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America’s most influential menopause advocates join HELLO! And Let’s Talk Menopause to ‘keep us stronger together’

Just when you thought you knew all there is to know about menopause, another great ‘menoposyium’ comes along

Donna Francis
Contributing Editor US
12 May 2024
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Whether you’re in perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause, or are even in your 20s or 30s choosing to inform yourself about what’s to come during this pivotal period, education and understanding are so important. And In a world where knowledge is power, sharing stories can be empowering and revolutionary, especially when it concerns women's health.

And this couldn’t have been more evident at the Let's Talk Menopause ‘menoposyium’ event in Chicago, where menopause’s biggest names were sharing their expertise and a wealth of information for women at midlife. 

There was such a positive buzz in the room at The Let's Talk Menopause event in Chicago
There was such a positive buzz in the room at The Let's Talk Menopause event in Chicago

“When you learn something, share it, because that keeps us stronger together," declared Dr. Judith Joseph MD, a multi-faceted board certified Psychiatrist, as she opened the event. In a room full of menopause advocates, medical professionals, press and eager-to-be-informed women, there was an amazing buzz and a real sense of empowerment and passion for positive change.

Hosts Dr Judith Joseph MD and fellow Let’s Talk Menopause Board Director, journalist Tamsen Fadal were joined by other renowned menopause experts including menopause Instagram star Dr Mary Claire Haver, a board-certified OB/GYN and author of the bestselling book, The New Menopause.

Understanding the journey of menopause was at the heart of every topic discussed. Certified Menopause Practitioner and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago Medicine, Dr Monica Christmas MD, delved into the nuances of menopause, highlighting that the average age of reaching menopause is 52, with perimenopause symptoms typically emerging 7 to 10 years prior. 

Menopause experts Dr. Mary Claire Haver and Dr Sharon Malone shared their expertise at the event
Menopause experts Dr. Mary Claire Haver and Dr. Sharon Malone shared their expertise at the event

Dr. Lisa Larkin MD, who is founder and CEO of Ms Medicine, a national healthcare organization dedicated to women’s health, spoke at her frustration of the government’s lack of research and investment into women’s healthcare. “No one owns women’s health in the US,” she said. “Women are left to fend for themselves.” And while Dr Larkin spoke of the “huge physiological consequences” that menopause can have on women’s lives, she also shared some positive news that not all women are miserable and in fact, up to 30% of women will have mild to moderate symptoms. 

Hormone therapy was a huge topic at the event, with the panellists dispelling the myth that regular blood work is a requirement for monitoring a woman’s hormonal care and menopausal symptoms. “We don’t use hormone levels to direct your care,” Dr. Larkin explained. Instead she said that doctors must listen to their patients, understand how they feel, and let their symptoms and behaviour dictate their treatment.  “Midlife women need to be empowered to make sure they are taking stock of their health, because that will really matter when you’re in your 80’s and 90’s,” Dr Larkin confirmed. 

America's leading menopause advocates shared their expertise at the Let's Talk Menopause event in Chicago
America's leading menopause advocates shared their expertise at the Let's Talk Menopause event in Chicago

Dr. Mary Claire Haver and Dr. Sharon Malone recognised that hormone therapy is the most viable treatment option for menopause as it offers fantastic benefits for symptoms like brain fog and night sweats while also helping to boost a woman’s overall well-being. “If you start hormone therapy within 10 years of menopause, you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr Malone explained. Yet it was also recognised that it is never too late to start hormone therapy. “Even in your 90s, it’s always great for bone health,” Dr Haver explained.

Dr. Sheryl Kingsberg, the Chief of Behavioural Medicine at the University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center and Dr Pauline Maki PHD, who is Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Illinois, delved into the psychological aspects of menopause, addressing issues like cognitive decline and sleep disturbances. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emerged as a powerful tool for regaining control of your anxiety and moods and good ‘sleep hygiene’ is required for maintaining a healthy sleep pattern. “Make sure your bedroom is only used for sleep and sex,” Dr Kinsberg explained. “Make sure it’s dark and cool and when negative voices come in, give yourself 5 minutes to dump down all of your thoughts on paper.” And if you’re not asleep after 20 minutes? “Don’t watch the clock - get up and take a break,” she advises. 

Donna Klassen, Co-Founder and CEO of Let's Talk Menopause hosted the event
Donna Klassen, Co-Founder and CEO of Let's Talk Menopause opened the event

The intimate symptoms of menopause, such as genitourinary syndrome and sexual dysfunction were also tackled. Stephanie Prendergast, co-founder of The Pelvic Health & Rehabilitation Center in California, explained the importance of having a strong pelvic floor during menopause as it can help to control the physical symptoms that come with it. “95% of women who have lower back or hip pain also have a weak pelvic floor,” she explained. And the Founder of the Center of Gynecology & Cosmetics in Chicago, Dr. Sameena Rahman, and Dr. Lauren Streicher, Clinical professor of OB/GYN at Northwestern University tackled the importance of seeking appropriate medical care when it comes to your sexual health and destigmatizing these conversations.

Throughout the event, a resounding message echoed: empowerment through knowledge. By sharing their stories and expertise, these amazing menopause advocates encouraged women to keep advocating for their health and embrace their unique journeys through menopause.

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