The CEO of genneve, Jill Angelo, recently wrote a blog about the importance of knowing “normal.” What is normal for our bodies, and what signals a need to get some help?

“Is this normal???”

So much can change so quickly and so profoundly as we move through the menopause transition, we often don’t know if what we’re experiencing is normal – heck, we may not even know what we’re experiencing is hormonal!

So a lot of women – understandably – end up in the ER with harmless heart palpitations or worse, endure unsafe symptoms simply because they assumed (or were told), “it’s just menopause.”

The more conversations we have, the more accurate, actionable information that’s out there, the better women will be able to assess their experience and make informed decisions about their health.

Let’s talk about that “it’s just menopause” thing

Very often, the symptom IS just menopause.

Sometimes it’s not.

And sometimes, even if it IS “just menopause,” you should still consult with a doc because if that symptom is impacting your quality of life, you may have good options for managing it and getting your life back.

Some in the medical community call them the “walking wounded” – those whose symptoms are definitely uncomfortable, something is undeniably wrong, but it doesn’t show up on any tests.

The patient knows something’s amiss, but test after test comes back negative or maybe “borderline” but not conclusive, so it turns into a “wait and see if things get worse.”

Women are very very good at being the “walking wounded.” We think, It’s really not serious enough to see a doctor about, or It’s just hormones, or perhaps, My doc won’t be able to help; why bother?

Plus, so much of menopause doesn’t show up on a test – that crushing fatigue, interrupted sleep, itchy skin, tingling fingers, painful breasts don’t show up on a test – but that doesn’t mean they’re not happening or that they’re not really impacting your quality of life.

We think it’s men who are reluctant to see the doc when they need to, but the truth is many women don’t either. For lots of reasons.

  1. Insurance. More women work in the home or at jobs that don’t provide health insurance.
  2. Money. Medical care costs money, even with insurance, and women typically earn less.
  3. Access. Women in rural communities may not even have a GP locally, much less a specialist, if needed. If a woman doesn’t have a car, or if her job makes it difficult to get time off, her access to health care can be really limited.
  4. Time. Caring for children or parents, working, bearing the larger burden of household chores – all of these can exhaust a woman’s time in caring for others, leaving little time for herself.
  5. Trust. Many women have had the experience of having their symptoms belittled or even dismissed by a health care professional, and that may be especially true if a woman is in perimenopause or menopause. If you believe your doc isn’t terribly interested in – or capable of – helping you, there’s not much incentive to try.
  6. Many menopause symptoms are simply embarrassing in today’s culture (gas, hair loss, vaginal dryness), so women choose to live with them rather than get help.

If any of those keep you from seeking answers to health questions or help with a condition, then we want to tell you about a better way.

At genneve, we believe all women should know their normal, and we think the medical community at large should have better guidelines to define and help women understand the boundaries.

Helping women understand menopause and their bodies better

So we’re attacking this rather large concern from a couple of angles:

The genneve Menopause Assessment

We created our Menopause Assessment to give women an idea on where they are in the menopause transition and how their symptoms compare to other women.

What better way to realize you’re “normal” than to see your results come up smack in the middle of a whole lot of other women’s?

After completing the Assessment, women have the option to consult with one of genneve’s menopause-specialist ob/gyns or nurse practitioners to review their results and get answers to any remaining questions.

genneve Telemedicine

Speaking of menopause specialists, genneve’s telemedicine service is staffed entirely by health care professionals who are well versed in menopause symptoms and treatments.

Remember that list above of reasons why women don’t go to the doc? Telemed can answer all of them, meaning no woman has to go without the care she needs.

  • You don’t need insurance.
  • We’ve kept our telemedicine affordable so women can access it when they need to.
  • Appointments take place over your Internet-ready device like a tablet or smartphone, anywhere you can access the Net – no car or mass transit service needed.
  • Appointments start and finish on time, with no hanging out in the waiting or exam rooms for the doc to arrive. You’ll know exactly how much time an appointment will take and when it’ll start and finish: no wasted time. And you’ll have the practitioner’s complete attention for the duration of your appointment.
  • Worried the doc or nurse practitioner can’t help you? Don’t be. All of our practitioners have specialized menopause knowledge. They’ll listen to you first, then work with you to determine your best course of action for taking control of your menopause symptoms and your health.
  • As for embarrassment, our practitioners are specialists in menopause and unflappable to boot. And for many women, a conversation over video or text is just easier than in person.

And if one of our practitioners believes your symptoms are outside the boundaries of “normal,” they can help you figure out what to do next to protect your health.

Don’t be one of the Walking Wounded, suffering unnecessarily and worried your symptoms may point to something worse than “just menopause.”

Take the Menopause Assessment. If you have questions or concerns, schedule an appointment to talk with one of genneve’s telemedicine specialists about your unique menopause experience. Get back your peace of mind and get on path to regaining control of your health in midlife and menopause.

Would you consider yourself one of the Walking Wounded? Have you chosen not to seek help, or have you tried but were unable to get a satisfactory answer? We’d love to hear your story and share it with other women who may be in the same situation. Leave a comment below, on our Facebook page, or in midlife & menopause solutions, our closed Facebook page.