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News flash about menopause
At this very moment I am hot, sweaty and to be perfectly honest, kind of disgusting. True, it is getting to be summer in Texas which can be unbearable under the best of circumstances, but the extreme weather is not the reason I am an overheated mess. The explanation is simply that I am going through what used to be called “the change”. It hits us all, though some women suffer more than others. I am not one to complain, but these hot flashes are a BUMMER.
It is perfectly normal for women to experience major hormonal changes as we age; 75% of us will endure some sort of hot flash in life. For me, a hot flash is a sudden feeling of extreme heat followed by redness in my face and profuse sweating. It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable. In addition, since entering menopause, I now have frequent insomnia and other sleep issues, also common symptoms according to an incredibly informal study I conducted among a less than random group of friends. In fact, approximately 61% of women experience sleep problems according to the National Sleep Foundation. It’s more difficult than ever for me to maintain a healthy weight. I am moody, irritable, anxious and just not that much fun to be around…sometimes. And sometimes I’m fine. The dreaded vaginal dryness and painful sex is a whole other conversation. All that being said, I still feel this phase of life can also be a beautiful, enlightening, and yes, even sexy time for women. We need to educate others as to what to expect, how to cope and let others know they are not alone.
Why don’t women want to talk about “the change”?
When I read about the AARP Menopause Survey, I was surprised to learn that 42 percent of the more than 400 participating women between the ages of 50 and 59 said they never discussed menopause with a health care provider. The same survey showed 84 percent of women stated their symptoms interfere with their lives and 12 percent said they interfere “a great deal” or are debilitating. Why are we not talking to each other?
We don’t talk about menopause because a stigma against aging is common in our society, particularly for women. This normal life change is perceived as bad, indicating the end of a woman’s best years. Though menopause is a completely normal part of a life cycle for anyone with ovaries and a uterus, even women seem to view it through a negative lens.
Are there positive things about menopause?
YES, without a doubt. Many women gain a sexy new confidence as they age. The wisdom accumulated over the years and the choice to learn from past mistakes provides opportunities to blossom. Menopause is about second chances and new freedoms that open up at this time. We have a newfound independence with kids out of the house and time to pursue interests and passions previously put on hold. Finally, we can focus on our own spiritual growth rather than taking care of everyone else’s needs. The second half of life can absolutely be every bit as rewarding, if not more so, than the first half. We can use this time to refresh or reinvent ourselves.
The bottom line:
Lets be allies to other women experiencing menopause and support each other openly. Educating others, both male and female, will help eliminate the stigma. What are or were your experiences? Please share in the comment section below or email us privately. We would love to hear your thoughts.
originally published Oct 19, 2019
updated May 16, 2022
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