According to renowned gynecologist Dr. Lauren Streicher, every woman will go through menopause around the age of 51. And while many of us are aware of the symptoms of menopause, most of us don’t know much about postmenopause symptoms which are very different. It doesn’t help that this isn’t a topic that many women feel comfortable talking about, but fortunately Dr. Streicher and Michelle King Robson of EmpowHer.com are looking to change that. They were kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss menopause and postmenopause symptoms, treatment options and more!
Candace Rose: Even though every woman will go through menopause and postmenopause, why are these topics so difficult to discuss?
Dr. Lauren Streicher: You’re right, every woman does go through menopause, usually around the age of 51 is when women start to experience menopause symptoms. But this is one of those taboo topics much like talking about sexual health or aging, people just don’t voice it. They don’t bring it up, they don’t talk to their girlfriends, they don’t talk to their partners or their spouses and sadly they don’t talk to their doctor about it, which is why Michelle and I are here on behalf of Pfizer because we think this is a really important conversation for women to have, so that they’re aware not only of menopause symptoms, but also postmenopause symptoms which are very different.”
Candace Rose: Most of us are familiar with the symptoms of menopause, but tell us about the symptoms associated with postmenopause.
Dr. Lauren Streicher: “I think if you went up to any woman and said ‘When you go through menopause, what do you think is going to happen?’ And she’ll sit there and say ‘Yeah, hot flashes, insomnia and maybe I won’t be able to remember why I walked into a room.’ But postmenopause which is two or three years after someone has stopped making estrogen, there are actual physical changes. The medical term is vaginal atrophy, and what this is is the tissue becomes so dry that the women experience burning, itching and pain. It’s the kind of pain that some women aren’t even able to have intercourse. But beyond that there’s also bladder issues that women don’t associate with a lack of estrogen, things like that urgency, that gotta go feeling that they have or painful urination. So because women aren’t aware that this is a consequence of a lack of estrogen or that there’s a solution, they don’t bring it up to their doctor.
There are a number of solutions, one FDA solution that many women are not aware of Estring. This is a flexible soft ring that a woman places in her vagina, and it stays there for three months. She doesn’t have to think about it or do anything every day. It slowly releases a small amount of estradiol, which is a hormone that women make before they go through menopause. And as a result of having that estradiol, those symptoms can be alleviated- that itching, the urgency, all of that. This is a prescription medication, she does have to have that conversation with her doctor to see if she’s a candidate like any prescription medication. Like any medication, there’s potential risks along with the benefits, so she needs to see if she’s a good candidate. Like any prescription medication, if she experiences anything unusual- chest pain, new breast lump, vaginal bleeding- she needs to continue to have a dialogue.
The major reason that Michelle and I are here today is because we want to emphasize that so many women experience these symptoms, they just think it’s a normal part of aging. They don’t realize that there’s a solution, and we just feel like the more information we can get out there, the better chance women are actually going to be able to do something which can improve their quality of life.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you both so much. Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Lauren Streicher: “Estring.com if you want more information about postmenopause symptoms and solutions.”
Michelle King Robson: “EmpowHer.com for women’s health online.”