Women have been going through menopause (named by a French physician in 1821) and its assorted difficulties since forever.
We’re in the middle of a menopause gold rush. The market is flooding with high-profile, well-funded menopause-related beauty products and telemedicine start-ups, as well as a growing roster of celebrities willing to admit it’s happening to them. There’s the potential not only for a big cultural shift to happen, but for some number of people to profit off it.
Modern menopause can be a long, and dynamic, slug of time. It comes in three stages: perimenopause, which typically begins in one’s mid- to late 40s, when the ovaries slow production and estrogen levels begin to dip. Perimenopause can last as long as 10 years and can cause an enormous range of symptoms, from mood swings and headaches to hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Next up is menopause, the moment one year after the last menstruation.
Then there’s postmenopause, which is the period-free rest of your life, when the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis and pretty much everything else shoots way up. The Gen X women who are now reaching these milestones didn’t endure the indignities of Tae Bo just to cut their hair into tidy little bobs and accept these symptoms without a fight.
Their Gen Z daughters are profoundly frank when it comes to their ever-evolving bodies: They would never call their period being “on the rag,” or, God forbid, “the curse.” They have period underpants marketed for slumber parties, tampons that come in adorable wrappers, first-period kits that include hot-water bottles and “conversation starter” sets of cards for discussing the milestone with the adults in their lives. How pathetic would it be for their mothers to be so embarrassed of their own hormonal shifts? Call it generational trickle-up.
As a result of — or, maybe, as a precursor to — these changes in attitude, discussing menopause is no longer taboo.
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Brought to you from New York Times