As I sit and write today I can’t decide what to write about. I can once again talk about my gym, what I do and why I love it. I can talk about motivation, how to get it and keep it, again. I can talk about any number of foods that we should eat, could eat, do not eat, should avoid eating. Recipes that look amazing and taste even better. Then it occurs to me that one of the reasons why I can’t decide is because my brain has gone on summer vacation like the kids from school. But, I don’t have kids in school and summer is a great time of the year, but it really doesn’t change much in my world in regards to my task list.
So, why is my brain on break?
My brain is on a break because I am no longer living with pregnancy brain, or mom brain, my brain is going through menopause with the rest of my body. Until recently I had no idea what menopause actually meant to my whole body. I knew about the end of my periods, but I had no idea how it would affect the rest of me.
The biggest reason I had no idea is pretty simple really. Our medical system is still pretty much run by men. I am no expert on men but from the ones that I know, they just don’t want to talk about how women’s bodies function. Even the medical community seems to want to ignore what we all go through.
Menopause is no big mystery, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is simply another phase in our lives that happen as we age. Just as we all go through puberty, we also age out of that part of our lives. Contrary to what Hollywood would have us believe, we do actually all age and the only way to avoid it, is to stop getting older. Period….
So what does our body do during menopause and what does it really mean?
Menopause is the stopping of menstruation, so you can no longer get pregnant. But just like puberty and/or pregnancy it is just not about that, it is way more complicated. It seems that until recently there have been very few studies done on the vast number of ways our bodies change as we go through this phase.
We, women, start in something called perimenopause which in a nutshell is all the great bonus side effect of our hormones completely changing, yet still having our periods. Unlike men when they go through their mid-life crisis’ which typically means a sports car and valiant attempts to appeal to the twenty-something crowd, women’s changes are way more challenging and ever-changing.
There is also an enormously long time frame that this can all start. Kind of like when the cable guy is going to be at your house anywhere from 12-4, perimenopause can begin as early as your mid-thirties or mid-forties. Or as a bonus, later. Who knows?
Typically women will go through 2-8 years of ups and downs, hot and cold flashes, sleep or not so much, mood swings, and weight fluctuations and many more fun things. Once you have gone a year without a period, you have officially arrived. Hooray! Maybe?. Because you may still have crazy side effects for many years to come. Oh, Joy!
The thing about this is that it can’t really be avoided. It can’t be predicted, not really. You can look at the other older women in your family to use as a guideline, but then again, it may not mean anything. It has no reference to your puberty experience.
There are a few things that you can do to help you go through all of this.
Know that you are not alone.
- There are a lot of groups out there if you find that you need a support system. The awareness is growing, so it won’t be hard to find women who are going through it with you.
There is nothing to fear.
- It may seem strange, but your mother went through it, so did her mom, and so on and so on. It is natural.
Talk to your health care provider.
- There are all sorts of hormone therapies out there that may apply to you. You won’t know until you get some testing done.
- Believe it or not, it truly helps to stay active to some degree. Your body will function better anyway, but getting a sweat on will actually help. As your hormones change, your metabolism slows down.
Look for symptomatic relief.
- Something that helps me is something that I get from Saje. It is essential oils that actually make me feel some relief when I am having hot flashes.
Do your research.
- This is your body, do some research on what your body is telling you. Pay attention to what your body is doing and how it feels.
- Menopause Basics
Try natural remedies.
- Generally your doctor won’t recommend herbs or natural remedies, but in my opinion, and only my opinion, why not try natural supplements. Personally, I found that Maca works for me. It is a root that you can take as a powder, gel cap, or even a liquid. For me though, it works best when I also take black cohosh. I found that taking these supplements together, my symptoms are manageable. But there are many options out there and like me, you may find that some work better when you take them with something else.
If you are going through this very special time in your life hang in there.
Put a smile on and just keep on keeping on.
It will end one day and in the meantime, do what you can to be the best you can be.
It's really important that we don't hang up the membership to the human community at menopause. – Valerie Harper