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Why don't they tell us exactly what to expect when a woman goes through peri-menopause and menopause? I was just thinking about this on the weekend, due to a particularly bad "hormone-charged" few days. Or let's rather say, hormone-deficient three days.
When a girl becomes a pre-teen, she is often taken aside by a caring parent / teacher / youth leader, and taught all about her menstrual cycle and what to expect as she enters into puberty: what happens when you have a period and how you will feel, and what to do about it.
But no one ever sits down with a thirty-something woman, takes her hand, explains everything, and assures her that yes, it won't be easy, but she'll be all right as her body transitions into menopause. And gives her an idea of how she will feel and what will happen. All you hear are snatches of conversation from older woman complaining about hot flushes! And that they take hormone-replacement therapy, which apparently isn't good for you! That is the sum total of what I've heard my whole life except for one passage in a book by James Dobson I read years ago about what his mother went through at the time. That's it. (Please be aware, that I do not endorse James Dobson's ideas anymore - specifically about the LGBT+ and pre-marital sex, but this post is not about that.)
Anyways, I so wish someone had told me what would happen to my periods, and my body, and how that would feel. No one ever told me that my periods would get shorter and shorter, that the gap between them would get shorter and shorter and that I would feel worse and worse PMS during these short cycles, usually lasting 2 weeks out of the 3 weeks of the cycle. No one told me that this hormonal problem would trigger anxiety. No one told me that once the periods stop coming for a few months (and I felt amazing during that period), that when they do come back, you feel so sick on that period, and it's so heavy. And all these things are normal, according to a web link I found this weekend - yes, after all these years, I've found out that what I'm going through is normal! No, all you hear about is hot flashes. (Oh, and no one mentioned that when you go to the doctor multiple times to have your hormone levels checked, that they always say they are normal!)
I don't even know if I've had a single hot flash. I don't wake up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely. In fact, I generally sleep like a baby (yay), when I'm not anxious about something. Yes, my body temperature has changed the last few years. I don't feel the cold anymore and the heat is dreadfully dreadful. But I wouldn't call that a hot flash. Unless I'm having one permanent hot flash. 👿
No one told me that peri-menopause can last 10 years!!! Yes, it's lasted me years and years so far. I don't know when exactly, but I'd say close to 7.
Why don't they give us pep talks for menopause? There is a lot that a woman has to process. Not only the fact that she's coming face to face with ageing, but also all the effects on her body. And how to handle the hormonal dips, and the consequent affects on mood, and come to terms with her new self. And that it starts years before it actually ends. And that there are ways to cope, and you'll get through it in the end. And finally, when it's over, you'll be so happy to no longer have a period. (Okay, I haven't gotten there yet, but boy, am I looking forward to it.)
Note: Yes, I am trying out different supplements to help. I can't take too many soy isoflovanes because of my thyroid.
Anyway, I just want to say I'm grateful for my body. It's given me three amazing children. And it's leading me onto the next phase of life. I just need to learn to work with it in the best way possible. Anyone else had any harrowing menopause experiences?