The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health Through Facts and Feminism
“The Menopause Manifesto is empowering.”
“Many women start their menopause transition with one body, and end up on the other side with one that feels very different. This metamorphosis occurs because strength, size, and shape are all affected by both menopause and aging. . . . Sometimes it can seem as if your body is a car with a new and completely different warning light that appears each day. An unwelcome exercise in, ‘Oh what now?’”
The Menopause Manifesto presents a detailed and intelligent discussion of the biological processes that women experience during their lives. Women reading this book will be reminded they are more than the sum of their parts. The value women bring to the human species neither begins nor ends with their reproductive abilities.
This book is Dr. Jennifer Gunter’s follow-up to her 2019 bestseller, The Vagina Bible.
In this new book, Gunter takes exception to almost everything associated with how women are told to “deal with” menopause, starting with the word itself. Language shapes how people think about everything. Gunter argues that it is “misogynistic to tie a description for one-third or possibly one-half of a women’s life to the function of her uterus and ovaries.” And, Gunter reminds readers, “[T]he term menopause came to be before science knew hormones existed.” It was coined by a man whose book “contributed nothing valuable to the body of knowledge . . .” He did, however, saddle women with a word used to denigrate them and allowed drug companies to create “a lifelong disease that affected every woman.”
Gunter addresses the medical profession’s historical practice of dismissing women’s health issues, often telling female patients nothing is wrong or it is just something to endure. Gunter, however, a gynecologist with decades of experience, points out that the “answers to menopause are never that simple.”
Menopause is not a new phenomenon, and reference to it is found in ancient Chinese and Greek medical writing. Menopause is a process, and it impacts various aspects of a woman’s life. Gunter reminds readers that “the menopause continuum is a marker for an increased risk of heart disease for women, but so is erectile dysfunction for men.” Heart disease is the number one cause of women’s deaths—yet most women are more concerned about breast cancer.
While Gunter’s earlier book, The Vagina Bible, includes stand-alone content-based chapters, from which readers could cherry-pick the topics of most interest, the chapters in this manifesto are layered. Each chapter builds on the next providing information that women need and don’t get from their doctors.
Hot flushes, disruptive menstruation, bone health, depression, brain health, sex, bladder health, fatigue, hormone therapy, hormonal changes, diet, contraception (and when to stop it) are all covered, and the part each plays in the process is examined in detail. Women will experience all, some, or none of these symptoms.
One of the most interesting aspects of this book is Gunter’s obvious belief that women understand what is happening during menopause, want more information, and are ill-served by the medical profession. Gunter is also not shy about criticizing doctors who treat women as incompetent nincompoops and who are viewed as not being worthy of having their health issues taken seriously or have their symptoms treated appropriately. Reading either of Gunter’s books should give women pause before consulting another doctor.
Dr. Gunter makes it clear there are treatments available to help women through menopause. No woman needs to put up with the various symptoms that can wreak havoc in her life. And, if nothing else, The Menopause Manifesto gives women the playbook to follow when discussing these matters with their doctors. This, along with The Vagina Bible, deserve a prominent place on every woman’s bookshelf. Doctors should also do themselves a favor and get their own copies.
Reading The Menopause Manifesto is empowering. It is invigorating and lets reader know that what is happening during menopause is normal, is not a disease, and need not be endured.
Dr. Jen Gunter believes, “It shouldn’t require an act of feminism to know how your body works, but it does. And it seems there is no greater act of feminism than speaking up about a menopausal body in a patriarchal society. So let’s make some noise.”
The Menopause Manifesto prepares women to make considerable noise to promote their own health.