Stay Positive During Menopause

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.

Of course – not all women experience all 34 of them, and a few lucky women don’t experience any. Most women though, will experience at least some of them through the course of their transition.

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. 

Periods

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.

I know what you are thinking. What about all the menopausal weight gain, as well as the loss of libido, (see here for the full article) and the likelihood of vaginal dryness? Well the good news is, at least some of these are easily remedied so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy sex after menopause. The simplest solution to painful sex due to vaginal dryness is lubrication and you can shop my specific formulas here.

Migraines

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.

Enjoying life

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.

Once women are able to move their focus away from the immediate needs of their children, they are more able to focus on themselves. This can start with getting regular health check-ups and routine health screenings (very much needed as you get older), such as mammograms and smear tests. You may also find you have more time to experiment with foods, following a healthy diet that’s low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables, and by getting regular physical activity — anything from walking and biking to gardening and housework counts – whatever you enjoy and get pleasure from. 
 
Finally, it’s important to take time out and reduce stress; meditation, relaxation techniques, or tai chi can all help with relaxation and stress management.

Reaching out for other menopausal women

When menopause starts, the key thing to remember is: You are NOT alone. When hot flushes have you taking off layers of clothing or you can’t remember what the one thing was that you came to the supermarket for, you’ll empathise with any woman as sweaty or forgetful as yourself! Talking —and mostly joking — with other women about the menopausal symptoms you’re experiencing can be very helpful by reassuring you that you’re not alone. Talking about it and sharing advice and experience, is key to helping you and others get through menopause more easily, and once you’re through to the other side, talking to women who are still going through menopause can help them stay positive.