#BeyondMyPeriod: “the menopause symptoms came on like a fury”
5 minute read
For our final #BeyondMyPeriod story – let’s meet Alloy’s co-Founder & co-CEO...
To celebrate World Menopause Month, check out the 6 other stories already published here on our blog + on our Instagram!
Introduce yourself! Who are you & what do you do?
Monica Molenaar (she/her), born in 1974.
I'm the co-founder and co-CEO of Alloy Women's Health, and I'm a mom, a cook, a yogi and a recent convert to gardening.
What is your first period story? If you can remember!
This is embarrassing – I have never told this story…
I actually took a tampon from my mom's bathroom before I even got my period to try it out, and I couldn't get it out, ended up bleeding everywhere, and that became my ‘first period’.
After that, I was so traumatized that I don't even know when my first official period was.
What is a memorable moment you've had as a menstruator?
I'm only 48, but I haven't had my period in almost 9 years because I had my ovaries removed preventatively when I was diagnosed with the BRCA (breast cancer) gene.
Luckily, prior to that, I never really had a difficult menstruation history. I was regular-ish and never had bad cramps or PMS.
I remember the first time I went to a gynecologist who was a cis-man, I was pretty traumatized by his lack of empathy.
How does menopause exist in your life?
I went into menopause because of surgery, which means it happened overnight.
It took a while for me to figure it all out. I started Alloy to help other women benefit from all I have learned as a result of that struggle!
Tell us your story with menopause
My mother and her mother both had breast cancer twice, very young, and my grandmother's also spread to her ovaries, so every doctor I ever went to recommended that I either remove my breasts, ovaries, or both. However, they never talked to me about the ongoing ramifications of those decisions.
I wasn't terrified of breast cancer because I get regular screenings and it's so treatable now, but I didn't want to chance ovarian cancer, so I decided to remove my ovaries to eliminate that risk and, apparently, lower my risk of breast cancer.
What I was most unprepared for, though, was how to manage the menopause symptoms that came on like a fury. I had the hardest time getting real and consistent answers out of most doctors I spoke with.
Finally, I decided that the best thing would be to try to solve the problem myself and create a better path for women to get education and solutions, which is how Alloy was born.
What advice would you give to younger menstruators out there?
Don't be afraid to take chances. Try new things. Do stuff you may not be good at, but still try. And also develop mastery over things you are good at and enjoy.
Be friendly, and nurture relationships. You will be amazed when you are 50 how many people you have in your life.
Why does August resonate with you?
I love August!
I don't menstruate anymore, and I don't have menstruating kids, but I hate producing garbage that lasts forever, so I'm excited that the wonderful people at August have figured out a better path forward and are spreading such powerful messages to young menstruators out there.
Had you heard of Alloy before? Why does Alloy resonate with you?
I started Alloy!
The name means a fusion of elements for strength, and protection from corrosion! I think this applies throughout our lives, but is particularly apt around menopause when things start to change in your body and your brain.
There are prescription solutions that are super effective, but it's a mix of things that really does the trick. For example, estrogen is critical, but so is diet, exercise, and some form of relaxation for your brain, like meditation or yoga.
Feel free to add anything else here as a wrap up <3
I love this collaboration with August and speaking to people who are nowhere near menopause themselves because menstruators deserve to understand more about how their bodies work and not be surprised at each stage by physical and emotional changes.
There is no reason why we all feel this weird sense of shame and fear talking about biological facts that affect more than half the world's population, and without which/whom there would be no population!!
…that’s a wrap, folks!
Thank you to Monica, and all our #BeyondMyPeriod features for sharing their experiences with menopause.
From all of us at Alloy and August, thank you for participating in the conversation and not letting shame get in the way. Remember: it’s NEVER too early to start talking about menopause.
If you haven’t already, connect with us on Instagram and TikTok and subscribe to our emails for more stuff like this!
To learn more about August, head over to their site.
Go ahead, you deserve to