Is it me or is it hot in here? It could be Menopause! Let's talk about it.
What is Menopause?
"Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It's diagnosed after you've gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.
Menopause is a natural biological process. But the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy or affect emotional health. There are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy."
If you are interested in the full article, continue to read here: Menopause - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare provider, therefore not giving clinical advice or treatment suggestions.
Please see your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.
This article is about sharing some experiences and my journey with the big M. First off, no one really talks about Menopause. It is somewhat tabu, because if a woman admits being in menopause, or suffering from it, she also admits to no longer being fertile and youthful.
Before I continue, this article isn't for women only. Menopause should be understood by all, especially if you live in the same household. It will make your interactions and partnership so much more pleasant. Going through Menopause is the same rollercoaster ride as a teenager going through puberty. Best of luck if you have both rollercoasters at the same time (Menopause and Puberty) under one roof!
We all know the common symptoms:
Hot flashes (they seem like a preview of what one may think "Hell" will be like), night sweats, irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping, weight gain, slower metabolism, thinning hair, and dry skin.
That's a lot to deal with, while handling your daily life tasks. For me the most disruptive are the hot flashes, because they happen out of the blue at the most inopportune times.
I deal with them, some days better than others, like this:
- Acknowledge that this (Menopause and all the 'joy' that comes with it) is another chapter in the book of womanhood. I am not the only one going through the change. And it's a part of life.
- Don't panic! Stay calm, acknowledge what's about to happen and
- Breathe through it! (Especially at work, during a meeting, or even worse while presenting, a hot flash is hitting you) Take a deep breath, acknowledge what's happening. Take deep controlled breaths. The hot flash will rise up and disappear shortly. The more you fight it, the more unpleasant it will be. And all the folks in the room will pick up on your "heatwave". You might want to call a quick bathroom break for the team ;)
- Talk about it! I don't have a problem saying that I am having a hot flash and that I need a moment.
Menopause is not a disease, nor contagious. Let the people in your inner circle know what's going on with you. Communication is the key, no one will pick up on your inner turmoil. Say that you "need a moment" or a glass of ice water. You may be surprised and soon get some ice water brought to you without asking!
- Have fun with it! The other day I referred to my undercut hairstyle as "The Menopause". The barber may not have found it funny, but I am sure some women out there are laughing. Long hair is beautiful but can be a bit much when suffering from hot flashes and night sweats. I can only suggest the undercut. You keep the long hair, which most likely ends up in a bun or ponytail anyway. But your neck can breathe!!! Trust me, it works!
Listen, I don't want to make light of the symptoms of Menopause. It can be a long and difficult process. If you suffer from one or more symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider. I wanted to share my experiences and journey and point out the positive of this change. You no longer have a period! Birth control, done! Kids, mostly grown ;) Career in the bag. So, what's standing in your way to explore this new chapter in your life? Travel - see the world; Learn something new - language, sport, hobby; Reconnect with your partner - you started out as a couple.
Now is the time to focus on yourself, your journey, your health, your wellness. I start my day with a short Yoga routine, train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 3 times a week, Line Dance once a week, and read as much as I can. I continue to further my skills career related, volunteer as often as I can, and simply put try to be a good person.
I will close with these thoughts: no matter what chapter in life you are in, be kind. Be kind to others, but also be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself, especially during this transition. You may not be full of energy as you were in your 20ies. But you're full of valuable life lessons. And still have a thirst for new experiences. You are making progress, one experience at the time.
I will leave you with my favorite quote from Seneca: 'what progress have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself'