July 18, 2014
Here is the obligatory pink rose image used whenever we blog about female stuff.

Here is the obligatory pink rose image used whenever we blog about female stuff.

No one told me anything about menopause.

So I swore I’d talk about it out loud so that women coming up behind me would know what to expect.  And, apparently, so did many other bloggers.

Which I think is good. Positive. Helpful


If I were a younger woman reading some of the posts I read, I’d be SCARED TO DEATH.

In fact, I find MYSELF getting scared to death when I read the litany of symptoms and conditions that plague menopausal women. There are hot flashes and memory lapses. There’s dry skin and dry hoochie coochies. There are vision problems, flagging libido and flab.  Osteoporosis, fatigue and metabolic changes. The list of menopausal symptoms goes on. And on. Interminably.

And it’s almost impossible to decide which of the many treatments, supplements, solutions would be best for any given issue, because many posts touting remedies are sponsored. Is the product really effective? Or is it a way for a blogger to make money? Hard to tell.

th-4So let me hold up a perfectly manicured hand for a moment and talk to these younger women.

Girls, I am here to tell you that I have passed through menopause and lived to tell about it. Because I never really thought about my symptoms. I never let them take root in my psyche. They were the very last thing on my mind. I was way too busy living.

I had maybe three or four hot flashes. Yes, I was lucky. But I spent most of my 40s in night sweats. And I still didn’t pay them any  mind. I held a full time job, traveled, had relationships. Life went on and so did I.

And that’s the way it was in my 50s and now in my early 60s.

Sure, things dry up. Yeah, it’s harder to lose weight. No, I don’t look like I did in my 30s and neither will you.

But I am here to tell you that NONE OF THAT MATTERS.

Here’s what matters:

That you live a great life.

That you give and receive love.

That you have a boatload of fun.

And that you do something productive.

All the rest of it?

Ignore it. Don’t let it take root in your psyche.

It’s just another part of life. Normal. Natural.

You will be just fine.

And writers? Stop making it seem like we are all suffering with menopause, freaking out about our sexuality and terrified about what’s happening with our female parts.

Because it ain’t true. And what we think, say and read makes a difference in how we respond to physical changes.

Thank you.

40 comments on “Meno-madness
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    GOOD advice. It doesn’t happen all at once, either–it gives you time to get used to it all.And talking about it at dinner with girlfriends can be pretty funny. The ONE thing no-one told me, including my much yonder than me GYNO, is that the vaginal walls lose elasticity if you don’t stretch them–and sex hurts like nothing else. So have regular sex ( with someone or something..) with lots go GLIDE. Think of it as yoga for the privates.

  2. I’m glad your menopause did not affect your life. Some of us, well, the opposite is true. I’ve been “in” menopause since 2007, full blown- not just maybe a total of 4 flashes, maybe 4 an hour when I was in the thick of it. Yes, it was chemo induced in 2007, and stayed forever. however… there is help out there for those of us who suffer more acutely. I kind of liken it to getting your period. Some people…. not a problem. Others, a huge thing that happens to them with more intensity than most. And reading about others who have similar issues with menopause makes me feel normal. xo

    • As I said, I was lucky. And, as I said, I see too much online that insists that everyone’s experience is hard. That it’s a scourge. Because it is not true of us all. It’s NORMAL. And the more we put it in that context, the more those who have issues can deal with it in a positive way. The mind is super powerful and what we think, say and read resonates with us.

  3. Katie Paul says:

    I’m perimenopausal and have hot flashes off and on. Except for interrupted sleep, they aren’t too much of a problem.
    But the sex, oh the sex! I’m as horny as hell and wetter than ever. I read that your hormones are meant to stabilise at the same levels as ovulation all the time. Yes, ladies — sexy, attractive, gagging for it — all the time!
    Some even say that women reach their sexual peak after menopause. That’s what I’m signing up for, and so far, so good 😉

    • Yay on that! I do think how we approach it can make a difference. Some women have more symptoms than others but I look at it just like any part of aging–fight it to our own peril. Embrace it and we are better equipped to handle anything that comes up.

  4. Oh yes! I’m approaching menopause, Carol, but honestly am not dreading it. In fact, I’m enjoying this time of my life more than any other.
    I know some people struggle, but I hate it when people try to put everyone into a box. All our experiences vary. I remember a ‘friend’ who had a hysterectomy (because of a fibroid) insisting that I meet her doctor so I would be prepared for my hysterectomy – the one she planned for me! 😉

    • I had an aunt who hot flashed all the time but my mother never even mentioned a symptom. So I never had an expectation of it and I think that’s why I just swung with what happened. Really and truly one size does not fit all.

  5. Cathy Graham says:

    What good advice! I am at the end of my menopause and it hasn’t always been easy but I’m still here to tell the tale. The doc just prescribed estrogen to counteract the moodiness and insomnia. I don’t seem to get the hot flashes anymore. thankfully. It hasn’t always been a fun time but I do like not having periods and worrying about pregnancy anymore. Those are definitely two pluses. As always, our attitude about it makes a huge difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. kim tackett says:

    I think I was also one of the luckier ones, by the fact that I can’t tell you exactly when it started or stopped. But I have slept on top of the covers for the past ten years, and I had many years where I thought I was nuts. And, I can’t multi-task anymore. Also, losing weight is ridiculous. BUT, I didn’t have hot flashes, and our sex life is better than ever. And I did come out of it with a sense of emotional calm and stability I don’t think anyone in my family (myself included) expected. I would rather be 56 than 36, at least today.

  7. Fantastic advice Carol!

  8. I may be the craziest woman ever but I was looking forward to menopause. I had the worst periods, fibroids and pain for years and refused to take pain meds and be a zombie. I also did not want to, and had a doctor that did not believe in hysterectomy unless it was a matter of life and death.
    My experience at first was horrible because nobody ever explained it to me either, I thought you got hot and your period stopped. How embarrassing to be so naïve.
    Once I got the info, advice and support from lovely, supportive women I am back to living and loving life.
    Thank you Carol for this reminder to gently inform the younger women in my life.

  9. Carol Graham says:

    One of the key points you made was to take it in stride. It is part of life and concentrating on it, bringing so much attention to it, is always in the negative vein. I never knew what to expect cuz my mom died when I was a teenager but so what? I didn’t stress over it and then one day it was OVER. I certainly do understand there are a lot of women who have a lot of problems and that is why I love my job so much. As a health coach, I show women how they can live without the ‘symptoms’ and glide through those years easily. Getting proper nutrition for your specific needs makes all the difference in the world. I’ve actually have had husbands call me and thank me for giving them their wives back.

  10. Karen says:

    Years ago, I read a book from the Boston Women’s Health Collective (because of course I did) called “Ourselves Getting Older.” Although it’s really kind of dated now, it gave me a perspective on aging and menopause that I’ve only rarely seen matched online. I think it’s long past time we got over our fear of our own bodies, as though they’re apt to leap up and strangle us when we’re not looking. Menopause has its moments, but so do many other phases of life. For men and for women.

  11. LOL! I’m probably one of those writers who is bitching about menopause. I’ve been going through it for almost five years and it has not been good, but I try to find the humor in the situation because what you are saying here is true—we can’t let this stage of life RUIN our life. Despite the changes I’m going through, I still feel incredibly blessed! 🙂

  12. I had hot flashes and all that sort of thing, but I went through EARLY, starting at 40. I’ve been done a long time!

  13. Lana says:

    My mom had the same attitude you do, and she sailed through. I’m hoping to take the same approach!

    • That was also my mom’s approach. It’s true that attitude isn’t the whole thing, but it sure is a lot of it. I’m not big on suffering and believe if we frame it differently our experience will be better.

  14. Completely agree with your philosophy and your positivity. I have to admit that you must be much better at the “mind over matter” thing than I am because some of this symptoms just WILL NOT be ignored no matter how hard I try.

    • Well, they won’t go away and they won’t be ignored all the time, but if we don’t make ourselves all about those symptoms they are much easier to handle. Or we have so much else in our life it’s distracting.

  15. Love this! Tis true. Life is what you make of it. Peri-menopausal life was hell, but then I was coming to terms with many other things at that time. Menopause, no sweat. It was a breeze. Really. Oh I am getting older and my brain is full and it leaks and loses things, but “what the hey, I have already lived twice as long as our bodies were “designed” to last via evolutionary trial and error.

  16. Yvonne Wray says:

    Well said Carol. I knew very little going in too. I’m still in my perimenopause phase, 4 years of it now. Sure I’ve got the many of the signs, but I like hearing stories that challenge popular beliefs and create possibilities. Logically women are aware that menopause is a natural event. However, there are few places to turn to for the experiences and information that clearly backs up that point of view. Thank you for being a voice for straight forward thinking on the subject.

    • Straight talk, that’s all I ask. And the acknowledgment that not every woman has these issues. Not every woman “suffers”. People who have cancer? They suffer. Menopause? Usually not something we “suffer.” So let’s not term it that way.

  17. I have those nightsweats and a hot flash every now and then but hell who has the time! Menopause is the least of my problems!

  18. I remember in elementary school thinking that junior high would be HUGE, insurmountable. And later in junior high, the fear that being in high school would be just too hard. And then college. And then the 30s.

    But each time I got to where the Scary Thing was behind me, something I’d not only been ready for when the time came, but OWNED. Your post about menopause reminds me of those fears. Once you get there the only way through is through.

    Great message about living a good life.

    • I think fear is completely unnecessary in this case, though, and am in favor of dealing with whatever when it comes up and most importantly: IF it comes up. Which it might not!

  19. I definitely had my struggles getting here to where I am now, but I wouldn’t go back to a single time in my life if you paid me. I’m 52 and having the time of my life. I’m finally doing work I love, living a life I love, and enjoying the body I have. And less and less do I give a rat’s ass about what anyone thinks about me. That’s worth an occasional episide of dry vagina.

  20. Carla says:

    Wonderful share! My mom is in her mid-60s and said that she has never experienced the symptoms of menopause. I think that, like you, she chose not to dwell on it and just went on living her life. The women on that side of my family are all like that and I hope to be the same well.

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