While there is no shortage of observations regarding millennials and the way they are changing the social and economic landscape, a new survey has found a majority of the generation doesn’t know much about perimenopause and menopause, symptoms of which some of them are beginning to experience.
A survey conducted by Amberen and Wakefield Research surveyed 500 menopausal women in the United States to analyze their knowledge about menopause and the impact it has on their daily lives. Researchers found 73 percent of survey recipients believed menopause started earlier than they realized or expected it would. More than half of those surveyed didn’t understand how perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause differ from each other.
While most women in the U.S. experience menopause between ages 40 and 58, perimenopause symptoms can begin as many as eight years earlier, meaning many millennials may unknowingly be entering this stage of life. Strauss and Howe determined the millennial generation includes those born between 1982 and 2004.
“[Perimenopause] can hit in the late 30s,” Holly Dubrey, a registered nurse, told FoxNews.com. “Some women are experiencing these symptoms and not even realizing they’re experiencing menopause— they think it's symptoms of getting older.”
Dubrey is a part of Amberen’s NurseAid, a team of registered nurses who provide free one-on-one phone consultations on perimenopause, menopause and related issues for women who have questions about symptoms or treatments. She regularly fields phone calls from women seeking an explanation for their night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes and fatigue. While some individuals are relieved to receive a diagnosis, others are shocked to learn they may be experiencing perimenopause.
“That really is a surprise to most people,” Dubrey said. “It is something that generally people don’t really register right away because they are in their 30s, they’re not thinking necessarily that it is menopause— that’s not something that pops into their heads.”
One of the challenges, Dubrey said, is the topic is not discussed openly between mothers and daughters, or even with physicians. Dubrey said there aren’t many resources available for women at this stage of life that can adequately explain the changes happening, leading some to falsely believe they’ll go through an experience similar to their mother’s.
“When it comes down to it, I’ve spoken with mothers and the daughter in the same family, and the mother dealt with symptoms for a few years, but the daughter dealt with them for 15 years,” Dubrey said. “It’s difficult because you should theoretically have a similar menopause to your mother, but that is not the case based on my actual conversations with people.”
Another question Dubrey often gets is how long these symptoms will last, which can differ for each individual. Menopause occurs when a woman has missed her menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. While medical interventions, such as the surgical removal of both ovaries, or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, can induce menopause, the average age women in the U.S. experience menopause is 51.
In addition to helping women sort through their symptoms, the team at NurseAid helps identify dietary and environmental triggers like stress, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and stress levels to provide relief. Amberen, which provides NurseAid, is a clinically tested menopause relief supplement that works to restore hormonal balance to provide relief. Dubrey said the product’s philosophy as well as the theory behind NurseAid is to provide women with a way to enjoy the “golden years” of their lives, as well as provide important relief as they transition through this life stage.
“Having some relief from these symptoms does quite a lot for these women,” Dubrey said.