(BPT) – Fifty is a major milestone in a woman’s life: from physical changes, to becoming an empty-nester, to new homes or careers, it can be a time to re-focus on one’s self and gain a new sense of freedom. During this time, one change that women may not anticipate is postmenopause.
“Until recently, I was unaware that many women are uncomfortable or embarrassed to discuss symptoms of postmenopause, and therefore, suffer in silence,” says Emmy-nominated actress Brenda Strong, who is known for her roles on Desperate Housewives and Dallas. “That’s why I welcomed the opportunity to work with Pfizer on the Let’s Talk About Change campaign to help transform the way we think and talk about postmenopause and empower women to take action to find relief.”
As part of the “Let’s Talk About Change” campaign, Strong is featured in the short video, “The Other Talk,” which uses humor to help raise awareness about the symptoms that occur during menopause and postmenopause. Strong encourages women to change the conversation about women’s sexual health and postmenopause, and start an open and honest dialogue about what they’re experiencing.
She also encourages women to take the following steps to help manage the physical changes that happen after menopause and change their mindset about aging and postmenopause.
Learn the facts about symptoms
Menopause is a time of natural change in a woman’s life when her body stops producing estrogen, typically around age 51. While most postmenopausal women are aware of hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, fewer have heard of the symptoms of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy, which include vaginal burning, itching and dryness, increased urgency in urination and painful sexual intercourse.
With the average age of menopause at 51, women living into their 80s are living nearly one-third of their lives in postmenopause. There are many ways to manage symptoms, including medications and lifestyle changes.
Start open and honest conversations
These changes are perfectly normal, and in fact, at least one-third of women experience some vaginal symptoms after menopause. Women should be open and honest with their partner and describe their symptoms in detail with a healthcare professional to find the treatment that’s best for them.
“It’s important to remember vaginal atrophy is a treatable, medical condition and women don’t need to suffer in silence,” says Dr. Michelle Warren, NAMS certified menopause practitioner and founder and medical director at the Center for Menopause, Hormonal Disorders and Women’s Health in New York City. “Don’t wait – if you’re experiencing postmenopausal symptoms you should have a conversation with your partner so they understand what you’re experiencing and talk to a healthcare professional to find the treatment you need.”
Keep a sense of humor
Postmenopause is a normal, natural event – not a disease or life-threatening condition, so why not have a little fun with it? Laughter has been shown to be a form of stress relief and may help improve one’s mood and well-being. Everyone has moments when they feel embarrassed or self-conscious, but laughing can help turn a negative into a positive.
To watch and share the funny video, “The Other Talk,” visit www.YouTube.com/LetsTalkAboutChange. Tips for women to get the conversation started with their doctor and partner as well as more information about postmenopause, visit: www.LetsTalkAboutChange.com.
The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a healthcare provider. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a healthcare provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient. The information provided is intended only for residents of the United States.