Co-Owner and Director Menopause Center of Minnesota
“If you live long enough, you get to do menopause. Let’s do it well.”
When Sandy Greenquist had symptoms of early menopause, her OB-GYN sent her to a psychiatrist. It wasn’t the answer she was looking for, and she wasn’t alone. “Patients whose babies I had delivered were also getting older and having issues [like depression, dry skin, and a loss of sex drive],” Greenquist says.
No one had clear answers. “So I started going to conferences and getting my hands on everything I could read. And I talked one of the doctors I worked with into setting up a clinic just for midlife women’s health.” The Twin Cities’ “Midlife Midwife” was born.
Menopause has long been misunderstood by medicine, a reflection of our culture’s dismissiveness of women’s lives past child-rearing. “Women are hungry for information,” Greenquist says. Unfortunately, much of the information out there is wrong. Correcting it is what drives her. “Women have been told that hormone replacement therapy is bad, that if you take hormones you should only take them for a little while.” But there are widespread criticisms of the Women’s Health Initiative data on which most of those recommendations are based. And new studies show that hormone replacement therapy does not increase breast cancer risk if begun at the right time, and it may even decrease the risk of other diseases, Greenquist says.
Menopause is not the end; it’s “half-time,” Greenquist says. “It’s time to reassess where you are and what you’re doing, hold on to the things that are adding and improving to your life, and get rid of the things that are not.” She may not help you live longer, she says, “but I can help you live better.”
Case in point, Greenquist’s recent patient: “When she came in for her appointment, she leaned forward and said, ‘I just turned 83 and I had sex on my birthday.’”