Our Good Life participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you.

Exploring Menopause Challenges: A Candid Discussion with Dr. Karen Pike

 Menopause is a natural aging experience every woman goes through. It is a transition that takes place over a few years. It includes the stages - perimenopause, Menopause, and postmenopause.

According to WHO, women entering their perimenopause phase need quality health services and support systems. Unfortunately, not many women are aware of this topic.

Irregular periods, vaginal dryness, headaches, and insomnia are some of the symptoms women may experience. The issue is that they may be unable to relate these symptoms to Menopause.

There are treatment and counseling options available for menopause symptoms. However, lack of awareness and social stigma remain significant challenges to getting the right help to women.

We sat down with Dr.Karen Pike, a leading ER doctor in San Jose, CA, to discuss the challenges around Menopause. She has been involved in menopause research and medical practice for a couple of decades now.

She founded Simply Menopause with the aim to equip women with the best possible resources to help them through their menopausal journey.

Excerpts of the Interview with Dr.Karen Pike

Hello, Dr. Pike. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We have spent the last few days going through your platform. Honestly, we are surprised about how much there is to learn about Menopause. Thank you for taking this initiative towards women's health.

Let us get started so our readers are armed with the right information about menopausal journeys.

Question: When are women technically said to be in Menopause?

Dr. Pike: Thank you for having me and your kind words. To answer your question, if you are looking for a definition, women who have not menstruated for 12 months straight are said to be in Menopause. This excludes women who are pregnant or on medication.

The point I want to emphasize here is that Menopause is a transitional change that can take anywhere from 7 to 14 years. So you may first start seeing symptoms in the perimenopausal phase, then you enter Menopause and postmenopause.

This is why you should start with lifestyle changes or treatments during the perimenopausal stage. Do not wait until Menopause.

Question: When do women start experiencing Menopause?

Dr. Pike: If we look at data from WHO, most women go through Menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. In the US, the mean age for Menopause is 51.

Studies have shown that factors like body mass index, number of pregnancies, genetics, physical activity, medical history, and lifestyle can affect the age of Menopause.

In some cases, women may experience Menopause before the age of 40. This is known as premature Menopause. No two women are the same; thus, their onset age for Menopause can vary.

Question: Menopause before the age of 40? Is it common for this to happen? Could you please elaborate on premature Menopause?

Dr. Pike: Sure. When women go through Menopause, specifically before 40 years, it is known as premature Menopause. This is a rare occurrence, and it affects about 1% of women.

The causes of premature Menopause could be cancer treatment, surgery, autoimmune disease, or chromosomal abnormalities. A patient I saw went into Menopause at 25 as a result of her breast cancer treatment. This is not the norm; it is rare, but something you should be aware of.

Also, premature Menopause is not to be confused with early Menopause. When we say early, it refers to women experiencing Menopause between the ages of 40 and 44, and it is a natural part of aging.

Question: What are some common symptoms women may experience during Menopause?

Dr. Pike: Menopause can lead to several physical, psychological, sexual, and social changes. Some of the common symptoms menopausal women go through are hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, reduced sexual desire, vaginal dryness, and pain during sexual intercourse.

These symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Some may experience only a few symptoms and will be able to carry on with their daily life. Others may experience several symptoms that may disrupt their routine. In either case, help is available, so please contact your doctor.

Question: Can lifestyle changes help with these symptoms? Could you provide some tips to our readers that may help them manage their symptoms?

Dr. Pike: Diet, exercise, and sleep are three areas women should concentrate on. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, and maintain your fluid intake. Exercise and keep moving through the day. Develop a sleep routine. These practices together can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.

I see a lot of women suffer from digestive issues during Menopause. So, I recommend you include a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet. You can have 2 to 3 servings of fish a week. You can have poultry, but limit your intake of red meat.

Keep yourself hydrated; ensure you always have your water bottle around. You can also try ginseng, black cohosh root, red clover, or green herbal teas. These teas can be soothing.

Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, as they can aggravate symptoms like hot flashes.

You can reach out to your doctor or nutritionist, who can draw up a diet plan according to your symptoms and health. You could also visit Simply Menopause to read more about me and resources around lifestyle and self-care for menopausal women.

Question: Will women experience these menopause symptoms lifelong? Or will they stop over time?

Dr. Pike: Again, the experience will differ from one woman to another, but most symptoms stop after 4 to 5 years on average. Or they at least lessen in intensity and frequency. Hot flashes may reduce over time, and you can manage them with lifestyle changes.

Vaginal dryness may remain and can be managed by using an OTC vaginal moisturizer every few days. You can use a lubricant during intercourse.

I am going to sound repetitive, but maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can help alleviate several symptoms in the postmenopausal stage.


Menopause is a natural step in the aging process. Aging in itself can be difficult for people to deal with. Then Menopause comes with symptoms like irregular periods, hot flashes, insomnia, and reduced sex drive. And to top it all off, lack of awareness makes the menopause experience all the more challenging.

It is essential to know you are not alone. There are several women around the world experiencing Menopause. Lifestyle changes, treatments, and counseling are available to help you through your menopausal journey.

Maintaining a healthy diet and living an active life can help with the next chapter in your life. Keep up with regular doctor checks so symptoms can be caught early on and managed.

Would you like to comment?

Welcome! If you liked what you read, please take a moment to share by tweeting, pinning or yumming! Much appreciated!