Show me a woman who isn't starved: starved for time, money, and let's be honest, a little sanity!
At Menopause Chicks, I’m on a mission to crack open the conversation on one of the most natural of life's occurrences - yet one of the most taboo and misunderstood subjects: menopause & perimenopause. People will happily discuss sex, religion - even money - before they're willing to talk about (whisper) the "M" word.
And speaking of money - when I initially lifted the lid on the topic of menopause, little did I realize how freaking expensive a pleasant menopause experience can be! Who knew women would need a savings account or bank loan just for this?
Researching and "shopping" for your best health care provider takes a whack (that’s Canadian for a LOT) of time and money, and favorable treatment options are often not covered by insurance.
So far, this has been my experience:
Feeling quite "kookoo" (couldn't sleep, major mood swings, HUGE brain fog, bad cramps and unpredictable periods) in my early 40s, I felt the need to explore what was available to me in the way of managing - even curtailing - what seemed to be symptoms of perimenopause. What I found was a little jaw-dropping:
Visit to Family Doctor - 3 hours, $0
Told I was "too young"; average age of menopause is 51.2; offered birth control pills (declined but would be covered under drug plan)
Investigated Westcoast Women's Clinic; went to free workshop - 3 hours, $1500 to start; waiting list to get in.
I passed. This is a clinic that treats women from across the country & specializes in hormonal balance.
Visit to local book store - 2 hours, $80
Bought 3 books. Still skim them regularly for answers. More than anything, they tend to generate more questions!
Made appointment with Naturopath - 3 hours, $400 (first appointment)
I spent $2000 in total before I had to pull the plug. Only $500/year is covered by my extended medical plan.
Friend referred me to a Nurse Practitioner - 3 hours, $200
Great experience. 1.5 hour long consultation with customized information.
Vitamins - 0 hours, $150/ month
Nurse practitioner taught me about fillers in many drug store vitamin lines and benefits of investing in high-quality supplements
Other areas that I am personally interested in exploring include counseling, acupuncture, and yoga: all can cost $100 or more per month, and again, our extended medical plan covers $500 per person per year (except yoga).
For some women, this investment is well worth it because the payoff is huge in terms of quality of life. But for others, this kind of spend isn’t feasible without going into debt. And that just adds to the overwhelm. (As an FYI, Dr. Anna offers a very reasonably priced hormone testing package.)
Here is a concept I’m currently dreaming about: I call it MenoCAUSE.com. Imagine a bursary fund or scholarship or some sort of pool of available funding (and potential access to pro-bono services donated by health professionals) so women challenged by available resources can access the same powerful information & preventative measures.
No one would suffer in silence and everyone would have the opportunity to feel empowered and become their own best healthcare advocate....to menopause & beyond!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about menopause & money. Share your ideas in the comments below.
Visit Dr. Anna’s website at www.drannagarrett.com.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Find out more about working with her at http://www.drannagarrett.com/work-with-me/.
Shirley Weir, 49, lives in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada. She is the founder of www.MenopauseChicks.com and she is on a mission to crack open the conversation on perimenopause & menopause, and help women navigate the journey that is best for them.
Note: This article contains information from the Canadian health care system. However, much of it is reflective of the US experience. Coverage for hormone management is often not provided in health care plans, especially if you are not working with a traditional medical provider.