Dr. Barbara Sturm kicked off 2022 with a Masterclass discussing menopause and the misconceptions and questions surrounding it. Dr. Sturm meets more and more clients who are experiencing challenges with their skin in the lead up to during, or after experiencing menopause and following the launch of the V Collection, products which specifically care for the intimate area, decided to offer a series of menopause-focused Masterclasses to help inspire and educate women.
“There is so much education and acceptance needed around the subject,” she said. “And sadly, not many doctors who really can help in a way that we’re not confused.”
For this exclusive Masterclass, Dr. Sturm invited two guests to join the conversation; Dr. Hugo Verhoeven, Medical Director at The Private Center for Endocrinology, Reproductive and Preventative Medicine in Dusseldorf and British broadcaster, menopause campaigner and published author of ‘Cracking the Menopause,’ Mariella Frostrup. Here are five key takeaways from the conversation. To watch the Masterclass in its entirety, visit our You Tube channel here.
MENOPAUSE AND THE FEMALE 'REPRODUCTIVE LIFE' OCCURS IN 4 STAGES – DR. VERHOEVEN
Menopause and the female ‘reproductive life’ occurs in four stages
Menopause is a one-day event and that is the day where the menstrual cycle ends permanently. Dr. Verhoeven alternatively broke down the female “reproductive life” into four subclasses to better understand the symptoms and effects of what we call ‘menopause.’ ‘Menarche’ is the first stage of reproductive life – when menstruation first occurs. Secondly, there is the period of ‘perimenopause,’ (which can start anywhere from the ages of 25 to 40) and where typical menopause symptoms can occur such as hot flushes, irregular periods, and mood changes, due to the ovaries no longer producing as much progesterone. Finally, after about a 12-month period, when menstruation stops, this is known as the ‘menopause,’ and consequently, there is the final stage in the cycle, known as ‘post-menopause.’
The misconceptions of hormone replacement therapy
There has been a widely spread misconception by the media that HRT is too risky a route for most women because of its potentially harmful side effects. Mariella shared that this misconception dates back to 2002, where a survey was released (without the involvement of a medical team), which prematurely stated that HRT could cause women to develop cancer of the cervix and breast. “This fear has dug itself so deep in to our sensibilities that so many women are terrified of hormone replacement therapy,” she said. Mariella added that "if you have a catastrophic loss of hormones, replacing them is an imperative way for some women to postpone the beginning of perimenopause.” Dr. Verhoeven added that “the advantages of HRT are 100 times higher than the disadvantages… though there is not one cocktail for everybody - it must be tailored to the patient.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION – DR. BARBARA STURM
The importance of hydration
When we begin losing oestrogen our hydration levels go down significantly and our skin’s UV tolerance also diminishes, causing wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. By using the correct skincare ingredients that replace lipids and rehydrate the skin, you can diminish the signs of aging that come with perimenopause. Dr. Sturm said:
“Hydration is everything – and one of the most important things when it comes to rehydrating our skin and we can do so much with skincare.”
Studies show that women's skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of menopause, so switching to a moisturizer that specifically caters to mature skin is beneficial; Dr. Sturm’s SUPER ANTI-AGING FACE CREAM is a lipid-rich hydrating moisturizer that contains Teprenone, a molecule that strengthens the skin’s natural barrier properties, and Plankton Biopolymers which help stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Doubling up on a supplement like STURM INSIDE SUPER ANTI-AGING, can also support your skin from the inside-out and diminish the signs of wrinkles and fine lines caused by dehydration.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY – MARIELLA FROSTRUP
Consider meditation to combat symptoms
Listening to your body, and speaking to your doctor about alternatives, before starting hormonal testing, can be an important tool in finding out which methods work for you when experiencing perimenopausal symptoms. Mariella explained that initially, the idea of sending menopausal women into therapy felt like it may not have significant results, but after a trial she worked on with the BBC, it was found that CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) improved symptoms “particularly with hot flushes,” because they were able to pull back and understand what was happening in their bodies. Other methods like meditation, weight training and Pilates can also be helpful tools. Dr. Sturm added, “We can do a lot to keep our moods up… I’m doing meditation, Pilates workouts and jumping fences with my seven-year-old.”
The approach to menopause should come from the inside and the outside
Mariella emphasized the importance of the “holy trinity” when approaching menopause, which is finding the correct skincare products to address the rapid changes that occur when menopause starts, hormonal therapy in a safe and informed way, and finally breaking down the stigma around speaking about aging and menopause. By breaking the stigma with conversations like these, information can be passed along around this topic that is often shied away from. “As long as we feel ashamed of talking about it or that it’s a mark of embarrassment, we are never going to get the information we need to make it a more positive experience. It’s why I wrote the book – 50% of the world’s population is going to go through it and we’ve all got to learn to say ‘I’m a menopausal woman, what have you got for me?" said Mariella.
Discover Dr. Sturm’s exclusive MENOPAUSE SKIN SET, a comprehensive skincare set designed to care for your skin during the menopause.
13 January 2022