World Menopause Day 2022 is October 18th. The purpose of this day is to increase awareness about menopause and what support is available. To help with this goal, I invited Dr. Julianne Arena over to talk about menopause issues and women’s sexual health and well-being. Menopause has been a taboo subject for far too long! Our interview follows below.
Disclosure: This sponsored post is all about opening up the discussion about menopause to improve health and well-being
Meet Dr. Julianne Arena
Dr. Arena’s passion is women’s sexual health and intimacy and looking at it with a multi-layered approach. She believes we are biologically hardwired for intimacy and connection.
As a certified Cliovana specialist, Dr. Arena is committed to female sexual health. She is a double board-certified physician from Harvard.
Interview with Dr. Arena for World Menopause Day
Thanks for being here to talk about menopause. This year’s theme is cognition and mood. You have spoken about kicking the brain fog as part of putting the “pause” in menopause. Let’s talk about that and related issues.
Why is World Menopause Day so important?
National Menopause Day is a way to open up and continue the discussion that Menopause can be, and is, a wonderful part of life. A time to educate and inspire. Instead of being told, “Oh you’re just getting older…” Rephrase to “you are just getting better!” There is so much more to come!
I love your positivity! If you could only make one suggestion to a woman entering menopause, what would it be?
Find Balance, in all aspects of your life: in your health (nutrition, fitness, sleep), your relationships, your profession, and come back to self.
A return to self is a powerful statement. What does putting the PAUSE on menopause mean to you?
From a technical point of view, the pause will come from bleeding month to month, but we should also pause and reflect on our journey to date and decide what we want the next phase to look like.
Why do you think many women struggle with talking openly about their sexual health, whether in menopause or not?
Discussion about sexual health for so long has been taboo. It certainly wasn’t discussed at home with our parents. It was often thought as dirty, not appropriate or something to be done with a partner in the privacy of the bedroom.
There has also been so much pressure out there on what women “should be doing” with regards to sex seen in the media and magazines that women feel intimidated or inadequate that they may be the only ones struggling with an issue.
Even OB/GYN physicians are not trained in how to talk about sex and intimacy. That is why I am passionate about talking about it to my patients.
I always say, “Go home and use me as an excuse to talk to your partner, open the door for conversation……say something like… “Oh, God, Dr. Arena was talking all about sex during my visit today, she gave me these samples of lubrication……” That oftentimes will open up the dialogue for conversation at home.
What are examples of common sex-related changes to expect in menopause?
Sex-related changes can be physical such as vaginal pain, dryness, new itching/burning, partner changes in erection function/dysfunction, changes in libido, sleep dysfunction, and relationship stress/changes.
What do you suggest might help some women to cope with these changes?
I have a multilayered approach to menopause and work individually with women to see what their concerns are and address as needed. Including work on self, hormonal balancing, the vagina, partner concerns, sleep concerns, and stress.
How did you come to start working with women, Dr. Julianne Arena?
I was a conventionally trained OB/GYN physician for 15 yrs before I had my own awakening and realized there was more out there than the traditional medical tool box to help women. I went back and did a fellowship and board certification in functional medicine and advanced training in women’s hormonal health. I am passionate about helping women of all ages and now even more so as I enter the perimenopausal/menopausal years.
Please tell us a bit about your practice Waves of Awakening
I am the physician/owner and opened my practice, Waves of Awakening Center for Personalized Medicine in February 2020, two wks before the world shut down with COVID. I left my conventional OB/GYN practice in 2018, worked in an Integrative medical practice for two years and then I created the practice with a colleague after we were told the current practice was closing our site.
What would you like to share about Cliovana?
Cliovana is an amazing non-invasive technology that is really a game changer for women to improve intimacy, sexual health, and wellness. It improves frequency and intensity of orgasm, lubrication, pain issues, and I am finding anecdotally to help with bladder issues as well.
I have a 71 yr patient who said it helped her chronic vulvar/vaginal pain that she had struggled with for over 30 years! I talk about it as one of the many layers addressing women’s libido and sexual health.
A few last words from Dr. Julianne Arena
I can talk for hours about women’s health, hormone balancing, the importance of sexual health and intimacy and connection. I am passionate about getting the conversation about these topics out in the open and creating the space to do so!
Takeaways from this interview and for World Menopause Day
There is a lot to unpack here. Dr. Arena talks openly about the health and well-being issues surrounding menopause in a way that, hopefully, more women will soon want to do. I love her open, encouraging approach, and I am totally with her in wanting to break the taboos surrounding menopause (and menstruation).
On World Menopause Day on October 18th, please open up the discussion about women’s sexual health. Talking about our bodies isn’t dirty – It’s healing and helpful! There’s support out there, and Dr. Arena is an example of someone who is there to help. Menopause is a natural part of aging and having a safe space to talk about it is so important. ❤️ Christy
Top photo courtesy of Dr. Julianne Arena