With courage for change through menopause

With courage for change through menopause

Despite a rapid start into menopause, accompanied by severe symptoms, Monika Baumgartner (61) found ways to deal with the symptoms and got to know her body in a new way. Today, she is bursting with energy and joy, which she greatly appreciates.

Menopause came surprisingly quickly when Monika had her uterus removed (hysterectomy) due to uterine fibroids. There was probably no causal connection between the operation and the symptoms. However, immediately after the operation Monika's autonomic nervous system appeared to be notably distressed, leading to inner restlessness, sleep disorders and mood swings. Initially, the symptoms were attributed to the operation. After a while the overall picture increasingly fit menopausal symptoms.


Decision to take hormone replacement therapy

As a nature-loving person, Monika initially relied on natural products to treat her menopausal symptoms. However, she soon had to realize that these methods did not bring the desired effect. Despite initial skepticism, Monika decided to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen for topical application and estradiol for vaginal application – a decisive step towards regaining her quality of life.

Her gynecologist was very supportive of her decision and was able to give her good advice. Based on her medical and family history, her doctor advised Monika to continue low-dose HRT for life to reduce risks, e.g., the osteoporosis risk.

"I am very happy to have started HRT and will continue to take it."

HRT reduces many troublesome symptoms, but that alone is not enough to feel completely comfortable in your own body again. Monika has always been a very active woman; with yoga, meditation, lots of exercise in nature, physiotherapy, and a healthy diet, she found her inner peace. At the age of 61, she can feel free, active, and light-hearted again.

Menopause is associated with many emotional challenges, not just in terms of getting older. For women with children, menopause often coincides with increasing independence of grown-up children. One suddenly has a lot more time to deal with oneself (and possibly one’s partner) than before. It was therefore important for Monika to keep an eye on her mental well-being during this phase of her life.

Hormone balance and happiness are closely linked; therefore, it is even more important to maintain a positive attitude to life in such a hormonally turbulent phase. Another milestone for Monika was, when she stopped dyeing her hair at the age of 58.


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Monika hiking with her daughter.


Monika sees menopause like puberty, the key difference being that menopausal women are old enough to consciously confront the "negative" changes in their bodies.

As a social service provider who was used to working directly with people, Monika had to cut back considerably in her career. In fact, she would have liked to invest more now that her children were out of the house, and she would have had more time for her job again. However, the menopausal symptoms forced her to continue working in the office.

Nevertheless, menopause also has its advantages: After suffering from PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms for years, Monika was extremely relieved when her period stopped and with it the associated symptoms.

When talking to women of the same age, Monika often encounters a lack of understanding when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. Women of her generation have learned to persevere, not to show weakness. There is an "I can do it without HRT" attitude, says Monika. After all, their role models from the previous generation never talked about the taboo subject of menopause. In addition, the media communication surrounding the "Women's Health Initiative" study has clearly influenced this generation's decisions on women's health.

"It's a shame that some women slow themselves down by not considering medical support. For me, the benefits of HRT are greater than the risks."

Although the Swiss healthcare system now offers one or two points of contact for women who want to take a closer look at the topic of menopause, it still takes a lot of initiative to receive optimal treatment. Women who don't take the initiative are more likely to be left behind.

Although the Swiss healthcare system now offers one or two points of contact for women who want to take a closer look at the topic of menopause, it still takes a lot of energy and endurance to receive optimal treatment. Women who don't take the initiative are more likely to be left behind.


Monika advises other women:

  • Don't be afraid of menopause.
  • See the benefits, even if there are difficult moments and you have to rediscover your body.
  • Try out different ways of dealing with the symptoms; there is no "one truth".
  • Be well informed.
  • Do not categorically reject HRT. HRT can be supportive and has many small benefits. Estrogen is also good for the psyche, the hair, the skin, and the body.
  • Take the opportunity to look at yourself. There are many positive things that can emerge from this time and it’s worth being courageous.


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Monika summarizes that it takes the right combination of measures to get through menopause well. You may have to try a few things, but in her experience, the tenacity to change has paid off!