10 Menopause Myths—Busted!

Get your facts straight with this mini menopause quiz.

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Myth:

Menopause is a disease or medical condition.

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Fact:

Menopause is a normal, natural event that all women experience if they live long enough. It’s no more a disease than puberty or pregnancy. Each woman experiences menopause in a unique way, with some having troubling hot flashes and other symptoms while others experience few or no symptoms at all. 


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Myth:

Perimenopausal women can't get pregnant.

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Fact:

Perimenopausal women are not totally protected from an unplanned pregnancy until they reach menopause (1 year after their last period), so those who don’t want to become pregnant must choose an effective method of birth control. 


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Myth:

Most of the body changes women experience at midlife are due to menopause.

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Fact:

Most midlife body changes in women—such as weight gain, hair thinning, and loss of muscle tone—are caused by aging or by a mix of aging and menopause. 


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Myth:

The risks of hormone therapy for treating menopause symptoms are generally the same regardless of whether women take estrogen therapy alone (ET) or combined estrogen plus progestogen therapy (EPT).

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Fact:

It is now believed that women taking ET have a more favorable benefit-risk profile than those taking EPT. (Women who have had a hysterectomy to remove their uterus can take estrogen alone, while women who still have their uterus need progestogen added to protect against endometrial cancer.) This is especially true for younger menopausal women (in their 50s or within 10 years of menopause) than for older women.

 

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Myth:

Saliva testing is effective for determining if a midlife woman has the "right” levels of hormones.

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Fact:

Saliva testing for hormone levels has not been proven accurate or reliable. Even blood testing of hormone levels is limited since levels vary throughout the day as well as from day to day. Plus, the desired levels in postmenopausal women have not been established and an individual woman’s physical comfort may not even be related to her actual hormone levels.


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Don Bayley

Myth:

Custom-compounded bioidentical hormones are safer and more effective than FDA-approved forms of hormone therapy.

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Fact:

Custom-compounded hormones have not been tested to prove they are absorbed appropriately or provide predictable levels in blood and tissue. And there’s no scientific evidence about the effects of these hormones on the body, either good or bad. They are not monitored for consistency of dose or purity/lack of contamination. 


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Myth:

Menopause will sap my mental abilities.

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Fact:

Memory and other mental abilities change throughout life. Aging is associated with a trend of declining performance, but there’s no firm evidence that memory or other mental skills actually decline because of natural menopause. Remaining physically, socially, and mentally active can help prevent memory loss.


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Myth:

Menopause causes urinary incontinence.

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Fact:

Although many midlife women have urinary incontinence, it’s not directly associated with menopause but rather with factors such as age, loss of pelvic muscle tone, weight gain, history of childbirth and the number of babies delivered, and certain medical conditions.


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Myth:

Most postmenopausal women aren’t very interested in or satisfied by sex.

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Fact:

A large new study of US women ages 50 to 79 found that nearly two-thirds were satisfied with their sexual activity. Of those who were dissatisfied, 57 percent would prefer more sexual activity and only 8 percent would prefer less. Many women were sexually active through their 70s, and the main reason women in the study were not sexually active was the lack of a partner.

 

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Myth:

Menopause causes a steep fall in women’s testosterone levels, and this explains most cases of low libido in postmenopausal women.

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Fact:

The decline in women’s testosterone levels is related to age, not menopause. Women’s testosterone levels peak in their 20s, begin to decline years before perimenopause, and continue to fall slowly through and beyond menopause. The effect of age-related testosterone declines on women’s libido remains controversial, and reduced sexual desire in women usually has multiple causes.

 

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Next: Test Your Menopause Smarts

 

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First Published November 14, 2011

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Comments

luann badshah05.20.2014

Thanks for such a great artcle! I also am entering this time of life and have started to blog about it challenges at
http://over50surviveandthrive.blogspot.com/

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