Costs Women Don't Tell You When Going Through Menopause


You are great with your budget and manage your money like a pro – you probably learned these skills raising your family, while working in a job that pays you significantly less than your male counterpart. Don’t put those skills to rest yet because menopause costs money! And this is something your financial planner will never mention – even if they have personal experience in this area.

Why are the costs of menopause and the peri-menopausal years leading up to it rarely considered? For the most part, menopausal transition is virtually invisible in Western cultural as a whole. We don’t talk about menopause, except to comment on the loss of fertility, youth and beauty that is associated with women’s aging. Women will often avoid discussing their own menopausal concerns with others because of a sense of embarrassment or shame associated with the stigma of aging. Like in puberty, women’s bodies change in many ways. Whereas puberty is a time of celebration, menopause marks a loss of femininity and sexuality that is best unacknowledged. When we do think about the costs of aging, we often think of botox, liposuction, or face-lifts and other obvious, high-profile expenses that some women choose. 

Despite these cultural views, many women feel a mixture of confusion and anticipated liberation when entering menopause. They look forward to a time when their body’s reproductive capacities play a less obvious part in their daily life.

Here are 9 ‘invisible’ costs to consider when planning for your financial needs during menopause.

1) Prior to the conclusion of your menstrual cycle, you will likely bleed quite heavily and with greater frequency than usual. For many women with significant and consistent blood loss, the cost of tampons and pads soars since they must be sure to have extra pads at the office, the gym, and stuffed in every purse and glove compartment around.

2) You may also need iron supplements, since iron deficiency is common in menopausal women.  In extreme cases, the transmission of iron directly into your blood may be recommended by your doctor.  Some women receive injections designed to stop the heavy flow of blood. These medical interventions may be costly especially if you lack health insurance.

3) You may need to take a few days off work due to heavy bleeding, or a loss of energy. If you are paid by the hour and have no access to paid sick days, your income will take a hit. And if you are one of the growing numbers of women who, with the guidance of their doctor, opt for a hysterectomy, your recovery time can put a significant dent into your yearly income.

4) You may gain some weight – even though you are still at the gym regularly, and eat like a bird. Factor this in when considering your clothing budget for the year. You don’t need to spend a lot on new clothes. Just buy a few new pieces so that you look and feel better in clothes that fit you properly.

5) Don’t forget about your bra. Menopausal women often notice a change in the size and shape of their breasts – sometimes your breasts may feel swollen and puff over the top of your bra. Without a well fitting bra, even the nicest clothing will not fit right. A good bra can be costly so don’t forget to factor that into your budget.

6) To fight weight gain, you may hire a personal trainer who can help you focus more effectively on your menopausal body. A decrease in metabolism means that many menopausal women need to increase their caloric usage during a workout, and build muscle and bone mass more consciously. A few sessions with a good fitness trainer can help you fine-tune your workout. If you are not a gym junkie, choosing to walk instead of drive can help you increase your calorie use, while keeping the pocketbook in check.

7) To diminish the effects of hot flashes you may decide to change your eating habits. Processed and sugary foods have been linked to menopausal symptoms. Going organic with a greater number of fresh vegetables will cost more, especially if you live in a colder climate.

8) Many menopausal women experience changes in their hair, skin and nails. Your usual hair colour and conditioner, and your favourite skin and nail cream might not work as well for you. Be prepared to purchase a few other brands of personal products during this time. You don’t have to through away your half used bottles – you can share them with your girlfriends.

9) Menopause coincides with several life changes for many women. Their kids leave home. They start a new job, or leave their existing job. They may return to school. They may separate or divorce, and start a new relationship with someone else. Menopause accompanies the challenges of being a 50+ woman in a culture where aging is often associated with disease and loss of vitality. Focused sessions with a professional therapist can increase your awareness of how to move forward into the second half of your life. Counseling can provide the insights and strategies that even the best conversations with your girlfriends and sisters miss. With a bit of searching, you can find a counselor for every budget.

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Menopause marks a big change in the lives of many women. You are better able to welcome this change when you plan for these ‘invisible’ financial needs.