Surviving The Menopause One Day At A Time

Last Updated on: 20th January 2022, 12:33 am

Surviving The Menopause

I wanted to call this blog post ‘ Surviving The Bastard Menopause’. But then thought better of it, because I do work with brands on the blog here. And swearing on your website really isn’t the done thing. But I actually stand by my words. Menopause is a bastard! I am 49 years old and it has been going on for two years now. In January 2020, I went to the doctor because my periods were so irregular. But he told me that I hadn’t hit the actual menopause until my periods had stopped for a year. A whole frigging year! Then Covid hit and surviving the menopause became the least of my worries. I have written about it previously here

With menopause, it is like a waiting game. You go 3 months without a period, then the fourth and fifth months. You dare to believe it could almost be over and then ….. SURPRISE! Thats right your period is back and you have to start that 12 months wait again. There were days when I was so glad to see my period once a month. Not now though!

It seems that all of your adult life, or rather from the age of about 12. We have had to cope with periods. But as women, we still get up, despite crippling pain and we carry on as normal. Because that’s what women do – they just get on with it.

The menopause

What I didn’t know until I spoke to friends is that you don’t actually go through menopause straight away. Before menopause, you go through Peri-menopause. So as if one menopause wasn’t bad enough. It is like you go through a practice one, before the real one. A dress rehearsal, if you like.

If you have a group of friends around the same age, it is easy to get together over a glass of gin and tonic. Then you can talk about menopause and share your experiences. It is good to have someone to share it with because we all know that men just won’t get it. I guess it’s also a natural progression that you have all had your kids together and gone through the ups and downs of that. Now you are all onto the next stage of your life. At the moment ladies, it is a little bit bleak! What did women ever do to piss off Mother Nature?

Symptoms of peri-menopause

  • Irregular periods. Your periods will become irregular. Some people may find them heavier but some people find they skip periods. If you are one of the lucky ones that skips periods like me, then it isn’t too bad. If you go 60 days without periods, you are considered to be in the late stages of peri-menopause. Your body is preparing for the next stage.
  • Hot flushes and sleep problems. When you are peri-menopausal you will probably get hot flushes. These come and go. How long they last for can be different every time and with different people. At work they know all about my hot flushes, because I want the air conditioning on all of the time. Even in winter, I cannot work with the heating on. Hot flushes can keep you awake at night. It is best to sleep with windows open and use sheets instead of a duvet if you need to.
  • Mood changes. This is caused by your hormaones being all over the place as well as the lack of sleep you are getting. Some women suffer from depression through the menopause, if this is you, then you can speak to the GP and they will give you some medication to help.
  • Vaginal and bladder problems. When estrogen levels start to lower, you lose lubrication and elasticity in your vagina, so sex can be painful and you lose wanting for sex. This is okay, your sexlife will come back! Low estrogen also means you are more suseptible to UTI’s. Loss of tissue tone may also mean you suffer from urinary incontinence.
  • Fertility. As your periods are all over the place, so will you fertility. If you do have sex on a regular basis, you need to use protection. If you want another baby as a last hurrah, then try for one. But if you are not, make sure you do protect yourself. Use birth control until 12 months after your last period.
  • Fragile Bones. When women go through the menopause, they find that their bones are not as strong. As I found out myself in October when I broke my wrist. So take more care with your bones, because if you break them they will not repair as well as if you were younger;
  • Changing cholesterol levels. Declining estrogen levels means that your cholestrol may be higher than it should be. This can lead to heart problems, so make sure you get your cholestrol checked reguarly with your surgery.

Needing HRT

Surviving menopause for most women is plain sailing. But for others, need a little help with hormone replacement therapy. Because of the deteriorating oestrogen levels, that’s why you feel so bad all of the time. If you cannot cope with this, ask for HRT it will help you through menopause. You might also need to have progestogen to protect the lining of your womb if you have one. HRT is available as tablets, skin patches, a gel to rub into the skin or implants.

HRT can relieve so many of the symptoms of menopause like hot flushes, joint pain, brain fog, mood swings etc. But it can also help with making your bones stronger and preventing osteoporosis. Although HRT helps many women, there are side effects like increased risk of breast cancer and blood clots. So you need to really know whether HRT is for you or not.

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