For many women, being 50+ means, you are entering into menopause. Menopause is a natural process that occurs in women typically between the ages of 45-55, although it can happen earlier or later. It is the time when a woman’s menstrual cycle comes to an end, and her ovaries stop producing eggs. Menopause is a significant milestone in a woman’s life, but it is also a time when women may experience a variety of symptoms that can be challenging to handle.
This hormonal shift can cause a range of emotional and physical symptoms, including night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain, and insomnia. Hormones play a significant role in menopause as the levels of estrogen and progesterone decline. These hormones affect many parts of the body, including bone health, heart health, and brain health. Women who go through menopause may be at increased risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
While these symptoms are often uncomfortable, some of the less serious ones can also be kind of funny, in hindsight, anyway. Women experiencing hot flashes may find themselves shedding layers of clothing at inopportune moments or fanning themselves with random objects. And the mood swings? Laughter can be an effective coping mechanism for dealing with menopause, and finding humor in the situation might just make it a tad easier to navigate. As the famous comedian Wanda Sykes once said, “Menopause is when your ovaries say, ‘We’re closed for business.’ But your uterus is like, ‘Hey, we’re still open!'”
There is no doubt that menopause can be a challenging time; I bet many of you reading this blog have experienced one, or all, of the below challenges.
- Hot flashes that make you feel like you’re going through a second puberty. One moment, you’re freezing, and the next, you’re sweating profusely. It’s like a cruel joke played by Mother Nature!
- Forgetting simple things, like where you put your keys or what you were just about to say. It’s as if your brain has decided to take a vacation without you.
- Experiencing mood swings that can range from weepy to irritable. Your family and friends may have to tread carefully around you lest they incur your wrath.
- Developing a newfound appreciation for air conditioning. Suddenly, you find yourself willing to brave the cold just to avoid another hot flash.
- Hoarding chocolate and other comfort foods. It’s as if you’re preparing for the apocalypse, except you’ve got a stash of chocolate bars instead of canned goods.
- Viewing sleep as an even more precious commodity. You can no longer take a good night’s sleep for granted; now, you must work for and cherish it.
- Finding yourself developing a fascination with fans of all kinds. Ceiling, handheld, and battery-operated fans are all fair game when it comes to staying cool.
Menopause is an important stage of life that every woman goes through, yet it is often not talked about or given the attention it deserves. There are several reasons why menopause may not receive the same level of attention as other health issues:
- Stigma and Taboo: Menopause is sometimes considered a “taboo” subject and not openly discussed due to cultural or societal stigmas around aging and reproductive health. Women may also feel uncomfortable discussing menopause due to a lack of understanding or fear of being judged.
- Limited Education and Awareness: Many women are not fully informed about what to expect during menopause, and healthcare providers may not always offer adequate education or support. As a result, women may not recognize the symptoms of menopause or seek treatment for them.
- Gender Bias: Historically, women’s health issues have been less prioritized and researched than men’s health issues. This gender bias may contribute to a lack of attention and resources devoted to menopause.
- Perception of Menopause as a Natural Process: Menopause is a natural part of aging, and some people may view it as something that women should simply accept without complaint. However, menopause can have significant physical, emotional, and social impacts on women, and it is important to acknowledge and address these challenges.
Overall, menopause deserves more attention and understanding. Women going through ‘the time’ should feel supported and informed. More research and advocacy are needed to ensure that all women’s health issues, including menopause, receive the attention and resources they deserve.
Fortunately, many treatments are available to help manage the symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy is one option, which involves taking medications that contain estrogen or other hormones to supplement what the body is no longer producing. However, hormone therapy is not suitable for everyone and may carry risks for some women.
Alternative therapies may also help alleviate symptoms, such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Lifestyle changes can also make a big difference, including regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress.
Self-care is another crucial aspect of managing menopause. This includes getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, and finding ways to enjoy life and stay connected with others. Support networks, including friends, family, and specific women’s groups, can also provide valuable emotional support and help you navigate this challenging time.
As women, we must talk to our healthcare providers about menopause and discuss which treatment options may suit them. With the proper care and support, you can navigate menopause with greater ease and improve your overall health and well-being.
Here are some tips to help you manage the symptoms of menopause.
- Stay Active: Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle, especially during menopause. Regular physical activity can help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue. It can also help prevent weight gain and improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet is crucial during menopause. It is recommended to consume foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium, as these nutrients are essential for maintaining strong bones. Additionally, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight and avoid processed foods and sugar, which can worsen symptoms such as hot flashes.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important during menopause, as dehydration can worsen hot flashes and night sweats. Depending on your height and weight, drinking at least eight glasses of water per day is recommended to stay adequately hydrated.
- Manage Your Stress: Stress can exacerbate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and anxiety. Therefore, finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, is essential.
- Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial during menopause, as sleep disturbances are common. It is recommended to establish a regular sleep routine and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. If you have trouble sleeping, consider talking to your healthcare provider about possible sleep aids.
- Consider Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy can be an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy replaces the hormones that your body is no longer producing. However, hormone therapy is not suitable for everyone, and it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits before starting.
- Talk to Your Healthcare Provider: If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms that are interfering with your daily life, it is essential to talk to your healthcare provider. We can help you manage your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that works for you during this time period in your life.
Several companies are focusing on providing products and services to women going through menopause. Here are a few resources (* I am not affiliated with any of these companies):
- Gennev: Gennev is a digital health platform that offers menopause care and resources to women. Their services include virtual consultations with menopause specialists, personalized treatment plans, and various menopause-related products.
- Kindra: Kindra is a wellness company that creates products specifically for women going through menopause. Their product line includes supplements, creams, and other items designed to address common menopause symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
- Elektra Health: Elektra Health is a healthcare company focusing on women’s health, including menopause. They offer virtual consultations with menopause specialists, educational resources and access to prescription treatments.
- Pausitivity: Pausitivity is a subscription box service that provides menopause-related products to women. Each box includes items like supplements, skincare products, and self-care items.
- MenoLabs: MenoLabs is a company that creates probiotic supplements specifically for women going through menopause. Their supplements are designed to support gut health and alleviate menopause symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes.
These are just a few companies striving to provide products and services to women going through menopause. As menopause becomes more openly discussed, it is likely that more companies will likely begin to cater to this demographic.
In conclusion, menopause is a natural process that all women will experience. Although it can be a challenging time, there are many things women can do to manage our symptoms and improve our overall health and well-being. By staying active, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, managing stress, getting enough sleep, considering hormone therapy, and talking to your healthcare provider, women can successfully navigate through menopause and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life.
(*Please see the disclaimer notice located on the bottom of this page.)