Type 5s, you are women of mystery!
For the past four weeks, we’ve been defining some of the key stages of the perimenopause-to-menopause journey, helping women locate themselves on the path and take steps to take control of their health. Last week, we took on Type 4.
This week is all about our Type 5s, or as we like to call them, our “Women of Mystery”!
Different factors can make it difficult to pinpoint where you are in your menopause journey. Perhaps you take hormonal birth control pills or have a hormonal IUD. Or you’ve had a hysterectomy that removed your uterus but left one or both ovaries (meaning you’ll go through a menopause hormonally but you’ll have no bleeding signals). An ablation to stop heavy period flows or medications for certain hormonal cancers can also confuse the picture.
Type 5 is a general category for women who don’t follow the typical path through perimenopause to menopause. Hormonal birth control may mask many of the symptoms of perimenopause, and since the bleeding that comes during the “sugar-pill” week isn’t a true period, even that doesn’t tell us anything.
Younger women who have certain cancers like breast cancer may even go through menopause twice: once from medicines that suppress estrogen, then again later, as their bodies go through the natural decline of hormones.
If you’re a Type 5, that doesn’t mean something is “wrong” with you. It just means your place in your menopause journey may not be identifiable.
In some circumstances, you can learn your place in the journey. If you’re on birth control pills, taking a few months off will bring back the bleeding signal (but use some other, non-hormonal birth control!). You can have the IUD removed for the same reason. It may take several months to get a good picture of what your cycle does naturally.
For others, pinpointing their place may not be possible. Stopping medications that help prevent breast cancer recurrence is not a good idea. And for those with ablations or hysterectomy, you may have to depend on other signals, like symptoms.
Some may suggest you get a hormone test to determine your place — we really don’t recommend that, as results will be skewed by any hormones or hormone-blockers you’re taking. And for those not taking medications, hormone tests still only give a picture of a moment, not an overall view.
Because you’re all over the board, your symptoms are likely to be as well. Or you may not be having significant symptoms because hormones in the Pill or IUD are helping to keep you level.
So it makes sense for you to deal with the symptoms you have and not really concern yourself too much with where you are in the journey. And of course, it always makes sense to do what you need to do to get and stay healthy for the post-menopausal years ahead.
Gennev’s suggestion for you is to start with a consult with one of our menopause-specialist OB/GYNs. A detailed discussion with a doctor who understands menopause and menopause care will shed some light on where you are and why you’re there. Because your situation is unique, a one-to-one conversation about your particular history, health risks, and current experience is necessary. You’ll also get a clearer understanding of your options moving forward.
Depending on your reason for landing in Type 5, you may have different nutritional needs than other women of your same age. If you’ve had cancer, the right nutrition can help you recover more quickly from treatment and even help fight recurrence. Exercise can help you maintain bone and muscle when medications promote bone loss and fatigue — coaches can help you find activity that you can safely enjoy and keep you accountable to doing it.
Sleep interruption and anxiety are common in midlife, and women who have other health concerns frequently just don’t get the rest they need. Our AM/PM pack are great for promoting better nights so you can have stronger days.
Consider taking a nutritional supplement like our Vitality multi-vitamin pack. Good nutrition is best, but lives are busy and full, and gaps in our healthy eating happen. Vitality can fill in the holes to help you build and maintain a strong immune response.
Yes, Type 5 is its own set of challenges, but like all the other types, Gennev has got your back. Talk with one of our doctors, and get on the path to thriving through menopause and beyond!
Are you a Type 5, or do you have a Type 5 woman in your life? Come join us on the Gennev Community forums, where women share all kinds of useful information and support each other through the challenges!