Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 4.35.39 PMSeptember is national menopause awareness month. Thanks to the Internet and determined women’s health bloggers everywhere, menopause awareness month is rapidly becoming as popular as breast cancer awareness, and other important women-related health issues.

What you might not know, however, is that the FDA first implemented the nationwide campaign in 2004, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The goal was to raise awareness about the resources available to the millions of women going through menopause; and to provide helpful information regarding the benefits and the risks of hormone therapy.

As one of those women health bloggers, I’m always appreciative of any and all efforts that bring attention to menopause. Educating women in order to increase their understanding of the experience of menopause, what treatments are available, and to help them make informed decisions regarding their health is always a worthy endeavor indeed. Ageology physicians, such as Dr. John Kocka and Dr. Paul Savage, believe that drugs are no longer the only option for women looking to reduce the psychological symptoms of menopause. They provide their female patients with information on alternative treatments and therapies to help manage the mood swings, anxiety, weight gain, breakouts, etc., that menopause can bring.

My personal hope, however, is that by increasing awareness of menopause and how it affects women we will also make inroads into how the traditional medical community actually views menopause, and subsequently, also how it helps women manage the symptoms.

As it is now, menopause is a highly medicalized condition – as are many natural body processes in Western medicine – which focuses entirely on the physical body. Menopause symptoms are viewed as manifestations of a “disease state,” which should then be treated with medicine and drugs.

This view is not a modern phenomenon.  It’s one that has been developing and evolving for well over a hundred years – right around the time pharmaceutical companies developed the “cure” for menopause, when they first began to market synthetic estrogen.

As our understanding of menopause and how it affects women continues to grow, thanks to initiatives and campaigns like national menopause awareness month, hopefully our treatments and therapies will also grow to include not only bioidentical hormones, but other, more holistic approaches as well.

Millions of women are suffering from menopause, and so are their families. The more information we share, the more we can help one another. If you are interested in learning more about menopause awareness month, the official website can be found here.  On the site, you’ll be able to find:

  • Resources: Links to sites for menopause support, WebMD Menopause Health Center, tips for eating healthy, soothing exercise moves.
  • Research: Scientific findings on where menopause may start, how race/ethnicity affects menopause, correlations between HRTs and breast cancer.
  • Symptoms: List of the most common symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings and anxiety, and detailed descriptions of each.
  • Solutions: Detailed information on alternative treatments that help women make the right decision for their specific situation.
  • Support: Menopause forums that provide a solid support system for dealing with this change.
  • Stories: Personal stories from women who experienced menopause, their symptoms, how it impacted their lives, how they dealt with it.
  • Comedic Relief: Because sometimes, all you can do is laugh!