Menopausal females, we’ve all joked about the topic a lot, in reality, if you are going through it, it is no joke. One minute I am feeling okay, the next I feel waves of nausea and unease; a mix of emotions on overdrive for an extra bit of fun. Something as benign as a photo depicting a pastoral scene, will bring me to tears, this part of the process is exhausting. Other times, conversations that I would normally brush off would instead have me stewing for hours.
Caffeine, once a welcome friend, has turned against me and now can make my symptoms seem so much worse. I have cut my coffee consumption in half at this point, anything to make the head spins and nausea go away.
As you all know I am an avid reader of Ode Magazine, I was happy to see last months issue filled with menopause stories, it seemed to be written for me.
The first article I read was “The Meaning of Menopause,” by Hanny Roskamp, really spoke to me and what I was feeling. In the article she speaks of hot flashes being a result of blood pressure dropping and facial flushing being due to blood vessel dilation. Much like Hanny, being someone that tends to always feel cold, the momentary hot flashes are rather welcome.
Hanny also writes in her piece that:
“The symptoms of menopause are caused by falling levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It begins in tiny steps around age 30. Once the ovaries definitively go on strike, somewhere between 45 and 55, things suddenly careen downhill. Hot flashes are one clear symptom, but heart palpitations are also part of the package, as are night sweats, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, loss of libido and vaginal atrophy. Mentally, we undergo significant changes, and these may be accompanied by fear, anger and feelings of depression.“
I am just in the beginning of my journey, I am not afraid of the aging process and do little to thwart aging, except for grey hair, those I have been fighting since my 20′s. I live my life as naturally as I can, hormone replacement isn’t in my cards and I chose to deal with this crazy ride as best I can, naturally. I agree with Hanny in that the taking of medications to offset menopausal symptoms is all personal choice, I do not judge those who do so to help manage all the various issues that come up during this transition.
The other, more important, thing I have noticed in the last few months, is my ability to advocate for myself more. In the past I would avoid confrontation, unless it was absolutely needed, now I am not afraid of speaking my mind and letting people know when they are taking advantage of me. Perhaps that is my “witchy” menopause symptom, but I enjoy the liberation of taking care of myself and my needs first, before I tend to everyone else, for me that is a big change.
The whole magazine appears to be dedicated to the topic of menopause with article after article discussing the process. Some talk about how women dealt with this in the past compared to the now, a time with endless choices of medications. I like “Still on the Journey’s” by Lissette Thooft, who mentions that women need time alone, or with good friends, to process their thoughts during the journey when she said this:
But how do you manage it, sailing through menopause while your busy life as a partner and mother continues unabated? Well… you don’t.
You’ll do better to take the time and space you need and to pamper yourself with quiet time and herbal teas. Time, especially, to meditate. The harder you fight against it and want everything to keep going the way it’s always gone, the worse it will be for you.
Wouldn’t it be nice if I had the time to just BE and let this process move forward without the pressures of day to day life stirring up the mix.
As for me, my past history with fitness has certainly been a tremendous help in dealing with the symptoms and/or results of menopause. My physical self has seen a few small changes, but, due to weight training my metabolism is still running on high. Weight training also helps with bone density, which, as a coffee drinker this always concerned me, of course menopause can also cause lower bone density as well.
I still have more reading and look forward to the experience and the journey. What about you, my readers, what have your experiences with menopause been like, if you have experienced it for yourself please share?