Does this sound like you?
- What’s happening to me? I don’t know who I am anymore? I think I’m going crazy!
- You begin having sudden hot flushes during the day, followed by sleepless nights in sweat-soaked sheets.
- You begin feeling moody, irritable. Almost depressed.
- Your partner is constantly accusing you of being difficult and argumentative, your kids say you are always being mean to them and your mother asks, what on earth has got into you dear?
- If you are a man, you will wonder what’s happened to the woman in your life? Is she going nuts?
- You’ve always had a really great relationship with your wife and you thought you knew her really well. But lately, she’s completely different? She’s is just no fun to be with anymore and as for any intimate relationship…. well, it just isn’t happening.
Menopause is still one of those taboo topics that no one talks about
Whether you are male or female, you might be vaguely aware of the possibility of this being menopause. But you really can’t quite be sure, because menopause is still one of those taboo topics that no one talks about. Coincidently, it also occurs at a time when things are generally more difficult for most people. Children are rushing through adolescence, school and university fees to be paid and elderly parents needing your help. The last thing you need just now is more confused hormones raging through the house.
If you are a woman, your mother probably didn’t talk about periods or menopause. Your girlfriends might have commented about it, but with very little knowledge, so now it’s up to you. It’s totally bewildering! Everything you are reading has conflicting information. One book says take hormones, the other recommends, herbal supplements but the last one you read said, just get on with it.
Let me introduce to you the world of Your Menopause.
The first thing you need is a definition for menopause. Menopause is the process during which you transition from the reproductive to the non-reproductive phase of your life.
The best way to understand menopause is to think of puberty in reverse. Puberty was the time when reproduction began, remember those days? Emotional changes, acne, weight gain irritation at your parents? Well now you are at the other end of the reproductive spectrum. Yes, you get to do it all again. Think back to your own puberty, wasn’t it fun? Nope, I guessed not! Puberty and menopause are both a little rough going.
You see, it really is all about your hormones.
Any discussion of menopause involves a discussion about hormones. Each hormone has its own personality and plays a huge role in your menopausal experience.
Hormones are our body’s’ communication system. They are chemical messengers that deliver information to our cells, turning off one process to regulate or control many of our bodily functions.
- Oestrogen is the female hormone. It’s what makes you female, it keeps your skin soft, your features dainty and your voice high in pitch. Every cell of your body is dependent upon oestrogen. It affects how you think, feel and look. It contributes to your good health. When menopause arrives, oestrogen drops to nearly zero.
- Progesterone is the hormone that enables you to maintain a pregnancy. Progesterone isn’t really your hormone it belongs to the baby. The only reason we produce progesterone is to support a pregnancy.
- Oestrogen and progesterone have a predictable, coordinated pattern through your menstrual cycle, so month after month you generally know what is going to happen.
- Testosterone one is considered the male Hormone. Women do produce testosterone, but in much smaller quantities than men.
The three stages of menopause
There are three stages of menopause. Perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.
First there is Perimenopause. Perimenopause is a really difficult time for women in their thirties and forties. It just sneaks up on us and we often don’t even know it’s happening! You see, perimenopause and the hormonal imbalances associated with it can really, mess with your quality and enjoyment of your life.
It includes the time from the first signs of symptoms of menopause until the time it is fully established. During this time, you may have some or all the symptoms of menopause. They may be intermittent or continuous. For some women, they may persist for up to 10 years.
Post menopause refers to the time when menopause has been fully established. It is defined by the absence of menstrual periods for twelve consecutive months.
Your health needs, emotional needs, personal preferences, knowledge will continue to change
Post menopause is all about oestrogen or the absence of it. It designates the time when your oestrogen hits an all-time low and remains low, a time when your ovaries go ‘out of business’.
Regardless of what age you achieve post menopause, you’ll remain post-menopause for the rest of your life.
This means you’ll spend one third to one half of your life as a post-menopausal woman. That doesn’t mean that everything will stay the same. You will continue to evolve. Your health needs, emotional needs, personal preferences, knowledge will continue to change.
Hopefully, you’ll feel better about yourself than ever before.
So, while post menopause is the last phase, it’s not a static one. You have the opportunity to make it the best time ever. What’s stopping you?
Join me in the next article, when we will be looking at the signs and symptoms.
This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.