Here’s a topic no woman wants to talk about because it makes us feel, well, less than. We should not be embarrassed of what we go through. I’m not saying shout it from the roof tops, but at least talk about it with your friends, mom and aunts.
This ugly ride called Menopause does not mean we are to suffer in silence. I have been going through Menopause for 7 years now. I’m tired of the silence and the embarrassment.
Just because we are going through a very natural process of life does not mean we are no longer women. It just means our reproduction journey is ending. We are not less of a woman because we can no longer conceive. We are strong, independent, and feisty and more of a woman because of this journey called Menopause.
I have asked some of my friends and family about this topic and here are some things that either have surprised us because we had no clue or things we did expect but not to the extent we are going through.
HAIR: OMGoodness!!!! I knew my hair would change but never dreamed I would lose my natural curl or that I would have hair loss. There’s not a day that goes by that I have to clean out my hair brush just to brush my hair. And geesh….washing my hair is like I put Nair in the shampoo bottle.
Becoming grey was a surprise to some that I talked to. I was already going grey but now it’s getting greyer every day.
The one thing that surprised us all was how dull our hair was. Most of the women I talked to have dark hair that shined. Now it’s dull and the texture is different. No one told us about that. Sure would have been nice to have a warning shot.
SKIN: We knew our skin would change but we had no idea how bad and how fast. We knew wrinkles would come but didn’t realize the elasticity would go so fast. One day you are putting on lotion and realize that your skin just soaked it up like you didn’t do anything. My skin looks like a baby alligator, especially on my arms. Weird.
Your skin is no longer smooth and tight. Now it’s rough and just hangs there. Yuck! We thought it was bad in our thirties when the boobs and butt began to fall. Just wait, the rest of the body follows.
You notice that ‘brown’ spot on your face, hand or arm and you go wash it off thinking its dirt. Realizing that it’s not going away, you say to yourself, Well crap. I am too young to have an age spot already. This kind of stuff plays mind games with you.
SLEEP: This is a tough one. Your sleep changes. Usually it will be the lack of sleep you get. I’m not sure if this is because of hot flashes or what. For me, sleep has always been an issue but the first 4-5 years of menopause it was bad. I would go a week and only have about 10-12 of sleep. I would sleep for 2 hours and my body was: ok…time to do something. I was not expecting sleep to be an issue. Especially because I didn’t have night sweats like most woman.
Some of the women said they would wake every couple of hours every night. So be prepared for this one. You will have less energy because you can’t sleep.
HOT/COLD FLASHES: This is something almost every woman goes through and it’s not a surprise. What is a surprise is how bad they really are.
It can be 10 degrees outside with snow on the ground and out of the blue you are hit with a wall of heat from the inside. You are so hot you begin to sweat. You feel beads of sweat run down your back, your hair line gets wet and it feels like you are in a microwave getting cooked from the inside. All the while you’re at work, can’t shed any clothes to get an inch of relief. It’s a miserable feeling.
There’s not a fan big enough to ease these hot flashes. I think it should be mandatory that every work place and home has a walk-in freezer just for us women that need to find some relief from these hot flashes.
Most woman have night sweats. Meaning, that when they go to bed and fall asleep within hours they are in a pool of sweat. The sheets are soaked, the pajamas are soaked and can’t get cool. Now they have to get up (wake the spouse) change the sheets, take a cool shower and put on another set of pajamas.
This happens for most several times a week and can last for months. Talk about no sleep. YUCK!!!
I didn’t know that you could have cold flashes, well not really flashes. For me I went about 8 months freezing to death. I could not get warm for the life of me. I would sleep on flannel sheets, wear sweat pants, 2 pairs of socks, a t-shirt, a sweat shirt and 4 blankets and I was still cold. I wore jeans the whole summer and kept a sweat shirt in my car. This was not a fun time.
Being hot/cold to the extreme does things to the mind. You think you are going crazy. There’s nothing that seems to curb these extremes.
Be prepared as much as you can. Wear layers at work. This way you can peel off a layer to try and get cool. Drink cold drinks and plenty of water. The sweats can dehydrate you. Keep a sweater in the office or car.
MOOD SWINGS: These are a given. We all know menopause comes with mood swings. Here’s where the surprise is. They can happen at any time. No warning, you just snap. There’s no escaping them. It’s as if we are possessed for a moment.
It’s like you have lost your mind for 30 minutes. Then you realize at the end of the day that you tore off some kids head all because he handed you the bag of groceries instead of putting them in your cart.
The good part is the mood swings are short lived. You don’t stay in that ‘crazy mode’ for long. They pass like a hot flash.
Some of the woman have said that the mood swings made them feel like a teenage drama queen. Crying or Raging….no in between. Or that their emotions were on an emotional roller coaster ride.
There’s really no prepping for mood swings. Just be prepared to apologize, a lot.
CYCLES: I know this is not a topic ANYONE wants to know about. Don’t forget, we should not be embarrassed of what is happening to us. This is all natural and every woman has to go through it at some point. I will do my best not to get too graphic (sorry guys).
Ok, we all know our cycles change during menopause. They can become heavy at times. Cause us pain we had never had before. They can be infrequent or almost all the time.
Here’s something that some of us didn’t know. During a cycle there can be clots. This is normal. What’s scary is the size of the clots and how long clotting can last. There’s no planning for these, but I can suggest that if you are clotting for more than 10 days…..go to your OBGYN. There are things they can do to help.
Most of the women I talked with had this issue with clotting. I had to have a DNC to help with mine.
Always keep supplies in your purse, extra’s in your car. Always have your house stocked. And See your OBGYN if you are having massive pain or clotting.
That wasn’t so bad was it?
MUSCLE MASS/WEIGHT GAIN: Menopause does awful things to our bodies. Most women gain weight while going through menopause. But we kind of knew that already.
What did surprise me was my strength, it’s not as good as it used to be. Muscle mass seems to diminish a little bit. Just keep working out to keep as much muscle as you can.
FORGETFULNESS: This one is pretty bad. All of the women I talked to are very active and productive women. They have families, kids, jobs, just like all women. They all said the same thing about forgetfulness…..it was the worst thing.
Some said they walked around in a fog and it affected their work. Some sought out help with doctors because it was so bad for them. Others started making lists and writing down everything they had to do.
The forgetfulness does not seem to go away, it’s just something we learn to work with.
The simple things like, remembering where you put your purse becomes a big deal. Walking into a room and forgetting why you are there will become common.
You will learn to re-train your brain to help you remember things. You will put into place routines to help you remember. You will learn to always leave things in one place, this way you don’t have to search for them.
I am a pretty organized person. Everything in my house has a place or home. But since menopause, I can’t find the scissors that are laying in front of me.
Since we have to go through this yucky ride called Menopause, we might as well keep our sense of humor and share our journey with others. I know, for me, talking about this ride is helpful. I am not alone and neither are you.
Don’t be embarrassed because you are in the swings of menopause. It’s time to celebrate. Another chapter in our book is almost done. We still love babies but grateful now these babies go back to our kids homes. We are still women. Still wives and mothers. We will never be “less than”. We are more amazing, feistier than ever, independent, loving, caring creatures and nothing, not even menopause can take that away from us.
One journey is ending and another is waiting. It’s time to celebrate growing older and embrace what trials we go through….together.
If you are going through menopause, tell me what things have surprised you.