Updated: Jun 15
There are a lot of questions and misconceptions around menopause. If you are not too careful, you could find yourself in big trouble health-wise. Hayley Foster sits down with Sue May, who is running a menopause business. In this episode, she discusses everything there is to learn about menopause. She delves into dismissing crazy misconceptions regarding hormones, the biggest questions when it comes to HRT, and the effects of getting DUTCH tests. Sue also sheds light on perimenopause, the dangers of synthetic drugs, and why women between the ages 40 and 50 should devote themselves to keeping their bodies healthy and strong.
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Understanding Menopause With Sue May
You've Got Questions, Sue's Got Answers
I am so excited to be having this conversation about all things menopause with my friend, Sue May. Sue, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate you and your time.
This is the hottest topic out there. I keep wondering if it is a hot topic because I'm in that age group or if it is a hot topic in general because it's been quiet for so long and our generation, Gen Xers, are like, “We need to put this out into the open.” Tell me a little bit about your journey as to how you got into talking about menopause, running a menopause business, and all the things.
I'll go a little bit back in time. I became a health coach in 2005, which was way back when it was not quite the common thing that it is now. It was a school that was in-person. After going through that, I had previously been an elementary school teacher, so it was a little bit of a career switch. I did a bunch of different things. I did work on wellness programs. I did nutrition for kids, education, and a bunch of different fields within wellness until I went through my own fertility journey.
What happens to a lot of health coaches is whatever happens to us in our personal journey, we use that to figure out who we want to work with. We end up having so much empathy for that group and also doing these deep dives into everything that we're going through. At that time, because I was going through my own fertility journey and fertility treatments, I was doing my own deep dives into nutrition, mindset, and how I could marry that to doing fertility treatments.
After that, I started working as a fertility coach. That was the first iteration of my practice, working with women who are trying to conceive. I have so much empathy for that group and I love working with that community. As I was doing that, I realized “At this time, I want to get a full-time job.” I wanted a little more stability.
I found a job within the fertility community business and ended up working at a fertility benefits company. This is where my menopause story starts because about three years into working full-time, I started feeling like crap from out of nowhere. I didn't understand because I was a health coach. I was eating all the right things, exercising, and getting enough sleep. I had no gluten and all the things that we are told we know we're not supposed to do. At the same time, I was not sleeping. I was feeling depressed and anxious out of nowhere. I was having brain fog I was having joint pain. It was things that I didn't understand. I was like, “Why is this happening to me all of a sudden?”
I was working full-time, so I was a mess. I wasn't getting any answers from doctors. I'm in my 50s. That was the perfect storm of perimenopause at that time, which was a few years ago, but no one was saying it. Even the OB-GYN was not like, “It's your hormones. It’s this. It’s that.” They were doing all the tests but no one was bringing it up to me. It was so aggravating. What I ended up doing, which was crazy, was I said, “I'm going to learn this for myself. I want to learn all about perimenopause and menopause because I'm not getting it from anywhere.”
I ended up, while I was working full-time, going to another certification program, specifically menopause coaching. It was based out of the UK because I couldn't find anything here, unfortunately, that was all menopause. I started to learn about what happens to us, our brains, our bodies, and our bones. I started to learn what is happening, why it is happening, and what can we do about it. I was able to make a plan for myself, a sustainable plan, in understanding, “What are the important things that I should be focusing on right now?” I then started to feel like myself again. I started to get my energy back.
After that, getting all that knowledge, I was like, “This is what I'm doing now.” It was the same story with the fertility. I had so much information. I was busting with this information I had to get it out to women. I'm like, “I need to do this.” I created my coaching practice for perimenopause through menopausal women where I'm able to share all this information. I'm floored. We don’t know what we don’t know, and there is so much that we don't know. I love that you're doing this conversation because we have to talk about this. I love supporting. Especially a lot of my women are Gen X women. I have to say we are the best generation. I’m biased. It has been a journey. That's how I got here.
That’s awesome. There is a great quote that I heard from somebody that said, “We are best suited to serve our former selves.” You are the epitome of that. I am as well. I started this business to fill the need in my life and also to help women not go through the struggles and the pains of growing a business on their own in a silo. That was the reason for me to serve people like me that were going through that journey.
I love that you followed that passion multiple times and pivoted along the way. I love the pivot. I talk about the pivot all the time. It's so important, especially as we get older. We're different during every decade of our lives. What once did us well in our 20s and then in our 30s is not doing us well in our 40s and 50s. We're going to go back in time in a minute, but what I wanted to ask you is why you think that this is such a hot conversation. Do you think it has to do with the new education that we're getting and the science and research that we're finding when it comes to women and our bodies, or do you think that it has something to do with the generation that is going through this?
There are a lot of reasons why we're talking more about it. Thank goodness that we are talking more about it. Some of these things with fertility was menopause was considered a taboo that we don't talk about. A lot of the reason for that, unfortunately, is we still live in an ageist and a bit of a sexist society. Women's health has always gotten the short end of the stick. We don't care as much about what happens to women. Women are understanding, “We are half of this population. Not only that, but we're going to live in midlife. We still have another half of our lives to live.”
Menopause was considered a taboo because of the ageist and sexist society. Women’s health has always gotten the short end of the stick.
It is the way that we have thought that we shouldn't talk about menopause because people don't want to hear about the struggles of the midlife woman because we've been discounted or ignored for so long. We've all come together, and part of it is also society changing. We've realized we have to share our stories. Women are so much better in a community when we're all sharing our stories. We all learn from each other. Society is changing and we're understanding that these things can't be taboo, and we have to all be talking about them.
Honestly, social media has changed that a bit as well because we are able to share these stories. Hopefully, they're getting the right science-based information. They're not getting it all over the place, but there are other places where we're able to talk about menopause, what's happening, and what you should know because sometimes, we're not getting that information from our doctors. I wish that every doctor was trained in the menopausal, the midlife woman, but they're not, so we have to advocate for ourselves. We are learning that.
When we were talking about fertility, fertility challenges happen in 1 in 8 women, and menopause happens in 100% of every person that has a uterus. We need to understand what is happening to our bodies because we want to be thriving and leaders. It's so important. Women are coming to understand that. Especially in our generation, because this is not your mom's menopause, the picture of a midlife woman is very different from what it used to be. We're not sitting at home doing nothing and thinking, “This is it.” This is another beginning. That's what we're focusing on.
I love that picture online of the golden girls who are supposedly in their 50s and 60s. You look at them and you're like, “That is so not our generation A 50 and 60-year-olds.”
It's so different.
I want to talk about a couple of things. I get questions from women in their late 30s going into their 40s all the time being, “What do I need to know?” I'm going to throw that over to you in terms of what women in their late 30s and early 40s need to know. Should they be getting blood tests or DUTCH tests in order to find out where their hormones are at? What are some of the recommendations that you have for them at this stage?
A lot of what I hear, especially from women maybe in their late 30s but more so early 40s, is we talk a lot about perimenopause. They really want to know what perimenopause is. They’re like, “What would I be feeling to know that I'm in perimenopause? These symptoms I'm having now, and I'm in my mid-30s, could this be related to perimenopause? Could it be my hormones?” The thing is that every woman is so different. That's another reason why this is tricky. The more of us that share our stories, the better, but everyone is this individual that has their own hormone fluctuations. Everything that's happening to them is different than what's going to be happening to someone else.
It's important to understand that perimenopause, which is the time leading up to menopause, is when your estrogen and your progesterone especially are starting to fluctuate. That's why a lot of the symptoms come from that. You have very high estrogen one month, and you have very low estrogen another month. It's doing this rollercoaster thing.
Estrogen has so many functions in our body. That's the other thing we forget. We have estrogen receptors all over our body. We have them in our brains, bones, and all over our bodies. It's not that we're going to feel certain things as it relates to sexual hormones and things like that. It's almost everything. Women need to understand that this, starting in your mid-30s, could be part of your perimenopausal journey, which is even that early for some women, and how your hormones are fluctuating.
If you're systematic and you have symptoms at that time, it would be a good idea to check your hormones. The tricky thing about that is when you're in perimenopause, it's very hard to do blood work. That's because you change so much from month to month. It's not this picture of when you're in menopause, you're pretty much going to be low across the board whenever you test. If you're in perimenopause, I could test one month and have high estrogen, and I could test next month and have low estrogen. It's hard to get that true picture.
Things like the DUTCH test are great to test your hormones, metabolites, and how your hormones are being processed, but that's not necessarily going to be for every woman depending on what they want. Do they want to pay the money for that? That's not necessarily going to be covered by insurance. What do they want to do? Talking to someone and understanding what your body is doing, and even getting some resources from reputable places and understanding what is perimenopause and what are all these symptoms attributed to is an important thing. Know your body. Feel that it's okay to reach out for support to understand these things and do what's best for you. That's the most important.
Let's remind a little bit, too. I'm going to be completely honest and say that I had no idea what estrogen did, what progesterone did, or what your sex hormones are doing. People think, “If my estrogen is high, I could get breast cancer.” There are all of these crazy misconceptions about your hormones. To go even a step further back is to understand what hormones you have as a woman. Women are shocked when they find out they have testosterone. You have testosterone. It's a hormone. They don't understand. They’re like, “Why do I have testosterone? If I have high testosterone, does that mean if I work out, I'm going to put on muscle?”
There's such ignorance because we haven't talked about it. It's not that we are being ignorant. The world was ignorant in terms of it wasn't talked about. No one wanted to know what was going on inside their bodies. We didn't need to know. It was like, “It happens. Go with it. It's menopause. It's your period.” Going back to your period, there was no sit-down and have a conversation about what happens in your body. You're so young when you have that conversation in school. You're so embarrassed to even be talking about it because there are boys in the room. They do it a little bit differently now, but still. Start there. Start with understanding. Use the Google machine. Start by understanding what your hormones are and what they do inside your body.
Before I took a DUTCH test, I didn't even know what adrenals were doing with my hormones, how they were processing them, and what adrenal fatigue even is. We don't have to get into that. It leads to the conversation around this study which is all the rage. Everybody that I follow in the health and wellness and longevity space is talking about women, hormones, hormone replacement therapy, the study that was done years ago, and how messed up those numbers are. I would love to hear your take on that study. If you want to talk about what the findings were back then and why they are so skewed, that would be great.
You're talking about the WHI study, which is the Women's Health Initiative. This was a study that was done back in the 1990s and was halted in the early 2000s. It was a huge study. It was 161,000 women that were in this study. They originally started that study to see what the health benefits of taking HRT were. They knew for many years women were given HRT because they knew it was preventing heart disease and was helping them in many different ways. They were regularly giving women HRT and wanted to see what the benefits were. That's why originally that study was started.
When it was halted in 2002, the investigators came out and said, “Everybody, stop. We think that we found that this is causing a higher rate of breast cancer in the women that are taking the hormone replacement,” and different issues that they thought they had found. Spoiler alert, they came back. That was big news when they stopped it. It was front-page news. Millions of women stopped taking hormones. It was the front page. You would see it everywhere like, “Hormones cause breast cancer.” It was this huge news everywhere.
They walked back almost all of those findings. I'll tell you why. Back in 2017, the original investigators came back out with like, “We were wrong about certain things. This is why.” You didn't hear about that the way that those headlines were so big. News has to be exciting. Whether it's good or bad, it has to be big. That wasn't big, so that didn't get that news reporting where they came back and said, “We were wrong. We did some things wrong here. We're going back on these findings now.” You probably didn't hear about that.
The women that were in that study were older. They were maybe 60s. A lot of them were ten years out from already having been in menopause. Using hormones in that body is very different from using hormones in a woman who is approaching menopause. They haven’t had all that time for the lack of estrogen in the body to do the things that it does, like build up sometimes plaque in the arteries or different things that are happening. It's different than using hormones on a woman that is approaching menopause.
The women already had health issues. A big majority of them had obesity issues. They were smokers. They had a lot of health issues already, so that was another issue. They were using synthetic hormones, they were using Premarin. They were using progestins, which are also synthetic. They weren’t using micronized progesterone. They weren't using bioidentical estradiol. You can't necessarily compare those sorts of synthetic hormones to the bioidentical hormones that we use. Even the ones that are FDA-approved, like the patch estradiol, that's bioidentical. It's not the synthetic that they were using.
Researchers have come back and said, “We have found that using hormones an appropriate save time in a woman's life if they are a candidate, because there are risks, can prevent osteoporosis.” Getting a fracture sometimes when you're older is like a death sentence. You get a fracture, and some of these women don't heal. They’re spending the rest of their lives in bed and that's the end of that.
We can prevent osteoporosis. We can help prevent heart disease with this. We can help our brains. They're doing all these studies that it can help prevent dementia. There are a lot of good things, but a lot of doctors, unfortunately, are still going by the debunked WHI of 2002 when we have all this new information. That's what we need our doctors educated on. This is what we need to be going by. Let women understand this and make choices for themselves.
What are some of the biggest questions that you're getting from women when it comes to HRT?
The biggest one probably is, “Does it cause breast cancer?” That's still in women's minds. All the studies that I read and all the big wigs in this space will tell you that it does not cause breast cancer. If you have estrogen-positive breast cancer, you shouldn't take it because it will feed that breast cancer and help it to grow, but it will not be the cause of the breast cancer itself.
There were some women who took progestin and Premarin, the synthetic estrogen, and some that took the estrogen. The women that took the estrogen in that arm had a lower risk of breast cancer. They don't talk about that. It's not going to be the creation of breast cancer. It is not going to come from that. We make estrogen our whole lives. This is one thing that I like to compare. As you get older, your rate of breast cancer goes up.
Unfortunately, breast cancer is fairly common. It's the same. Around 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. As we get older, our risk of breast cancer goes up, and as we get older, our estrogen levels go down.
When you're talking about high risk for somebody that's in their 70s or 80s, they've gone years without estrogen. If estrogen caused cancer, we would be more likely to have a higher risk when we're younger. Our bodies are making so much estrogen all the time. If we got pregnant and our estrogen levels got so high, that would be a risk factor for getting breast cancer because our levels got so high. That's not the way it works. As your estrogen goes down, your risk goes up. That doesn't even make sense that estrogen will cause breast cancer.
What are some of the other questions that people ask you about using hormones?
When we talk about hormones, and this is a thing I like to correct, they often ask, “Can I get bioidentical hormones from my doctor?” You can. The confusion comes from bioidentical, FDA-approved, your insurance will cover it, and your regular doctor will get it for you kind of hormones versus compounded, personalized, not FDA-approved but still a good choice for some women. That's another conversation.
Can you explain what a bioidentical hormone is versus a compounded hormone?
A bioidentical simply means it's the same chemical makeup as the hormone that we make in our body. That's all it means. Let's say you go to your doctor and you are given the patch. The patch is pretty much the first line of, “Let's try this.” The patch is estradiol. It's not a synthetic. It is bioidentical. That's bioidentical. There are other choices you can get from your doctor like Divigel. It's a gel. It's bioidentical. It’s estradiol.
Compounded are also bioidentical, but they are not covered by insurance because they are not technically FDA-approved. The reason why someone might want to go from your doctor to compounded is a compounded medication can be much more personalized. Let's say you try with your doctor, you try the gel, and you try the patch, and it's not quite working for you. You might want to go the root of compounded, but some doctors will tell you, “Don’t because it's not FDA-approved.” There are a lot of factors in there. Is the compounding pharmacy reputable? Do they do a lot of testing? That might be your next step if you want a more personalized dose.
It is also based on your age, height, and weight. There are all sorts. I remember I had to fill out a whole form. I'm taking compounded progesterone. There were a whole bunch of questions. They even looked at my blood test lab results, and I believe they also looked at my DUTCH test before they figured out what my compound would look like. Some of them will go the extra mile to make them specific to exactly who you are. A bioidentical from your gynecologist's office or doctor, they're going to give you whatever's on the market,
There are different dosages to start. You can start with 0.25, then 0.5, and then 1.0. There is less variation between what you could get from your doctor and what you could get from the compounding pharmacy. Usually, I'll tell clients to start there because they want to do something with somebody that can get them covered by insurance or whatever they want. It's a good starting point for most women. They understand that a lot of that is going to be bioidentical. It's interesting because doctors will give out the birth control pill like candy. The birth control pill is synthetic. It has a lot of issues that we don't talk about. Yet, we are not giving women the bioidenticals that could make them feel good. This is a whole other thing.
Doctors will give out the birth control pill like candy, and we have a lot of issues nobody talks about. Yet, women does not receive bioidenticals that could make them feel good.
My blood started boiling. The whole birth control conversation makes me crazy, especially since I was one of those people. I was on birth control from 17 years old to my 30s when I got pregnant. I was then off of it for a number of years and then back on it for a few years. I was like, “What am I doing? Why am I putting this in my body?” It's because you're coming from a doctor that tells you, “It's okay.” We trust these doctors because they're doctors. We could talk about the whole issue with birth control and why they're even still prescribing it for people the way that they are. I get it.
I was the same thing. I was on it for twenty years. A little caveat, every woman should have a choice. It's good that it's there and it exists. That's important, too, but think about the fact that we're given birth control pills so readily without any explanation of what that could do to our bodies. This is maybe controversial, but that's something that as a woman, when we're younger and fertile, that's like, “That's helpful for you and helpful for men because you are not going to get pregnant. Let's keep you on this. Let's not talk about the detriment. We're not going to talk about it,” yet when you're a woman and you're middle-aged and there's something that could keep you more vibrant and do things for your future health, at that time, we're not giving it to women. We're not giving them that information. That is more important. It's messed up that that's how it's happening.
It is beyond messed up, and that's putting it nicely. I shared with you an article from Peter Attia on Hormone Replacement Therapy. There are a number of different people I follow as well. I don't know if you've started reading or read Peter Attia’s new book called Outlive. He goes into this deeply in terms of what's going on with women. He talks about the study. He goes into all of the things that we can die from and how it's taken a very long time for our society to do testing on women in general and testing on drugs in general.
It’s probably why they weren't telling us back in the ‘90s or even ‘80s what will happen if we take the birth control pill for so many years because they had no idea. There probably were no studies done long enough to figure that out. I’m curious to know. From your position and from what you do, who are some of the go-to people that you follow in the health and wellness and menopause space?
The article that you mentioned by Dr. Attia, that was a wonderful article. I loved it. One of the books that I recommend as a starter for any woman that has any fear that doesn't go away from estrogen-causing cancer is to read the book Estrogen Matters by Dr. Avrum Bluming. He breaks down the science, the studies, and the risks versus the benefits. That is, to me, a must-read starter book for anyone who is contemplating going on an HRT journey.
Maybe it's because I did a lot of my studying in the UK, but I like Dr. Louise Newson. She is huge in the UK in the menopause space. She has a website called Balance-Menopause.com. What I like about it is the information is so accessible. There is a whole library. What do you want to learn about? Do you want to learn about testosterone? Do you want to learn about perimenopause? Do you want to learn about hysterectomy and HRT after a hysterectomy, or HRT after breast cancer? It is all broken down, so I love that. I like her. She has a book all about menopause, too.
One of the lesser-known doctors that I like is Dr. Felice Gersh. Anytime she speaks, I'm always like, “Yes.” I like her. She wrote a book as well about menopause. She has Instagram and all the things. I like her a lot, too. It makes so much sense. It's so important to have these people that are in the space that are wise and disseminating all this information to the women who need it and deserve to have it.
Also, one of the things that I am very into is health, nutrition, and fitness. I asked you earlier, “What would you tell women in their 30s?” We didn't touch on this, so I want to touch on it. Is the fact that starting a healthy lifestyle in your 30s as opposed to waiting until you're in your 40s will make all the difference? I know what I was doing to my body in my teens, 20s, and probably well into my 30s as well before I got pregnant. I wasn't doing the right things.
I had only started working out and getting into fitness when I put on not the freshman 15, but I put on at least 20 pounds after I graduated college and living in New York City. It was because I couldn't afford anything except for bagels, pizza, and rice. I went on an all-carb and starch diet. It was no bueno for my body. That was when I first started working out. It wasn't until after babies that I started to be like, “I need to get back into pre-baby shape.” I'm blessed with a good metabolism. I've always been lean and thin. I have to say that in my late 40s going into 50, I'm in the best shape ever. I wish I had started earlier.
I had a conversation with a doctor. She said one of the things that she has been able to prescribe for women who are having brain fog, night sweats, hot flashes, and all of the things that are negative that come along with this menopause time in our lives is she has been able to help people by giving them nutrition, healthy lifestyle tips, and getting them into fitness. I wanted to get your take on that, especially considering your background, what you would recommend to women in their 30s, and where to start. It could be in your 40s or 50s. It’s never too early to start taking care of this stuff in your life. I’ll hand it over to you.
You're right. The earlier the better for all of these things. The menopause information and nutrition wellness information can be very confusing because there's so much out there. Depending on who the woman is, it's the same as the menopause journey. It's going to be very individual to who she is. She's going to see, “I should be on keto,” or, “I should do intermittent fasting.” All these things have benefits. We know in the longevity world, there are all the benefits.
Everybody has to start from the basics. Eating whole foods, getting enough water, and making sure you're moving your body, this stuff will never go out of style, if I can call it a style. These are the things that will always be important. It is keeping away from the processed foods as much as possible. Those are the things that are important as far as the basics.
One thing that I found that I work with my clients on, especially during menopause, is what I call the ABCs. It's eating anti-inflammatory foods. I talk a lot about what is inflammation working on our blood sugar balance because that's something that is super important and our cortisol regulation. What I love about focusing on those three things is that it makes this nice Venn diagram in that when you're focusing on one, you're usually focusing on another. When I talk about anti-inflammatory foods, it is usually things like wild salmon, berries like blueberries, or olive oil. It is things that decrease inflammation in our body.
One of the reasons I focus on these three things, too, is the other thing that estrogen does, and I know you asked for the younger, but for women that are in menopause, estrogen, when it's at regular circulating levels, helps our body lower inflammation. It helps blood sugar balance. It helps with cortisol. Once you don't have that anymore, the regular circulating estrogen, you have to focus a little bit more on that.
Also, mindset is super important when it comes to your food. What happens sometimes in wellness circles is women get obsessive about eating the right thing all the time. There's a healthy balance that has to happen so we don't get into that zone of stressing ourselves out so much because we're not eating perfectly all the time. You have to give yourself some grace. You have to understand the balance of all that and not let yourself go down that hole of, “I have to eat right all the time.”
You said exercise. The one thing that I want to let every woman in midlife know is that you have to start lifting. You have to start lifting heavy things. I heard this quote. It was like, “I'm not working for my summer body. I'm working for my old lady body. I'm working for my old lady who can pick this up, can reach things can get up, and can sit down. That's what I'm working for. I don't care that I don't need to be the perfect this or that. I want to be strong.”
That's what women need to focus on and remind themselves. This is for you to be strong. This is for you to have a long healthy life. Eff the whole whatever you're supposed to look like or be like. This is for you to be strong and healthy for the rest of your life. That's what we need to focus on, not perfectionism, this, and that. That's the most important thing.
Women need to remind themselves to be strong and have a long and healthy life.
100%. There's a chapter in Dr. Attia's book where he talks about the centenarian decathlon. He tells you to make a list. He's got his own list, but he tells you to make a list of all the things you want to do when you're 100 years old. It's like, “I want to be able to walk a mile without dying. I want to be able to carry my groceries home from the store. I want to be able to pick up a great-grandchild.” It is all the things that you want to do when you're 100. That is what you need to be working for.
When I said before that I'm in the best shape of my life, it's because my attitude changed. It wasn't about like, “I want to be lean. I want to look good in those jeans,” or any of that. It was about, “I want to be strong,” to your point. I have a friend at the gym who is like, “I want to look good naked.” I was like, “Focus on weight.” She's like, “They say skinny girls look good in clothes and fit girls look good naked. I want to look good naked.” I'm like, “Lift heavier. If I see you at the gym and you're not lifting heavier, I'm going to call you out on it.” I have that conversation with so many people, and that is so important.
This is such a misconception that I didn't even learn until I started going to CrossFit which killed my body and that I no longer do. You'll learn this if you start diving into the research or you're reading this. CrossFit is not going to help you. They don't have CrossFit in the blue zones, which was a great quote that my functional medicine nutritionist said to me. It was like, “Do you think they're doing CrossFit workouts in the blue zones where they're living until 100?” They are not. Doing CrossFit workouts in your 50s is not necessarily going to help you. Working out too hard and doing too much cardio will deplete your hormones. You do have to be careful.
Peter Attia talks about staying in your zone, too, but making sure that you have at least three days a week where you are strength training. He also talks about VO2 max, but I don't want to get into all of that. I could and we'll be on this episode for two hours, but I'm not Huberman or Attia. I'm not going to take up two hours of somebody's time. As we are drawing to the end of this, I would love to hear if there's anything else that you would like to share.
A big message that I like to get out to women is that you don't have to struggle. We feel like as women we're okay with certain things. We let things slide. We think we can do it all and it is okay that we're feeling tired or this or that. You don't have to struggle through this part of your life. You can feel good. If you don't, you should reach out and get support. You can either get the information on your own or work with somebody that can support you.
It's not inevitable. It's not part of “getting older.” That is not the way it should be. We shouldn't feel like we have to suffer. Even if a doctor tells you, “Deal with it. It’s part of getting older. It’s part of the thing,” you fire that doctor and go find someone else because that's not it. That's not what your life is meant to be. That's information that needs to get out to women that need to hear it.
I love that. I completely agree. It is not something you have to live with. Do your research. Use the Google machine. There's so much information out there. We're going to provide you with a ton of information and where to get started. I know that you are available for menopause coaching. It doesn't matter how old you are. It's never too early to start getting the information, knowing what you should be looking out for, and knowing what the things are that you could be doing. My whole thing is prolonging menopause for as long as possible. I’m 50 and still working on that. That’s my own journey.
Another important thing to help people understand is you are on your own journey. What works for one person does not mean that it necessarily is going to work for you. I have a lot of people that call me and they're like, “What are you doing?” I'm like, “I am my own person. My genetics are different than your genetics, so what works for me may not work for you.”
I am on this ever-long journey of pivoting and iterating as I'm going. Every month can tell you a different story. I am in research finding a pee stick or an at-home test where I can know weekly what's going on with my hormones or daily. I'm waiting for somebody to come out with that. I would love to go to one of those biohacking conferences because I feel like they'll be there with whatever this test is. I can't wait to get one.
It’s important that we know. That is why I would recommend everybody do a DUTCH test even in their 30s to know what's going on. I did one where I synced it up with a blood test. I did the blood test on the first day and started my DUTCH test that morning or the next morning so my numbers were very much in line. It gave a good picture of what was going on for me. It changes every time I do it. I'm close to that age where things are changing significantly.
That's my advice for people. You are on your own journey. What works for one may not work for you. Be careful as to who you're following. You can go and follow 10 people and they may tell you 10 things. I've had three functional medicine doctors and got different recommendations from all three functional medicine doctors. You have to decide what is most important for you and what works for you. If it's not working, change it. You are your own advocate on this journey as well. That's an important thing for people to understand, too.
That's important. It’s the same with all things. Briefly, if women start doing hormone replacement therapy, they have to understand that it's not necessarily going to slap on a patch and that's going to be it. That's going to be a journey, too. You might start at a certain dose. You might increase. You might move from one thing to compounding. It's going to be trial and error like everything.
When you give something a try, it's not necessarily going to be that magic thing that's going to make everything better. You have to expect that it's going to be a little trial and error, and that's okay. We always are pivoting and going towards the thing that works, and then when we find it, that's awesome. It's always a bit of a back-and-forth. That's part of life.
When you give something a try, it is not necessarily going to be a magic thing where everything will be better. You have to expect that it's going to be a little trial and error, and that's okay.
It is trial and error. That is a great thing for people to keep in mind. Thank you so much for your time and for sharing all of your knowledge with us. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Hormone Replacement Therapy – Article
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About Sue May
Sue May is a Menopause and Midlife Transition Coach. She specializes in coaching the Gen X woman who wants to understand what is happening during this challenging life phase (peri-post menopause). She uses her expertise in nutrition, HRT (hormone replacement therapy), mindset, and lifestyle to support women to feel their best to thrive in their personal and professional lives.