Menopause Out Loud is a part of the IAWH Embracing Life's Evolution Project, which includes two primary focus areas: menopause and caregiving. The relationship between these topics during the middle- to late adulthood impacts our health and wellbeing.
IAWH is raising the bar on discussions about menopause by connecting the dots between when a woman transitions to menopause and when they are most needed to provide care for themselves, a friend, or a loved one. Most people provide care out of love, but the number of tasks, appointments, and commitments related to delivering care for them and ourselves, increases the stress a woman experiences. Naturally, when these events happen simultaneously, they can impact a woman's health and wellbeing.
Additionally, menopause - a significant reproductive health issue and stage in a woman's life cycle – may raise risks for specific health problems. According to the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), planning for lifestyle changes, including nutrition and exercise, can help enhance women's health during menopause. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health adds that low estrogen levels and other changes related to aging (like gaining weight) can raise your risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.
In early 2022, IAWH invited 12 women of various ethnicities between 30 and 85 from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia to help design a future 2022 event around menopause. Each woman contributed information about their lived experience, lifestyle, and preferences to help guide topics about the menopause conversation.
Each woman's experience with menopause is different. Some women report no physical changes during perimenopause except irregular menstrual periods that stop when she reaches menopause. Other women experience hot flashes, night sweats (heavy sweating from hot flashes at night, often disturbing sleep), and thinning and drying of vaginal tissue that can make sex painful. How severe these body changes occur varies from woman to woman, but for the most part, these changes are perfectly natural and normal. Yet we often don't seek help or are not referred by our health care professionals for treatment and services that can help manage our symptoms.
The IAWH Menopause Out Loud initiative will bring relevant and regular content to you. We seek additional feedback from women like you to assure that we are all "going through strong" and to affirm our choices of professionals that come to our table to speak to you. IAWH will hopefully show all women that they are not alone on their menopause journey.
The Menopause Out Loud [questionnaire] is available from August-September 2022. We will gather your questions, thoughts, attitudes, and experiences related to menopause to bring more voices and perspectives to the events of this initiative. Your "lived experience" is what helps change all our lives. Please add your voice to the Menopause Out Loud conversation.