Dr. Jen Gunther, MD is my new chief explainer of women’s health. Her upcoming book, The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism is brilliant. It’s an utterly necessary addition to every 35+ woman’s bookshelf. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and pre-order a copy. Then, start reading on its May 25 publication date.
So, what makes it so great? Simple. Gunther balances evidence-based medical advice with feminist observations about menopause and women’s health. For example, she gives readers the low down the medical perspective on sexuality during the menopause transition. At the same time, she repeatedly notes the differences in how we treat the aging man’s sexuality with dignity and the aging woman’s sexuality with scorn. And frankly, it’s just plain ignored as a valid concern for women “of a certain age.” (See my recent review of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.)
The topics Gunther covers are broad. She discusses whether to take lots of supplements, change your diet, and get more exercise. And details the reasons why or why not. But what sets her apart is the common-sense medical information. If you need details about how the hormonal changes around menopause work, this book is for you. Gunther also includes when they generally start and when they may start to settle down. She explains the way various medically based hormone treatments work. The terminology used over the years is confusing and Gunther defines bioidentical hormones with plenty about what aspects are just hype.
Every topic women in their 40s and 50s wonder about is covered here. Gunther includes hot flashes, insomnia, skin and hair changes, breast health, weight, and so much more.
As a post-menopausal woman, I wondered if this book would provide information I didn’t know. It absolutely did! I found possible solutions to try for some typical issues.
On Goodreads, a friend in her early 40s asked if it’s too early to read The Menopause Manifesto. I encouraged her to give it a try. There is a LOT of information about the whole menopause transition, starting with peri menopause. A younger woman might not need everything right now. On the other hand, a trusted resource like this would definitely help. Navigating menopause is all about feeling informed and therefore in more control.
And let me say one more time, I love the feminist perspective that Gunther adds to her medical information. She minces no words in calling out the patriarchy. Sometimes she does so by explaining the truly wild historical remedies. And then reminding us that we are sadly still moving past the fallacies about menopause.
Our society treats women’s aging process, including menopause as an illness. It is not. And Gunther gives women the tools to make sure their doctors’ treat them with respect and dignity. She also gives them permission to move on and find better doctors by teaching them what is hogwash and what is evidence-based medicine.
If you need a solid reference book to support your menopausal transition and healthy aging process, I recommend The Menopause Manifesto.
Pair with Darcey Steinke’s terrific memoir, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Kensington Books / Citadel, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review.