Here comes the Menopause!
Menopause, we know, can be one of the hardest time in a woman’s life. As if a lifetime of periods, cramps, pregnancy and childbirth weren’t enough, along comes the menopause. And of course it does not come alone. It brings along a massive 34 symptoms. Yes, 34! For most women, the thought of menopause calls to mind an array of unwelcome symptoms. The most common being hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, thinning hair and sleep disturbances. The list is long and disheartening.
Is there any positive in the menopause?
While it might seem to be all gloom and doom, there are some positive outcomes to the menopause. Firstly, not all physical changes caused by reduced female hormone levels are negative. In addition, many of the emotional and social changes can actually be energising. It is important to recognise the menopause as a natural and essential stage of life. We should embrace these changes positively.
Menopause signs the end of the menstrual cycle. For many women this can be a celebration in itself. No more fussing with tampons, pads or menstrual cup. No more worry about inappropriate leakage or having enough tampons (or forgetting them), and no more menstrual cramping (for women suffering with them).
After the perimenopausal years, when periods often become irregular and bleeding may be heavy, it puts an end to the guessing game of when your period is going to show up. Some women report being literally housebound for days when their bleeding is heavy. For these women menopause is absolutely liberating! And let’s be honest, you can wear white again!
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
In the week or two before your period, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can cause a rollercoaster of emotions. Together with many physical symptoms ranging from breast tenderness and headaches, to food cravings and irritability.
During perimenopause, PMS can temporarily worsen as oestrogen levels rise and fall. This fluctuation in oestrogen levels is what causes most of the symptoms it can be wonderful when all of that disappears after menopause. Perimenopause on the other hand, can involve several years of a very rough hormonal ride, so there’s no doubt, particularly for women who experience mood changes brought on by hormonal fluctuations, that menopause when it arrives, can actually be hugely liberating.
Sex without pregnancy risk
Women in menopause can finally enjoy sex without worrying about a possible pregnancy. According to the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (a multisite, longitudinal study of the physical and psychosocial changes women experience in midlife including menopause) this makes a big difference. Findings suggest some women find that because they no longer have to worry about the unanticipated outcome of sex, they actually enjoy it more once they reach menopause.
Statistically, women are three times more likely to be affected by migraines than men according to the National Headache Foundation. About 70 percent of women interviewed claim to have menstrual migraines – headaches that coincide with ovulation and menstruation.
Like other migraines, these kinds of headaches cause pain on one side of the head, and are sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and light-or sound-sensitivity. In a normal menstrual cycle, fluctuating levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone can act as triggers for menstrual migraines. After menopause, levels of both oestrogen and progesterone fall, and this can lead to a decline in the number of hormonal headaches.
With increasing life expectancy, it’s possible that more than a third of your life will be lived post menopause. The midlife years are a time when women are inclined to take more empowering and positive chances. For some, that may mean a career change, or perhaps even turning a hobby into a real business. Others might feel confident enough to try online dating or perhaps adventuresports like mountain climbing. The take home message is: your life is not over. Perimenopause and it’s associated symptoms will pass, and you will have energy again. You have to try to get the right mindset.
Taking care of yourself
Many women will have grown up children who are taking care of themselves by the time they hit menopause, so these women find they have more time and opportunity to take care of themselves. In fact, many women find that the menopause can act as a catalyst for making changes in their lifestyle, health or hobbies.