I love the topic of menopause even though I have a personal love-hate relationship with it. I’m a post-menopausal dermatologist who has been blessed with the pleasure of enjoying the descending hormone ride twice, the first with my own natural menopause and the second with a surgical encore thanks to my BRCA gene mutation revelation at 55 . Recently, I was asked about what to say and what not to say to a woman going through menopause. Oh my! Where do I even start? Get ready, because this is going to be fun, readers!
I have my own experiences, and I also stand by with many thousands of post-menopausal women facing the dermatologic consequences of skin that is now an estrogen-free zone. For better or worse, I consider myself a menopause pro at this point since I’ve seen and dealt with a lot.
Menopause is not easy. It’s never the same, and those facts will inform you about what to say to a woman who is traversing it because it could be a good day or a bad day. Between sleep deprivation, the physical and psychological adjustment, the plummeting hormones, and fallout from the impact it’s having on recent relationships – you need to tread gingerly at first out of kindness.
What You Should Say
- Personal weather? I’ve had that.
- It takes a village, no doubt! Thank goodness there are a lot of us talking about it now days, as I can’t imagine doing this silently alone.
Then you let her make the next move to talk or not.
What You Should NOT Say
- You’ll get through it.
- Just take the hormones.
- Mine was easy.
Just in my career, the medical profession has come a long way in terms of how it supports women in menopause – thank goodness! Did you know that one of the most common post-menopausal skin changes women face was given the patronizing name in the last century as “keratoderma climactericum”? “Climactericum” because menopause signifies we have passed beyond the “climax” of our life. In other words, it’s downhill to the glue factory for us. It takes a village just to sedate me when I think about how far we have come!
These recommendations aren’t complicated, but they are sensitive to the needs women have. So, gals (and guys), what have you heard that raises your hackles or that actually works? I love the topic! Please tell us in the comments below.
Oh, and what to do for keratoderma climactericum? That’s why I made my Rough Feet Skin Remover Kit – it’s to keep our feet soft while we get on with changing the world after our “climax!” (They’ll never see us coming, although our super cute sandals might give us away.)