meNOpause! What's in your toolbox during this transition in life?

meNOpause! What's in your toolbox during this transition in life?

3 Part Hormonal Health Series featuring Dr. Kristy Prouse produced and hosted by Margaret Wallis-Duffy

Perimenopause and menopause are having a moment in the media and I am thrilled to see it. It is LONG overdue but welcomed just the same.

A decade ago, as I sat across from yet another doctor and poured my heart out about the way I had been feeling for years, I was desperate to get answers and solutions to the plethora of symptoms that I had been experiencing both physically and mentally but yet had fallen short. This time however, felt different.

This time I was FINALLY being heard and someone was not only listening but validating the way I was feeling both physically and emotionally. I couldn't help but want to do something to share this experience with others. As Dr. Kristy Prouse, founder and clinical director of The Institute for Hormonal Health reviewed my results with me on that day, I couldn't wait until she was finished so I could ask her a question that I knew she wouldn't expect to hear.

As a woman who entered menopause at the young age of 39, which was a few years ago now 😉, 18 to be exact, it was a REAL struggle for me. This transition in life was NOT being talked about in medicine or in social circles for that matter at the time and it was even more challenging for me as my peers did not relate to the experiences that I was having.

I felt isolated, alone, depressed and was truly struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Given my challenging health history, I had learned to flex my resilience muscle and soldier on despite the way I was feeling. However I was determined to figure out what was happening to me and more importantly, find tools and solutions to help me navigate through this time in my life.

Perhaps because of my tenacious manner, I am a Taurus after all, I didn't give up and I tirelessly researched for answers to empower me to shift from this unrecognizable state I was living in to one that I was more familiar with - an energetic woman with aspirations and a deep determination to chase down my dreams.

It was in this deep dive of research outside the conventional medical model that I found Dr. Kristy Prouse.

I truly believe that the experiences in my life have been a gift as they have forced me to find solutions and then use my clinical experience and love for education and advocacy work to share it with others so they don't have to suffer the way I did. This was true for my peri-menopause and menopause journey.

So, as I sat with Dr. Prouse at that first consult, a sense of relief washed over me as I had finally found someone who was not only truly listening to my struggles but who was sharing scientific reasons to validate WHY I was experiencing these things.

For the first time, I felt heard and optimistic that she could help me put tools in my toolbox so I could more effectively navigate this transition in life.

So you may be wondering what was that question was that I couldn't wait to ask Dr. Prouse. I remember thinking as she methodically went through all of my results and took the time to explain what was happening to me and why I was feeling the way I was, that I wanted to propose something to her. I knew she certainly wouldn't be expecting to hear what I was about to say as I was her patient after all and there to seek help for my health.

I love to be the 'first' to do things and I am passionate about education and advocacy work. So, I asked her if she would be interested in being part of a 3-part hormonal health video series that I would produce and host?

I knew in my heart that if I was struggling this much with this menopausal journey than there must be other women who were struggling too and needed the support to switch of barely surviving to thriving through and beyond this transitional time in life.

I knew from my years of treating women in my multi-disciplinary integrative health clinic that it took a village and the layering of tools to effectively treat many conditions and perimenopause and menopause was no different.

And so, I found the courage to ask the question once Dr. Prouse finished sharing my results. She was indeed a little taken back from my proposal as this was not a typical request from a patient and she voiced her trepidation about appearing on camera as she had never done this before but without much hesitation, she agreed to collaborate with me.

I was beyond excited and got busy securing sponsors to help me fund this educational series and turn a dream of mine into a reality.

On International Women's Day in 2014, with great pride, nervousness and excitement, I produced and hosted a 3 part hormonal health series with a LIVE studio audience and live interactive social media engagement which was novel for the time.

This educational series looked at perimenopause and menopause through a holistic lens and brought together a range of healthcare professionals who believe in working together to empower women through education to stock their toolbox and build their health esteem so they can get into the drivers seat of their hormonal health.

Producing this educational series and hosting a live audience of women who were also seeking answers to the issues that they were facing was a rewarding and incredible experience.

I am not sure the world was quite ready for the content that we were sharing a decade ago but it appears that it is now. I am so proud that we were ahead of this menopause focus in the media and that this series has been seen by thousands of women to date. I have received countless messages of thanks from women who were suffering and this series provided them with hope and a path forward to getting their lives back.

I felt compelled to reshare it now in hopes of helping more women stock their toolbox so they don't have to suffer and PAUSE during this inevitable stage of life. As I have liked to say for year, meNOpause. Let us help stock your toolbox with evidence based tips, tools and strategies so you don't have to PAUSE in life.

You CAN THRIVE on the other side of menopause, I am proof of that statement.

My hope is that this series will provide you with insight to help you find your integrative health team who will support you in this process on your journey to wellness and vitality.

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By Dr. Kristy Prouse MD, FRCSC (OB/GYN)