If you’ve noticed a surge in menopause headlines in recent months, you’re catching on to a cultural shift when it comes to our relationship with menopause. If you are a woman or person with ovaries, you’re probably familiar with the hormonal transition known as menopause, but our healthcare system is still catching up. Most physicians aren’t trained to manage menopause and the scarcity of menopause-specific provider support can leave those in this phase of life feeling unseen and unprepared.
An estimated 6,000 women reach menopause every day in the U.S. What’s more, with increasing life spans, 30-40% of women’s lives are spent in the various phases of menopause. Wide-ranging symptoms, due to the normal decline in reproductive hormones, often begin during perimenopause in your 40s – when you may be in the middle of critical stages of career, and relationship or family building. Surgery, chronic conditions, racial disparities and genetic factors can also trigger menopause symptoms much earlier. This creates a striking need for specialized care and an individualized approach that’s largely missing in our current healthcare system.
New York Time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Susan Dominus puts it best in an episode of The Daily: “At a time when we have the right to feel seasoned, women are thrust into the role of newbie, or worse, medical detective, in charge of solving our own problems.”
Menopause care has some catching up to do
Cultural baggage, ageism and a history of taboo are among the many reasons for the lack of public knowledge regarding women’s health in midlife. Menopausal symptoms span far beyond hot flashes, and hormonal changes influence a wide variety of risk factors for chronic conditions. Considering the large range of symptoms that could land you in several specialist’s offices, it comes as no surprise that 75% of women aged 40 to 65 aren’t getting the right treatment for their needs.
The issue is magnified by the lack of available trained experts. In the United States, less than half of all counties have general OB-GYN coverage. That itself is an alarming statistic, but the problem becomes worse when recognizing that only 6.8% of primary care residents (including OBGYN, internal medicine and family medicine) report feeling adequately trained to manage menopause, according to a Mayo Clinic survey.
Finally, menopause benefits are here
At Progyny, we see the menopause factor as a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to supporting women across life’s milestones. By bringing together 50-state access to a specialized menopause network, including leading providers Midi Health and Gennev, we ensure access to inclusive and outcomes-focused care. Menopause care is interdisciplinary, and includes support for nutrition, sleep, mental health, screenings for chronic conditions with appropriately tailored treatments, when indicated, ranging from positive lifestyle guidance to hormone and non-hormonal medications. The intensity of menopause symptoms can vary, and proactively connecting the dots with integrative care is key. Progyny makes this necessary step accessible by connecting you with care in days, rather than months. As we continue to have “the menopause talk” within and outside the workplace, we understand that the best benefits don’t just provide treatment, but also understanding, management and celebration of life’s key transitions.
Dr. Janet Choi is a highly ranked board-certified REI, bringing over two decades of clinical expertise in fertility and family building. Dr. Choi has published and lectured extensively on infertility, onco-fertility, and fertility preservation. She is a member of ASRM, ACOG, and the NY Obstetrical Society. She earned her medical degree and completed her residency at Columbia University and completed her REI fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College.