Menopause is one of the most feared words in the English language. It is also the life event that occurs when you get older as a woman. No one knows exactly when it is going to happen to her, but every woman knows that eventually it will. There are so many misconceptions out there about menopause that its no wonder why we indeed want to call it a curse word. There are so many jokes and horror stories which include:
Men O Pause … or more clearly stated:
Men Should Pause
There is no question that each one of us, including some men, will face this condition but if you are open to learning how to be happy with this new experience you might just love the new you even more.
When and how bad will it be?
Depending on the resource that you are reading, menopause can occur for some 70-75% of women who will experience the symptoms you have probably heard about, while 25-30% will not. Believe me, those of us who have the symptoms would like to kill those who don’t experience them. Just kidding! Well, if you want me to be honest, I am not kidding!
How do we make sense of all this miscommunication and misinformation? I like to tell my patients using the simplest words that menopause is about hormonal imbalance.
Now let’s have some fun. I explain to women, especially those who fear menopause, that they have already experienced many parts of it already. I know most of you have already felt bloating, weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, anger and that sense of feeling out of control with your periods.
- PMS (Premenstrual syndrome)—Feelings felt one week prior to your period. In layman’s terms: PMS=(Pack my Suitcase).
- PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)—Feelings felt two weeks prior to your period. In layman’s terms: PMDD=(Pack Myself for Definite Divorce). Do you remember a woman named Lorena Bobbitt and her defense for cutting off her husband’s manly organ? You get my drift regarding feeling totally out of control.
- MENOPAUSE—Feelings can be felt for years. In layman’s terms: Get your will in order.
Menopause can vary in the number of years that it will last as well as those who have no symptoms and will not miss a beat in their activity levels. There are many examples of hormonal imbalance that occur outside the realm of menopause. Some include:
- Having an ovarian cyst
- Polycystic ovaries
- Thyroid Disease
- Surgical loss of ovaries at any age
At any age, you can have premature ovarian failure, when the ovaries no longer function properly and stop doing their job altogether. Menopause is not a disease. It is only a life event that we all must face as women. It can really challenge the perception you may have of who you are as a woman and believe me, menopause will never deny you of being the woman you are.
There are many symptoms of menopause that I am sure you have heard about, such as hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss, panic attacks, weight gain, vaginal dryness, irregular periods and fatigue—just to name a few. This does not mean you are going to experience all of them or any of them. Facing menopause is all about how you perceive yourself. You are not any different than when you were having your periods. As a matter of fact, you are even better off.
Think of menopause like this … for example:
- No more buying feminine products so you get to save money. For those who have leftovers, you can use your pads as sweatbands and those tampons if you have a nosebleed. (They’re perfect!)
- Vacation does not have to be postponed 'til after your period or before anymore.
- You can now wear white pants/shorts anytime you want.
- You do not have to worry about getting pregnant.
Do your best to decrease your stress about getting older. Just because you have finally met this landmark of life doesn’t mean your life is over. You are only putting negative thoughts and ideas in your head—before you may even start experiencing any symptoms. Stop thinking about menopause as a curse; instead look at this event as a gift.
Menopause is not the end. Believe me, I know. I have been menopausal since the age of 19, meaning I have been menopausal for 41 years. At first, I did get all the symptoms because I was so young when I lost my ovaries. I opted not to believe that my life was over at the age of 19; nor did I believe what other people were telling me. I learned ways to help myself naturally to get some relief from these symptoms such as:
- I changed my beliefs about getting older and menopause
- I decreased my stress levels
- I took Omega-3s and other over-the-counter products (Note: Please ask your doctor which ones are safe for you.)
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness over-the-counter products may be helpful for you. (Note: Please ask your doctor which ones are safe for you.) This doesn’t only happen during menopause; younger women can experience this as well.
Foreplay is the "key" for all of us. Women get turned on mentally, meaning we love to cuddle and be romantic. Once we get older and wiser, a lot of women do not buy into the old adage of "Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am." Slow down some and enjoy.
Being a woman who is menopausal is all about your perception of how comfortable you are with yourself … just being you. Remember: you are one beautiful woman. Get used to saying that to yourself, especially when you look at yourself in the mirror.
You must first love yourself before you can truly love others. Be grateful for how unique you are and that no one else can even compare themselves to you.
Menopause is about maturity, wisdom and fun-loving freedom. It’s about finally being able to enjoy life.
I truly wish you all the confidence you need and the true perspective of how beautiful you really are,
This article was originally published at http://drchristina.com/. Reprinted with permission from the author.