Rosalia’s story: I am a gynecologist and I missed my own symptoms of menopause

You would think that I, of all people – a gynecologic oncologist – should have recognized my own menopausal symptoms when they started. But when I was 37 and they first started appearing, I actually mistook them for pregnancy. I had dedicated many of my reproductive years to my career, and when I began to think about having children and stopped taking my contraceptive pills, I noticed symptoms that had been masked by the pill’s hormones.

I began to have hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, tiredness, lack of libido and stamina, brain fog and poor decision-making capabilities. This really affected me, because in my line of work, decision-making is literally a matter of life and death. After some tests I understood what was happening to me and decided to take Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT). I didn’t want only to control my symptoms; I also did it for my health.

There is a lot of misinformation on the subject of MHT, and it’s important to talk about it, as I believe we should have enough factual information so we can make informed decisions about our health. When it comes to MHT there are safe ways to administer it. Doctors have to take into account many things, like the person’s comorbidities, family history and age. It is something that should be individualized to fit the specific person it is meant to help.

Today I feel wonderful. I view menopause through a multidisciplinary lens where my diet, sleep schedule, exercise regime and habits influence my well-being and overall health.

I love my work, and don’t feel like not having children takes anything away from my quality of life.

As a woman in a position of power, I think there is still more to be done in making our work environment menstruation-and menopause-friendly. I hope to review our own guidelines

at work and make an already great place even better.

Rosalia, 44 – Mexico City, Mexico | Find her story at page 114