Once a taboo subject, menopause is, well, hot. Even actress/TV host Drew Barrymore discussed it when she had her first hot flash on national television.
“Menopause is certainly having a moment,” says Dr. Joanne Armstrong, vice president and chief medical officer, Women’s Health and Genomics, and an OB-GYN at CVS Health. “It’s an acknowledgement of how important this part of midlife is, how unrecognized it is, and the vast number of women in this country who are going through a transition that affects every system in their bodies.”
With over 1 million U.S. women entering menopause annually — and a need for more trained providers — health care knowledge is a powerful tool, says Selene Yeager, a fitness writer and host of the “Hit Play, Not Pause” podcast.
“Before I started this journey, I didn’t know that anxiety was a symptom of menopause or hormonal changes,” Selene adds. “So, when I was waking up at 2:30 a.m. feeling like my world was coming undone, I thought I was just losing my mind.”
Menopause occurs 12 months after a person’s last menstrual period, at the average age of 51. The transition can last a decade. Yet, the reproductive health conversation too often ends before midlife, causing women to miss critical preventive health care as they age.
Menopause symptoms like hot flashes and “brain fog” make for frequent memes,yet estrogen loss increases women’s risk for cardiovascular, bone, mental, sexual health and more.
That’s why MinuteClinic® offers virtual and in-person menopause treatments that are available with or without insurance and is working with the Menopause Society to train providers on menopause care.
“We are making sure that our providers recognize that you don't just pat people on the head and say, ‘This will just pass,’” Joanne says.
CVS Health® is also expanding access to virtual providers that specialize in midlife care adding Gennev and Midi Health to the Aetna® network of providers. Gennev is available nationwide and Midi Health is available in select states for most Aetna commercial health plans.
“The biggest misperception about menopause is treating it as though it’s not worthy of attention,” Joanne adds. “It’s not understanding how big and significant menopause is.”