“I don’t even like myself, but it’s something I can’t help,
I got those God almighty, slap somebody PMS blues.
Most times I’m easy going, some say I’m good as gold
But when I’m PMS I tell ya, I turn mean and cold.”
Yes, this is a song about menopause. Just because this subject is taboo, doesn’t mean we can’t sing about it… that’s probably what Dolly Parton thought. God bless this woman because she just hit the nail on the head.
Alright, so let’s talk about menopause.
Most women go through menopause in their mid 40’s or 50’s. It starts small and then turns your life upside down. There are a dozen symptoms that you will experience, which may last a few months or an entire year.
What Is Menopause?
To tell you the truth, it’s the most dreadful time in a woman’s life. It’s when you stop ovulating and go without having a period for 12 months, means you have entered menopause. It’s completely natural and part of our aging process. What it signifies is a new life, which for some is filled with roses and for some with thorns. Talking about 12 months… this brings us to our next topic:
First in line to wreak havoc is peri-menopause, which is the 12 months period you go through. This involves a fluctuating menstruation cycle, hot flashes, diminished sex drive and more that we will be discussing below.
When you are trying to get pregnant, your ovaries play a huge role in the process. The ovaries release 2 hormones called progesterone and estrogen. The latter is released by the ovaries to prepare the uterus lining for pregnancy. Then, a mature egg is released by the ovaries, which increases the progesterone level. This process is called ovulation. If there is no sperm in the process, both hormone levels start to decrease, which triggers menstruation.
When the peri-menopause phase begins, there is a huge change in the hormone levels. Less estrogen is produced, which stops ovulation from occurring. As a result, the body gets confused and skips a period. When this happens on a regular basis, your periods start getting lighter or heavier. After some time, 12 months to be exact, they stop and you enter the menopause phase.
Symptoms of Peri-Menopause and Menopause
- Breast tenderness
- Mild skin problems
- Lowered libido
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
- Hair thinning
The Bane of Our Existence during Menopause – Hot Flashes
The most common symptom of menopause is hot flashes. This causes a rise in the body temperature that usually affects the upper half of the body. The skin turns red and becomes blotchy, and you experience a rush of heat that causes feelings of dizziness, heart palpitations and sweating.
Hot flashes usually happen twice or thrice a day and continue until you have completely entered the menopause phase. Triggers that cause this include:
- Eating spicy food
- Consuming caffeine or alcohol
- Being somewhere hot
- Feeling stressed
While there’s no way of stopping this process, you sure can make some lifestyle changes to ease into it. The peri-menopause and menopause phase together last 2 to 3 years. A few changes that you can make is eating healthy and exercising daily. The rest will come along as you age gracefully.