While I’m not quite there yet (or maybe I am?), now that I’m in my forties menopause is something that’s increasingly on my radar. Truthfully, it’s not something to be afraid of, it’s a point in life that all of us women eventually reach. Though what could make it scary is the unknown, not knowing the effects of menopause, how to survive them, and how to still feel great doing it. This is why I’m sharing this post today – I want to help take out the fear.
First things first, what is menopause?
Menopause is simply the cessation of menstruation. More specifically it’s when menstruation has ceased for a year.
That sounds like heaven to me! What women wouldn’t want that monthly curse to end?
Menopause is caused when estrogen levels in the body drop. This happens because the finite number of eggs in our ovaries diminish. Typically this happens when women are in their early fifties (the average age in North America is approximately 51). Unfortunately menstruation doesn’t just end in the way that menstruation just starts, it happens more gradually with various effects felt in varying degrees. Perimenopause is the several years before menopause when women may begin to experience these effects and signs that she is transitioning to menopause. Ahhhhh isn’t being in our 40’s awesome?
So what are the effects of perimenopause?
As I mentioned, these effects begin gradually, and thankfully I’m told these disappear once a woman reaches menopause (oh boy do I ever hope they do!):
- weight gain <- Yep, happening to me
- hot flashes
- insomnia <- Yep, I’m up half the night trying to get back to sleep
- night sweats <- Yep, when I do fall asleep I wake myself up from the sweats
- vaginal dryness <- Yep
- diminished sex-drive
- joint pain
- fatigue <- I’m SO SO SO tired ALL.THE.TIME
- short-term memory problems
- bowel upset
- dry eyes
- itchy skin
- mood swings <- Hubby would probably agree that this is happening to me
- and urinary tract infections
Ahhhhh…. isn’t being in our 40’s awesome? That perimenopause stuff sounds like so much fun, ugh!!
So how can you still feel great while going through perimenopause?
Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy perimenopause to its fullest:
Exercise regularly – Go for walks (with hand weights!) or strength train. Being active helps tremendously. Plan out your workouts ahead of time so that you’ll be more likely to do them, or do them with a friend!
Use a personal lubricant like K-Y® Lubricants – while vaginal dryness is expected and it’s a normal symptom, it can be the cause of discomfort and soreness during sexual intercourse. Stay intimately close to your partner by relieving that discomfort with K-Y® Lubricants. With a versatile range of products with a medicinal heritage, K-Y is an intimacy specialist and is the #1 most trusted by couples and professionals. During this trying time of life we need all of our partner’s support.
Learn about menopause through recent books, articles and other reading materials (blog posts).
Talk to friends and relatives who have already gone through menopause – misery loves company. It’s always nice to commiserate with someone who’s been through it or going through it.
Eat a nutritious diet – Eat your fruits and veggies (6-7 servings/day!).
Manage your stress by balancing your work and social life – this can be a stressful time of life, especially if you aren’t sleeping well. While exercising and eating healthy helps with stress, so can working to find a good balance of work and your social life.
Talk with your health care practitioner about your personal health concerns.
Surviving perimenopause is possible. Know that you have choices and can take charge of your health, be proactive to your functional and emotional well-being!
Question: Have you begun to experience perimenopause symptoms?
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Although this post has been generously sponsored by K-Y®, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect opinions of the K-Y® brand or the Reckitt Benckiser Corporation.