The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health With Facts and Feminism
Author: Dr. Jen Gunter
Year Published: 2021
Page Count: 336 – 9-10 hour read time
What It’s About:
Dr. Jen Gunter wants all women to have as much knowledge about menopause as any well-informed OB/GYN. And this book delivers. It rips open the conversation on the uncertainty and general dismissal women face during the menopause experience, and offers them the most powerful of tools to reclaim this phase of life as their prime: evidence-based information.
“The only thing predictable about menopause is its unpredictability. No two experiences are the same. Factor in widespread misinformation, a lack of research, and the culture of shame around women’s bodies, and it’s no wonder women are unsure what to expect during the menopause transition and beyond.
Menopause is not a disease – it’s a planned change, like puberty. And just like puberty, we should be educated on what’s to come years in advance, rather than the current practice of leaving people on their own with bothersome symptoms and too much conflicting information.”
The Take Aways:
After reading The Menopause Manifesto you should come away with:
- An understanding of the biology and terminology of menopause;
- Feelings of empowerment and perhaps rage;
- Strong knowledge about the myriad of potential symptoms that are part of the menopause experience, as well as education on the increased risk for several medical conditions that come with ‘the change’;
- What the evidence says about the treatment options;
- The fact that no one should be suffering through menopause – there are solutions and everyone deserves support.
“Facts can bring order to the chaos and uncertainty of menopause, because knowledge can dispel fears and open up treatment options. Even if the option is to take no action, it is still a position of power because it is an act of self-determination. Feminism can help women see the biases that may have informed previous beliefs and reframe their menopause not as a terminal event, but as another phase of life.” We would add, the best phase of life.
Dr. Gunter is not only an expert, how she crafts the facts and complexities of the menopause experience is both compelling and entertaining. From outlining why symptoms occur and what treatment options exist, to encouraging us to become fiber evangelicals, most will likely know more than their medical providers after reading this book.
The chapter on menopausal hormone therapy (MHT – aka hormone replacement therapy) provides a history of this line of treatment. The true risks of MHT are made clear. As are the benefits of this important tool for the management of certain symptoms. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Gunter advocates that, once armed with the facts, women are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether MHT should be part of their symptom management toolkit.
Our advice – In addition to reading this book, review the risks and benefits of potential therapies with a qualified practitioner. They can help you to understand what solutions are right for you. If they can’t, find a new medical provider.
Why you should read this book:
Is this the most comprehensive book on menopause? We think so. Not only is it rich in medical facts and need-to-know information, it’s written by an expert who understands the female experience.
At 343 pages, including the supplemental material, it’s arguably a long read. Especially if this is your introduction to the menopause experience. You could try to read only the topics of interest, but you’d be missing out. Written like a novel instead of a textbook with stand-alone chapters, The Menopause Manifesto is layered with each chapter building on the next.
In short, it’s a long read with lots of important information to retain. It’s best to read it cover to cover. And it is absolutely worth the time.
Some may not appreciate Dr. Gunter’s strong point of view. Indeed, her online presence has become quite polarizing. Regardless, we think all women should read this book.
“The absence of menopause from our discourse leaves women uninformed, which can be disempowering, frightening, and makes it difficult to self-advocate. Consequently, many suffer with symptoms or don’t receive important health screenings or therapies because they have been dismissed with platitudes like “This is just part of being a woman” or “It’s not that bad.”
But the issues with menopause even go beyond these knowledge gaps and the medical neglect. Women tell me that menopause is lonely; that there are no stories or culture. And so there is no whisper network to take up the slack from medicine. Nothing to offer comfort.”
No one should have to feel lost and alone. Becoming informed and self-advocating is how we will get the care and support we deserve. It’s up to each of us to take charge of our own health stories and demand better care, more research, and a new paradigm; menopause is not the end, it’s a beginning. This book is a great place to start.