Picture a woman driving down the road without a care in the world. She’s secure in the fact that the oil and gas industry will keep her running on a full tank of gas. She’s always been able to rely on this and is imbued with the assumption that it’ll never let her down.
But suddenly, her gas gauge starts acting up. It becomes erratic, swaying from full to empty within an hour. Next, it drops to nearly empty and triggers the warning light for a fill-up, even though she knows the gas tank can’t be nearly empty.
And then, bam! Her car stalls. No matter what she does, the darn car won’t move. She tries calling AAA, but it’s no longer in service. Next, she calls her car rescue service: not a working number. She dials her husband but gets voicemail … and his mailbox is full. Her kids have already moved out of the house and out of town, so they can’t help her. Her best friend says she can’t talk right now.
All the while, cars zip past her. A few drivers look her way with an expression that says, “What’s your problem?” But no one stops to help her. They’re busy with their own lives and have no time to be bothered with hers. Most of the drivers don’t even see her, as if she’s invisible.
She’s alone, stranded, and flustered … more uncomfortable than she’s ever been before. And then she gets a news flash on her cellphone informing her that this state of affairs will continue for the rest of her life. She’ll be running on empty forever. The message says this is “normal.”
Normal? She’s shocked. If it’s “normal,” why didn’t anyone prepare her for it? How can anything so untimely and uncomfortable be “normal”?
As you read that vignette, were you thinking that would never happen?
Well, here’s the shocker. What I’ve just described isn’t a gas tank with no gas. It’s a woman with no estrogen. It’s called “menopause.”
This scenario happens to 6,000 women a day in the United States alone! But it’s not only occurring in the U.S.; it’s a worldwide phenomenon. All these women are suddenly stuck, unprepared to get themselves out of the situation and left to their own devices to deal with their misery. Their estrogen tanks are empty, forever.
And the long-term consequences are much more devastating for running out of estrogen than they are for running out of gas. Running out of estrogen can lead to death from heart attack, or contribute to osteoporosis or Alzheimer’s disease.
And yet, no one will even talk about it. Turns out, there’s a stigma attached to a permanently empty estrogen tank.
Women have been running out of estrogen for centuries. Centuries! And yet, in this day and age, women are still unprepared for it.
With all the great medical advances in our world, how have we neglected to address an inconvenience this widespread and profound? Why must each woman learn about it through the tragedy of silent suffering? It’s absurd!
Just as oil is our wealth, estrogen is a woman’s health. Without it, she has to either replace the estrogen or find alternative fuels to fill her tank.
An empty estrogen tank doesn’t affect just the individual woman. Think of the consequences for society at large. The 65-and-older population is the fastest growing sector of society. Menopausal women are so numerous that it is likely there isn’t a single person who doesn’t have at least one menopausal woman in his or her life. So, this ignorance of the topic affects every individual on earth. It affects the quality of marriages, bonding with children, productivity at work, and interest in friendships.
How much do you know about menopause? How much do you talk about it? How much have you done to prepare yourself, your spouse, your kids and your colleagues for it? How much does your workplace make accommodations for women who are running on empty estrogen tanks?
With so much riding on estrogen, don’t you think it’s time to fuel society’s need to mobilize people on the matter? The very first step is education. And because running out of estrogen is like running out of gas, why not begin the movement with the oil and gas industry? It fuels everything else — why not menopause education?
Education on menopause would be tantamount to arming every woman with a complete tool kit for dealing with an empty tank. What could be better for business, and our world, than that?
Do you think this reluctance to know our options for keeping our “estrogen tank” full would be the same for men if they suddenly ran out of testosterone? Of course not! So why have we neglected women?
I’m determined to change this. I’m an oil well for menopause, and I’ve started a movement. I intend to continue moving forward no matter what, and I invite you to contribute fuel for this movement.
About the author: Menopause Taylor (Barbie Taylor, M.D.), obstetrician-gynecologist and women’s health and menopause expert, teaches women the facts and options so that each woman can tailor her menopause her way and make the rest of her life the best of her life. Dr. Taylor holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Baylor College of Medicine, a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. For more information, please visit www.menopausetaylor.me.