Menopause was once a life stage of secrecy and mystery – whispered ‘women’s-only’ business – but thanks to more research and greater awareness, today’s midlife women can have a different experience to those of previous generations.

The experience of menopause, while sometimes challenging, can also be a positive one; an opportunity to look to the future and what’s ahead.

Menopause often adds another layer of complexity to women’s lives. It brings challenges and changes, and for some women it can also be an empowering and exciting time. Menopause can give women a chance to reassess their lives and health – work out what changes, if any, they need to make and begin the next phase of their life on their own terms.

Certainly, many women are impacted by symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, increased anxiety or poor sleep. So, it’s important for women to know that help and support is available if they need it.

While many women do get bothersome and sometimes severe symptoms of menopause, it can also be a “positive turning point” in women’s lives.

Women today can often feel liberated and more confident in this phase, and some women just love not having to deal with their monthly periods.

Menopause as an experience today is not just about looking back; it’s actually a great opportunity to look to the future and set yourself up for good health in later life. When we talk to our patients about menopause, we’re not just talking about hormones – we look at all the other parts of their lives and health as well; heart health, bone health, mental and emotional health, their libido and sex life.

Here are some ways to help you make the most of your menopause:

Empower yourself with the knowledge that menopause is normal and natural.

Get the right advice. If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, see your OBGYN.

Communicate openly and honestly with those around you. Menopause doesn’t need to be a silent, lonely experience. If you feel comfortable, speak about your experiences (whether they are positive or negative) with your friends, family and colleagues. Your own stories may also help other women who are struggling alone with their midlife changes.

Share but don’t compare. Menopause is an individual experience for every woman. So share your stories with your friends – shout them from the rooftops if you want! – but don’t compare your menopause with your best friend’s, or think that the advice that they received from their doctor also applies to you.

Even if you’re breezing through menopause, put your health on the agenda and make an appointment with your OBGYN. The hormonal changes that come with menopause have an effect on other areas of your health, such as your heart health and bone health.

Focus on the ‘pause’ in menopause and take some time out for you. Think about what you want from the next phase of your life, what’s important for you and how you can achieve your goals. Consider talking to a counsellor or psychologist if you need help with this.

Learn more about menopause and how to manage midlife changes by calling Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates in Grosse Pointe, 313-277-0300, located at 16815 E. Jefferson Ave. Suite 201, Grosse Pointe, MI 48230 or visit our website at www.obgassociates.com