Menopause: let's talk about women's health

All women go through menopause, yet it is a tricky often taboo subject to have open conversations about, but what happens when you go through surgical-onset menopause almost a decade earlier than expected. How do you cope? What support systems are out there? What conversations should you be having? We spoke to Juilee Dandekar, who went through all this at the age of 37.

To understand what her body is going through and to help normalize conversations about menopause, she started her Instagram handle @livefearless.menopauseindia.

Thank you for talking to us.

Please do tell us a bit about yourself and how your journey to start your social media channel started?

I was diagnosed with Stage IV endometriosis at age 37, after trying all other options to alleviate the pain associated with it, I have finally advised a total hysterectomy (i.e., removal of her uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes) in the fall of 2020. The surgery put me into surgical menopause and that's when I started researching more about it. Coming from a healthcare background professionally,

Pic courtesy: Juilee Dandekar

I was very curious about how it would impact my health and how I could proactively take control. I realized menopause is barely spoken about and that's when I decided to launch live fearless (my Insta handle).

I thought I will anyway be researching and curating information and why not share it with other women who will at some point in life go through menopause.

You had a hysterectomy at 37, can you walk us through what you experienced at that time?

Menopause wasn't easy at the start - I did have my share of body changes - mainly anxiety, stiffness, joint ache at times, fatigue, insomnia, some amount of menopause weight gain but over some time, I think I am feeling much better now and much more in control.

Post hysterectomy, what kind of support did you get- from medical professionals - other support? What support were you looking for that you missed?

Honestly, I don't see a lot of proactive conversations around menopause between women and GPs. Unless women start experiencing symptoms and those too severe ones they don't reach out to doctors. They continue to suffer attributing it to aging - which is only partially true. Since mine was a surgical one, I was put on Tibolone since I am not eligible for traditional HRT due to a history of endometriosis.

(Note from Miyara: This is actually a myth; see post below)