

Correlates of palpitations during menopause

Research shows that palpitations hitting many women during menopause are pretty common. Up to 42% of women in perimenopause and 54% in postmenopause experience them. Despite this, there’s a surprising lack of guidance on how to handle them. Often, they’re brushed off as stress or anxiety, not something more serious.

It’s important to understand these palpitations in peri- and post-menopausal women because they’re a big reason why people visit their doctors or cardiologists. Women, in particular, face this issue, but they’re also often misunderstood or misdiagnosed due to a long-standing bias in cardiology.

So, what’s really behind these palpitations? A thorough review was conducted to connect the dots between factors like age, lifestyle, or health indicators and palpitations. The goal? To fully grasp what’s driving these heart flutters in peri- and post-menopausal women and to steer future studies and medical advice.

Here’s what we found.

The root cause of menopausal palpitations is still a bit of a mystery. Studies from around the globe show varied results and often lump palpitations with other symptoms. Some patterns do emerge, though. For instance, race or ethnicity might influence palpitation experiences. Less physical activity seems linked to more palpitations, but other health markers like BMI aren’t as clear-cut. Palpitations often team up with other menopause symptoms, like hot flashes or sleep issues, suggesting a common underlying cause.

But palpitations don’t just stop at discomfort; they can dent a woman’s quality of life. Yet, it’s still not clear what these palpitations mean for heart health. There’s a lack of solid data on heart disease connections or biomarkers – the tell-tale signs of underlying conditions. So, while the study offers some clues, there’s much left to uncover about palpitations during peri- and post-menopause.

What it means for women in menopause

The findings from this study offer several important insights for women, particularly those going through menopause. Here are some key takeaways and recommendations based on the study:

1. Awareness of Variability: Women should be aware that menopausal symptoms, including palpitations, can vary widely among individuals. Factors such as age, race/ethnicity, and lifestyle choices may influence the experience of palpitations during menopause. Understanding this variability can help women better navigate their unique menopausal journey.

2. Importance of Physical Activity: The study suggests that women who engage in less physical activity may be more likely to experience palpitations. Therefore, maintaining an active lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, can potentially help reduce the frequency and severity of palpitations. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting or intensifying an exercise routine, especially if there are underlying health concerns.

3. Connection Between Symptoms: The research highlights a potential connection between palpitations and other menopausal symptoms like vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and sleep problems. Women should recognize that these symptoms may influence one another. Addressing sleep disturbances and VMS through lifestyle changes or medical interventions could potentially alleviate palpitations.

4. Quality of Life Consideration: Palpitations were associated with a reduced quality of life. Women experiencing palpitations should prioritize their overall well-being and seek support from healthcare professionals or support groups to manage the emotional and psychological impact of this symptom.

5. Cardiovascular Health Awareness: The study’s lack of evidence linking palpitations to cardiac health in menopausal women is noteworthy. Women should remain vigilant about their heart health and consider discussing any concerns about palpitations with their healthcare providers. Regular heart health check-ups and discussions about potential cardiac risks during menopause are essential.

6. Need for Further Research: It is crucial to acknowledge that this study also revealed gaps in our understanding of palpitations during menopause. Women should be aware that ongoing research is needed to fully comprehend the mechanisms, potential cardiac implications, and effective management strategies for palpitations in this specific population.

My Personal Perspective

In wrapping up our exploration of palpitations during menopause and the insights gleaned from the study, it’s important to take a moment to reflect. Palpitations can be a rather disconcerting experience, and understanding their intricacies becomes all the more crucial during the transformative phase of menopause.

For many women, including myself, the journey through menopause can sometimes feel like an uncharted territory, with palpitations serving as a somewhat unexpected passenger. This study has shed light on the complex interplay between palpitations and various factors, from demographics to overall quality of life. It’s reassuring to know that palpitations are not just a figment of our imagination but a real and common symptom that many women experience during this phase.

What stands out is the need for a tailored approach to managing palpitations during menopause. We’ve learned that lifestyle factors, such as physical activity and stress management, can make a significant difference. This underscores the importance of taking proactive steps to prioritize our health, be it through regular exercise routines or mindfulness practices.

Moreover, the study has also hinted at the potential links between palpitations and other menopausal symptoms, such as sleep disturbances and vasomotor symptoms. This interconnectedness reminds us that our bodies are intricate systems, and addressing one aspect of our well-being can have ripple effects on others.

Lastly, the call for further research is important. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of menopausal health, continued studies like this one will undoubtedly provide us with a deeper understanding of palpitations and their implications especially to us — women.

In closing, while palpitations during menopause may seem daunting, they are a part of the journey that can be managed effectively with the right knowledge and support. By staying informed, seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, and making mindful lifestyle choices, we can empower ourselves to embrace this life stage with confidence and grace. Here’s to a healthier, heartier, and happier menopause journey for all of us!

Breaking the Silence: Addressing the Stigma of Menopause

Menopause: a word that often whispers through conversations in hushed tones, as if it’s a secret to be kept hidden. But why? It’s a natural stage in a woman’s life, as inevitable as the sunrise. Yet, the stigma of menopause persists, shrouding this significant life transition in unnecessary mystery and misunderstanding. It’s time we break the silence and address the stigma of menopause head-on.

It’s More Than Just an End to Periods

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles, typically occurring around the age of 51 in the United States1. However, it’s more than just the cessation of periods; it’s a complex biological process that affects women both physically and emotionally. Despite its universality, menopause is often stigmatized, primarily due to its association with aging. This stigma of menopause not only undermines the experience but also contributes to a lack of open discussion and education about it.

The Varied Tapestry of Symptoms

Menopause isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. While some women pass through this phase with minimal discomfort, others find themselves grappling with a range of symptoms. Hot flashes and night sweats are the poster children of menopause, but the reality extends far beyond. Mood swings, anxiety, sleep disturbances, joint aches, and palpitations also weave into the menopausal tapestry. These symptoms can be bewildering and, without proper understanding, can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration.

The Stigma of Menopause and Its Consequences

This stigma of menopause does more than just silence conversations; it impacts the quality of healthcare women receive. Astonishingly, many women are not getting the treatment they need for their menopause symptoms. This gap in care is partly due to the symptoms not being recognized as menopause-related, both by women themselves and, surprisingly, by healthcare providers. In fact, a survey found that 73% of women don’t treat their menopause symptoms.

This lack of recognition is a direct consequence of the stigma surrounding menopause, which discourages open discussion and education.

The Role of Healthcare Providers

The role of healthcare providers in managing menopause is pivotal, yet there’s a concerning gap in their training. A review authored by Barbara E. Macpherson, Naomi D. Quinton at Leeds Institute of Medical Education, School of Medicine “establishes how menopause is understood in educational terms and how it is taught within health professions’ education, and develops an understanding of the pedagogy of menopause. There is an urgent need for menopause to be included in mainstream curricula and for an appropriate pedagogy that acknowledges the complexity of the topic, to achieve excellence in education across health professions’ education. There is a broader perspective in addressing the challenges for health professions’ education in terms of the prioritisation and pedagogy of women’s health.2

It further indicates that many medical residents, including those in fields like internal medicine, family medicine, and obstetrics/gynecology, receive minimal education on menopause. This lack of training translates into a workforce that feels uncomfortable and unprepared to manage menopausal symptoms, perpetuating the cycle of inadequate care. The stigma of menopause, thus, not only affects societal perceptions but also infiltrates the medical community, impacting the quality of healthcare women receive.

The Women’s Health Initiative Could Be A Turning Point

The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, conducted in the early 2000s, was a pivotal moment in the understanding of menopause and hormone therapy. The study aimed to explore hormone therapy as a means for chronic disease prevention in postmenopausal women. However, its findings linked hormone therapy to increased risks of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, leading to a dramatic decline in its use. Unfortunately, the study had its flaws, primarily the age of the participants, which was not representative of the typical menopausal age group. This led to widespread fear and confusion, further complicating the landscape of menopause treatment.

Addressing the Stigma of Menopause

To tackle the stigma of menopause effectively, we must adopt a multi-faceted approach. Key to this is education, targeting both healthcare providers and the general public. We should empower women to openly share their experiences and ensure healthcare providers have the knowledge to provide effective and empathetic care.

The Path Forward: Education and Empathy

Breaking the stigma of menopause hinges on education and empathy. Women deserve to go through this life phase without feeling misunderstood or unsupported. Integrating comprehensive menopause education into healthcare training programs is important. Moreover, public health campaigns should actively work to normalize menopause, foster open conversations, and dispel myths.

The Power of Community and Support

Another critical aspect of addressing the stigma of menopause is fostering a sense of community and support. Support groups, whether online or in-person, can provide a space for women to share their experiences, learn from each other, and feel less isolated. Healthcare providers can also play a role in facilitating these support networks, offering resources and referrals to their patients.

Embracing Menopause as a Natural Stage of Life

As we continue to challenge the stigma of menopause, it’s essential to embrace it as a natural and normal stage of life. Menopause should be a time of empowerment, a period to reflect on the journey so far and look forward to the years ahead. By shifting our societal perspective from one of dread and discomfort to one of acceptance and celebration, we can transform the menopause experience for future generations.

Breaking the Silence, Building a Future

The stigma of menopause is a barrier that needs dismantling. By promoting education, encouraging open dialogue, and providing empathetic care, we can shift the narrative around menopause. It’s time to break the silence and build a future where menopause is not a whispered word, but a shared and supported experience. Let’s embrace this natural life stage with the dignity, respect, and attention it deserves.

  1. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Menopause – Symptoms and causes. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from ↩︎
  2. Barbara E. Macpherson, Naomi D. Quinton, Menopause and healthcare professional education: A scoping review, Maturitas, Volume 166, 2022, Pages 89-95, ISSN 0378-5122,
    ( ↩︎

Fenugreek: The Ancient Herb Transforming Menopause Experience for Women

Fenugreek, or Trigonella foenum-graecum L., thrives in the Mediterranean, northern Africa, and the Indian peninsula, serving as a popular herb, spice, or traditional medicine. This plant features unique trifoliate leaves and white to yellow flowers. The seeds, nestled in slender pods, steal the spotlight. Often processed into powders or extracts, these golden yellow seeds boast a rich composition of polysaccharides, essential oils, saponins, and flavonoids, positioning fenugreek as a top choice for numerous health benefits.

Fenugreek excels in aiding blood sugar control, cholesterol management, and weight regulation. It also possesses cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Additionally, it significantly benefits women’s health, particularly in managing menopause symptoms and menstrual cramps.

In the world of pharmaceuticals, fenugreek seeds are quite a big deal. They contain compounds like diosgenin and yamogenin, which are super useful for making stuff like oral contraceptives and steroid hormones. There’s also this compound called trigonelline, which acts like a plant-based estrogen, latching onto estrogen receptors in the body.

Fenugreek Benefits

When it comes to real-life benefits, fenugreek has shown some promising results. Researchers have found that fenugreek boosts sexual function in women, possibly by increasing a type of estrogen in the blood. For those dealing with painful periods, fenugreek extract has helped ease the pain and reduce symptoms like fatigue and headaches.

In postmenopausal women, taking fenugreek seed powder has been helpful in reducing hot flashes and night sweats, though it’s not quite as effective as hormone replacement therapy. A study in 2020 showed that perimenopausal women taking fenugreek extract experienced fewer hot flashes and night sweats, better sleep, and less depression1. Their hormone levels also changed in a way that suggests fenugreek might help balance hormones during menopause. So, it seems like fenugreek could be a pretty handy natural remedy for women going through these changes.

How much Fenugreek to Consume

When it comes to fenugreek seed powder, adults usually take about 5 to 10 grams a day, and they’ve done this for up to 3 years without much issue. If you’re looking at fenugreek seed extract instead, the common dose is around 0.6 to 1.2 grams per day2. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Word of caution

Fenugreek is generally considered safe when you eat it in normal food amounts. But when it comes to taking it in larger doses, like in supplements, there’s a bit of uncertainty about its safety. It’s not recommended for kids as a supplement. Some people might experience side effects like diarrhea, nausea, or other stomach issues, and in rare cases, it could cause dizziness and headaches. If you take a lot of it, there’s a chance it could lower your blood sugar too much, which isn’t good. Fenugreek may also cause allergic reactions in some individuals. There have also been instances where it has been linked to liver problems, either alone or when mixed with other herbs.

For pregnant women, it’s a no-go to use fenugreek in amounts more than what you’d normally eat. Some evidence indicates that fenugreek might increase the risk of birth defects, as observed in both animals and humans. Regarding breastfeeding, the safety of using fenugreek in amounts larger than those typically found in food remains unclear, placing it in a bit of a gray area..3


  1. Wu, T., Yue, R., He, M., & Xu, C. (2020). Effect of Fenugreek on vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women: A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 99(23), e20526. ↩︎
  2. WebMD. (n.d.). Fenugreek. Retrieved November 1, 2023, from ↩︎
  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Fenugreek,” accessed on November 1, 2023 at ↩︎

The Silent Crisis: How Menopause Symptoms Are Costing Women in the Workplace and the U.S. $1.8 Billion Annually!

In an era where women are dynamically contributing to the global workforce, a silent crisis is unfolding. Menopause symptoms are not just a personal health concern. They are significantly affecting women’s work outcomes, leading to a staggering estimated annual loss of $1.8 billion in the United States. Let’s delve into the details and understand the depth of this issue and why it’s high time to address it.

A comprehensive study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings aimed to evaluate the impact of menopause symptoms on work outcomes and assess the estimated economic impact. The study involved a survey of women aged 45 to 60 years receiving primary care at one of the four Mayo Clinic sites. Out of the 32,469 surveys sent, 5,219 responses were received, and 4,440 of these respondents, who reported current employment information, were included in the study.

Here are the key findings:

  • The mean age of the participants was 53.9 years, with the majority being White (93.0%), married (76.5%), and educated (59.3% college graduate or higher).
  • The mean total Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) score was 12.1, signifying a moderate menopause symptom burden.
  • A total of 597 women (13.4%) reported at least one adverse work outcome due to menopause symptoms.
  • 480 women (10.8%) reported missing work in the preceding 12 months, with a median of 3 days missed.
  • Women in the highest quartile of total MRS scores were 15.6 times more likely to have an adverse work outcome compared to those in the first quartile.

This revelation demands immediate attention and action from employers, healthcare providers, and policymakers.

The Personal and Economic Toll

The study’s findings underscore the significant adversity faced by women experiencing menopause symptoms while working. With 13.4% reporting at least one adverse work outcome due to these symptoms, the personal distress is palpable. Beyond the individual, the ripple effect on the economy is substantial, evidenced by the estimated $1.8 billion annual loss due to missed workdays. This is not just a women’s issue; it’s an economic and societal concern that warrants a collective response.

Employers’ Role

Employers stand at the forefront of initiating change. It is imperative to foster a supportive work environment that acknowledges and addresses the challenges faced by women undergoing menopause. Flexible work schedules, access to medical support, and awareness programs can make a significant difference. Employers must recognize the value of retaining experienced, skilled women in the workforce and invest in their well-being.

Enhancing Support and Treatment

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in offering comprehensive care and support to women navigating menopause. Improved medical treatments, mental health support, and holistic wellness programs are essential. Providers must work in tandem with employers to ensure seamless access to necessary healthcare resources within the workplace.

Policymakers: Crafting Inclusive Policies

The onus is also on policymakers to craft and implement policies that safeguard the rights and well-being of women experiencing menopause. Legislation should mandate workplace accommodations and support, ensuring that women do not have to choose between their health and their careers.

A Collective Leap Forward

Addressing the impact of menopause symptoms on women in the workplace and the economy is not a task for one sector alone. It requires a cohesive, multi-faceted approach involving employers, healthcare providers, and policymakers. As we shed light on this silent crisis, let us also be the beacon of change, ensuring that every woman is supported, valued, and empowered in the workplace, irrespective of her life stage. The time to act is now. Together, let’s pave the path for a more inclusive, supportive, and thriving work environment for all.

Reference: Faubion, S. S., Enders, F., Hedges, M. S., Chaudhry, R., Kling, J. M., Shufelt, C. L., … & Griffin, J. M. (2023). Impact of Menopause Symptoms on Women in the Workplace. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 98(6), 833-845.

Why Exercise is the New Game-Changer Against Osteoporosis Among Postmenopausal Women

In this blog post, we will discuss about something so important but often pushed to the side – osteoporosis. It’s common in postmenopausal women. Traditionally, the frontline defense against osteoporosis has been medication aimed at enhancing bone density. However, this approach has its limitations as it overlooks critical factors such as muscle strength and balance, which play a pivotal role in preventing falls and subsequent fractures.

Now, the cool thing is, instead of just focusing on bone strength, there’s a move towards a full-body workout. Think of it as an all-in-one package to keep those bones safe and sound. And guess what? Exercise is the star player here. It’s not just about avoiding breaks; it’s about making sure our bones are in top shape, especially for postmenopausal ladies.

Here’s a shocker – about 30% of postmenopausal women in Europe and the US have osteoporosis. And a lot of them are dealing with broken bones. Sure, meds can help, but they’re not a magic fix. They don’t tackle everything that can lead to a fall.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, it’s time to rethink how we prevent osteoporosis. We gotta be proactive, making exercise a must-do in our daily lives to strengthen both our bones and muscles, paving the way for a healthier future. It’s all about more than just managing; it’s about actively preventing osteoporosis with a solid workout plan.

The Exercise Essentials for Stronger Bones

Our bones are pretty smart; they adapt to changes and pressures, tweaking their mass and strength to keep us sturdy and fracture-free. But how do we make sure our bones are getting the right kind of workout to stay strong?

Let’s break it down with some principles that experts swear by:

  1. Specificity is Key: It’s all about targeted exercises that focus on the most fracture-prone areas: the hip, spine, and wrist. Think of exercises that directly or indirectly put pressure on these areas, helping them build strength over time.
  2. Progressive Overload: This is a fancy way of saying that your bones need more than just everyday activities. The exercises should be a bit challenging, pushing your bones to adapt and become stronger. It’s like leveling up in a video game but for your bones!
  3. Use It or Lose It: Sadly, the gains you make can reverse if you stop exercising. The golden question here is, what’s the minimum exercise needed to keep the gains? While the jury is still out on this, some suggest at least two sessions per week could do the trick.
  4. Starting Point Matters: If you’re starting with a lower bone density, you have a chance to see more significant improvements. But remember, it’s all about the right kind of exercises that challenge your bones enough to adapt, no matter your starting point.
  5. Diminishing Returns: Initially, your bones will respond well to the new exercise routine, but over time the benefits might slow down. The trick here is to keep mixing it up, keeping it challenging to ensure continuous improvement.

The Ultimate Guide to Osteoporosis Prevention for Postmenopausal Women

While exercise is generally recommended to maintain bone health, not all exercises are created equal. Let’s delve into the various forms of exercise and their effectiveness in preventing osteoporosis.

Walking and Aerobic Exercises

While walking, cycling, and swimming are great for your heart, they might not be your best bet for bone health. These low-impact activities don’t exert enough strain on the bones to foster significant improvements. However, water-based exercises have shown some promise in reducing age-related bone loss, albeit more research is needed to substantiate these findings.

Brisk walking, especially when combined with activities like jogging and stair climbing, can offer some protection against bone loss. However, it comes with a caveat: it might increase the risk of falls and fractures, particularly in sedentary or frail elderly individuals.

Progressive Resistance Training (PRT)

PRT stands tall as a recommended strategy to maintain or even increase Bone Mineral Density (BMD) in postmenopausal women. This training involves a range of activities that put diverse strains on bones, helping in muscle mass and strength improvement. However, the effectiveness of PRT on hip and spine BMD has mixed evidence, urging for a well-planned training regimen that progressively targets large muscles.

High-Velocity Power Training

As we age, our muscle power tends to decrease faster than muscle mass and strength. High-velocity power training, which focuses on rapid muscle contractions, has emerged as a promising approach to optimize bone health. Initial studies have shown its effectiveness in maintaining hip and lumbar spine BMD, besides improving functional performance in older adults.

Weight-Bearing Impact Exercise

This involves short bouts of exercises with moderate to high magnitude loads, promoting bone health in older adults. However, the results are mixed, with some studies showing benefits while others do not. The effectiveness might be influenced by various factors including the type of exercises and the individual’s hormonal levels.

Multi-Modal Exercise Training

Multi-modal programs, which integrate different exercise modalities like weight-bearing activities and balance training, are currently recommended for osteoporosis prevention. These programs have shown positive effects on skeletal and fall-related risk factors, enhancing muscle strength and balance.

Exploring Other Modes

While Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates are popular, their long-term benefits on BMD in postmenopausal women are not well substantiated through research. Another emerging trend is Whole Body Vibration training (WBV), which, despite its popularity, has not consistently proven to be beneficial for bone health, raising concerns regarding its safety and efficacy.

Tailoring Your Exercise Regimen

In light of the mixed findings, it is evident that one-size-fits-all doesn’t apply here. It is crucial to tailor an exercise regimen based on individual health conditions and risk factors. Moreover, safety should be a priority, especially for people with severe osteoporosis or other comorbidities.

Preventing osteoporosis involves a multifaceted approach, integrating various exercise modalities to foster bone health. While the journey to finding the most effective exercise regimen continues, incorporating a mix of resistance training, high-velocity power training, and weight-bearing exercises seems to be a step in the right direction. Remember, it’s never too late to start, but always consult with a healthcare provider to design a regimen that suits you best. Stay active, stay healthy!

What the Menopause Journey Looks Like for Working Women

More women are working now than ever before, especially in countries that are part of the Organization for Economic and Commercial Development (OECD), where 60% of women have jobs. Many women are also returning to work later in life or working full-time throughout their careers. With policies pushing people to work longer, more women will be working during their menopause years, which typically happens between 45-55. While not all women have symptoms, some can have severe ones that affect their work.

Recent studies show that women with intense menopausal symptoms might take more sick days, lose productivity, or even think about quitting their jobs. Different symptoms can affect work differently. For instance, mood swings might affect job performance more than hot flashes. However, there’s not much research on how menopause affects women in different jobs.

A  a cross-sectional study called Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) surveyed women aged 50-64 across England. They focused on 409 women who started menopause in the last 10 years and were working. About 27% said menopause made work a bit challenging. The top symptoms? Hot flashes (91.7%), sleep issues (68.2%), mood swings (63.6%), and urinary problems (49.1%). So, menopause can be a bit of a work hurdle for many women out there.

What Does the Data Mean to Working Women in the Menopausal Stage?

Alright, let’s break it down:

For working women, the HEAF study highlights that menopause isn’t just a personal experience; it’s something that can significantly affect their professional lives too. Here’s what it means:

  1. You’re Not Alone: If you’re a working woman going through menopause and finding it tough to cope at work, you’re not the only one. About a third of the women in the study felt the same way.
  2. It’s Not About the Job: Whether you’re in a high-powered executive role or a more hands-on job, the type of work doesn’t seem to be the main factor affecting how you cope with menopausal symptoms. It’s more about individual experiences and circumstances.
  3. Work Environment Matters: Feeling insecure, unappreciated, or stressed at work can make coping with menopausal symptoms even harder. So, a supportive work environment can make a big difference.
  4. Financial Stress Plays a Role: Women who are already dealing with financial pressures or have dependents relying on them might find it harder to manage their symptoms at work.
  5. HRT Can Help, But Access Varies: Hormone Replacement Therapy can be a game-changer for some women, but not everyone has equal access to it. Your financial or educational background might play a role in whether you get it.
  6. Speak Up: Given the impact of menopause on work, it’s essential for employers to be aware and supportive. If you’re struggling, it might be worth having a chat with HR or your manager about what adjustments could help.

The Dual Power of Black Cohosh and St. John’s Wort in Alleviating Menopausal Symptoms and Boosting Heart Health

A study1 published at the National Library of Medicine focused on the effects of two natural herbs, black cohosh and St. John’s wort, on symptoms commonly experienced by women during menopause, often referred to as climacteric symptoms. These symptoms can include hot flashes, mood swings, and other physical and emotional changes. Traditionally, women have turned to hormone therapy to manage these symptoms. However, concerns about potential side effects, like an increased risk of breast cancer, have led many to seek natural alternatives.

In this research, 89 women going through menopause were divided into two groups. One group was given a combination of black cohosh and St. John’s wort, while the other received a placebo, which is essentially a sugar pill with no therapeutic effect. The study lasted for 12 weeks, and the women’s symptoms were regularly assessed using a standard measure called the Kupperman Index.

The results were promising. Women who took the herbal combination reported a significant reduction in their menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes, compared to those on the placebo. Additionally, there was an interesting observation related to cholesterol. The “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels in the herb-taking group slightly increased, which is a positive sign for heart health.

In simple terms, the combination of black cohosh and St. John’s wort seems to offer relief from menopausal symptoms and might even have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. This suggests that these herbs could be a natural alternative for women seeking relief from menopausal symptoms without resorting to traditional hormone therapy. However, as with all treatments, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions.

What does this study mean for women?

This study offers valuable insights for women and their families, especially those going through menopause and experiencing its associated symptoms:

  1. Natural Alternatives: The research suggests that there are potential natural alternatives to hormone therapy for managing menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh and St. John’s wort, when combined, appear to effectively reduce common symptoms like hot flashes.
  2. Safety Concerns: Many women have been hesitant to use hormone therapy due to associated risks, such as an increased chance of breast cancer. The combination of black cohosh and St. John’s wort might provide a safer option for those looking for relief without the potential side effects of hormone treatments.
  3. Heart Health Benefits: Beyond just alleviating menopausal symptoms, the study indicates that this herbal combination might have a positive impact on heart health. The increase in “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels in women taking the herbs is a promising sign, as higher HDL levels are generally associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  4. Holistic Approach: The study also underscores the importance of considering both physical and psychological aspects of menopause. St. John’s wort, traditionally used for mild to moderate depression, addresses the emotional and mood-related symptoms that many women experience during this phase.
  5. Further Research Needed: While the results are promising, it’s essential to note that more extensive studies are needed to confirm these findings and understand any long-term effects fully.

For women (and their families) navigating the challenges of menopause, this study offers hope for a natural, potentially safer way to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. However, it’s always crucial for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals before starting any new treatment or therapy.

1Chung DJ, Kim HY, Park KH, Jeong KA, Lee SK, Lee YI, Hur SE, Cho MS, Lee BS, Bai SW, Kim CM, Cho SH, Hwang JY, Park JH. Black cohosh and St. John’s wort (GYNO-Plus) for climacteric symptoms. Yonsei Med J. 2007 Apr 30;48(2):289-94. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2007.48.2.289. PMID: 17461529; PMCID: PMC2628120. | Copyright © 2007 The Yonsei University College of Medicine

Understanding Menopause Through Men’s Eyes: Unveiling the Unspoken

When we talk about menopause, the discussion often revolves around women – their experiences, challenges, and treatments. But how much do men know about this transition in their partners’ lives? A 2019 study published in the National Library of Medicine delved into the understanding and perceptions men have regarding menopause and its implications on their relationships.

Survey: Men’s Take on Menopause

To get a deeper insight into how men perceive menopause, an online survey1 was conducted. The questionnaire included 35 questions tailored to understand men’s attitudes and knowledge about this phase in a woman’s life.

Criteria for Participation: Men whose female partners, aged between 45-64 years, displayed at least one menopause-related symptom like hot flashes, sleeplessness, or mood swings. For context, the couples either shared a home or spent significant time together, at least a couple of times a week.

Key Takeaways From the Study

  • Who Took Part? Out of 1,356 eligible participants, 450 took the survey. A significant number of them were aged between 50-69 years, predominantly married, and lived full-time with their partners.
  • Awareness Levels: The data revealed that men are quite in tune with the symptoms their partners experience. Sleep disturbances and lack of energy were frequently recognized. Interestingly, these symptoms were often attributed to either menopause or the natural aging process.
  • Impact on Relationships: For men who noticed these symptoms in their partners, many felt they had a negative influence on themselves, their partners, and their relationships overall.
  • Open Communication: Most men weren’t silent observers. A majority (72%) engaged in conversations with their partners about these changes. Moreover, they believed that their opinion played a significant role (75%) when their partners contemplated treatment or lifestyle changes.

What Does This Mean?

This study showcases that men are not just bystanders during their partner’s menopausal transition. They observe, they understand, and they even influence treatment decisions. However, there’s a need to amplify men’s knowledge about menopause and available treatment interventions. Providing more education on the topic can lead to better understanding, empathy, and support.

Video Summary:

At the beginning of the video2, Dr. Sharon Parrish introduced a newly published survey on men’s perceptions and attitudes toward menopause. She emphasized the importance of understanding the male partner’s perspective, as they can offer valuable insights into the impact of menopausal symptoms both on the woman experiencing them and the man himself.

Dr. Parrish noted that past research has mostly focused on the woman’s perspective, leaving a gap in knowledge regarding the male viewpoint. There were some studies that looked into the male partners of menopausal women either individually or alongside their partners, but these were smaller and didn’t cover as much ground.

This recent study, named the MATE survey (Men’s Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Menopause), stood out. It was a comprehensive study targeting male partners of women undergoing menopause. Over 1,300 men were given a 35-question online survey, and around a third responded.

The primary aim of the survey was to gauge men’s awareness of their partner’s menopausal symptoms and to see if they played a role in influencing decisions about symptom management. If it was found that men were indeed influential in such decisions, then creating educational programs tailored for them could potentially benefit both partners by enhancing understanding of menopausal symptoms and treatment options.

The survey was wide-ranging in its approach. Men identified their partners’ menopausal symptoms and described how these symptoms affected them, their partners, and their relationship as a whole. The survey also asked about their communication and support strategies during this transitional period.

One significant finding was the majority of male respondents expressed comfort in discussing treatment options with their partners. Specifically, 65% of the respondents were open to such discussions, and a whopping 75% felt they could be influential in helping their partners make lifestyle changes or seek treatment for their menopausal symptoms.

Based on these findings, Dr. Parrish advocated for a shift in how we educate about menopausal symptom treatments. The results highlight that men in relationships with menopausal women are actively communicating with their partners about these symptoms. Their involvement and influence in discussions and decisions related to treatment can be pivotal.

Conclusively, Dr. Parrish emphasized that there exists an untapped opportunity. By educating men about menopause, they are better equipped to support their partners, offering more informed opinions on symptom management. This, in turn, could encourage more women to seek treatments, leading to better outcomes for menopausal women and their partners.

1Parish SJ, Faubion SS, Weinberg M, Bernick B, Mirkin S. The MATE survey: men’s perceptions and attitudes towards menopause and their role in partners’ menopausal transition. Menopause. 2019 Oct;26(10):1110-1116. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001373. PMID: 31188286; PMCID: PMC6791510.

2The video above is published under Supplementary Materials, Supplemental Digital Content, (39M) | GUID: 769B9ED7-81D6-42AD-95B7-1842B2A7D099

Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The North American Menopause Society.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Unraveling the Link Between Menopause and Abdominal Weight Gain

The Pathogenesis of Body Composition Changes at Menopause

During menopause, there are a number of changes that occur in a woman’s body, including changes in hormone levels, body composition, and energy expenditure.

One of the most significant changes that occurs at menopause is a decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that plays a number of important roles in the body, including regulating metabolism and fat storage. When estrogen levels decline, it can lead to changes in body composition, including a decrease in fat-free mass (muscle and bone tissue) and an increase in fat mass.

Another change that occurs at menopause is an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. FSH is a hormone that helps to regulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. When estrogen levels decline, FSH levels rise. This can also lead to changes in metabolism and fat storage, which can contribute to weight gain.

In addition to changes in hormone levels, menopause can also lead to changes in energy expenditure and spontaneous activity. Energy expenditure is the amount of energy that the body uses to maintain its basic functions. Spontaneous activity is the amount of activity that is done without any conscious effort, such as fidgeting or walking around. Both energy expenditure and spontaneous activity tend to decrease after menopause, which can contribute to weight gain.

A study published by Journal of Mid-life Health1 suggests that women gain an average of 1-2 pounds per year after menopause. Other studies have found that women gain as much as 10-15 pounds during this time. Below are some of the highlights from the study:

What Causes Menopause-Related Weight Gain?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to menopause-related weight gain. One factor is the decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that helps to regulate metabolism and fat storage. When estrogen levels decline, it can lead to changes in body composition, including a decrease in fat-free mass (muscle and bone tissue) and an increase in fat mass.

Another factor that can contribute to menopause-related weight gain is the increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. FSH is a hormone that helps to regulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. When estrogen levels decline, FSH levels rise. This can lead to changes in metabolism and fat storage, which can contribute to weight gain.

How Can I Prevent Menopause-Related Weight Gain?

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent menopause-related weight gain. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that is low in calories and fat can help you to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercising regularly: Exercise can help you to burn calories and build muscle, both of which can help you to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Getting enough sleep: Getting enough sleep can help to regulate your metabolism and reduce your risk of weight gain.
  • Managing stress: Stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can help you to avoid weight gain.

If you are concerned about menopause-related weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can help you to develop a personalized plan to help you lose weight and keep it off.

What Else Should I Know?

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a few other things that you should know about menopause-related weight gain.

  • Weight gain is more likely to occur in women who have a family history of obesity.
  • Weight gain is also more likely to occur in women who are sedentary and who have unhealthy eating habits.
  • Weight gain can be more difficult to lose after menopause, so it is important to start making healthy lifestyle changes early.

Here’s something to think about: women going through menopause who are overweight tend to have a tougher time with symptoms. Losing weight can boost their mood, self-worth, and overall well-being. And when it comes to intimacy, some studies suggest that obesity can affect satisfaction and function. It’s also worth noting that how we feel about our bodies can deeply impact our mental health. If you are concerned about menopause-related weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can help you to develop a personalized plan to help you lose weight and keep it off.

1 Fenton, Anna. Weight, Shape, and Body Composition Changes at Menopause. Journal of Mid-life Health 12(3):p 187-192, Jul–Sep 2021. | DOI: 10.4103/jmh.jmh_123_21

NAMS Published Position Statement on Non-Hormonal Approaches to Manage Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has released its most recent stance on non-hormonal remedies for symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. The statement was made public online on June 1, 2023, in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, under the title “The 2023 nonhormone therapy position statement of The North American Menopause Society.”

As hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) is not an option for some women, while others opt for non-hormonal methods, the NAMS orchestrated a panel of experts to conduct an extensive evaluation of the latest studies on non-hormonal remedies for hot flashes. This panel, comprising medical practitioners and researchers who specialize in non-hormonal medical treatments, herbal remedies, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes, meticulously scrutinized research materials published since 2015. Their compiled report advocates an array of non-hormonal interventions for easing hot flashes.

One such intervention is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which aims at transforming thought processes and behavioral patterns to assist individuals in effectively managing various issues. Research indicates that CBT can alter women’s perception of hot flashes, making them seem less problematic.

Another viable option is Clinical Hypnosis, a mind-body intervention that enables individuals to achieve a highly relaxed yet alert state, facilitating life changes through mental visualization and suggestion. This therapy has been proven to effectively manage pain and anxiety, and studies demonstrate its efficacy in reducing both the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

Furthermore, weight reduction, especially during the onset of menopause, has been linked to a decrease in the number and intensity of hot flashes in some women.

In addition, certain antidepressants, specifically Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), have been associated with slight to moderate improvements in hot flashes. Notable SSRIs include Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Paxil (paroxetine), with the latter having an FDA-approved low-dose variant branded as Brisdelle specifically for hot flashes. Prominent SNRIs encompass Cymbalta (duloxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), and Savella (milnacipran). Moreover, Gabapentin, typically prescribed for epilepsy and diabetes-related nerve pain, has shown promise in diminishing the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

Another medication, Oxybutynin, used primarily for managing overactive bladder syndrome, has demonstrated efficacy in mitigating moderate to severe hot flashes. However, caution is advised for prolonged use, particularly among the elderly, as it has been linked to cognitive decline.

Recently in 2023, the FDA approved Veozah (fezolinetant) specifically for treating hot flashes. Stellate ganglion blockade, or nerve block, may also relieve moderate to extremely severe hot flashes.

However, the panel did not recommend several therapies including paced respiration, herbal supplements, exercise, yoga, soy products, cannabis, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, dietary modifications, clonidine, Lyrica, cooling methods, and avoiding certain triggers.

Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt, a women’s health specialist at the Mayo Clinic and the chair of the advisory panel, highlighted the significance of the position statement, stating that it will empower healthcare professionals to competently direct women towards efficacious non-hormonal therapies while discouraging the use of unsuitable or ineffective ones.

For individuals with a history of breast cancer seeking non-hormonal hot flash treatments, this position statement provides an array of alternatives. It is advisable to bring this statement to your healthcare provider to explore the options that best cater to your specific needs.

Note: NAMS is a multi-disciplinary association, bringing together professionals from diverse fields such as medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, epidemiology, and pharmacy, among others. The society strives to enhance the health and lifestyle of women during their midlife and beyond by fostering an understanding of menopause and promoting healthy aging.

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