Thanks to advancements in modern medicine, more and more women have the honor of experiencing menopause first hand. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s childbearing age, as the production of estrogen and progestin drops dramatically and eggs are no longer released. During this time women can experience a wide range of symptoms, including hot flashes, depression and sleep deprivation.
The average age a woman goes through menopause is 50, which means that some women may experience it as early as 40 or as late as 60 years old. Early menopause can also be triggered by chemotherapy, smoking, illness, and a number of other factors. In some women, symptoms are surprisingly severe and can be treated with hormone replacement therapy.
So physically, menopause sucks. We get it. It’s annoying and a downer and quite frankly just interferes with what would otherwise be a great time in our lives. Sometimes it makes us feel old or masculine and we wonder whether we’ll ever get through to the other side to enjoy a normal sex life again.
We do look forward to finally getting off the hook with the whole period thing, though. No more tampons or debilitating cramps? Cool. Spotting and dealing with the hassles of an irregular cycle for a few months? Not so cool. It’s not that we fear the end of our reproductive cycle; we simply fear the transition. We want to talk to others about what we’re going through, but we also don’t really want them to know, and we certainly don't want to be embarrassed by divulging personal information.
Some of us find comfort in the fact that men do go through a graduated form of menopause. While testosterone levels don’t drop dramatically overnight, there is information to show that as men get older the production of testosterone slows. Many men suffer from low libido, depression, and fatigue as they get older and while this hasn’t definitively been linked to low testosterone levels, male hormone replacement therapy has been proven to treat these symptoms.
Arguably, the best thing about menopause is that after you’ve been through the change you no longer have to worry about pregnancy, babies, and birth control. Can you imagine being able to have sex like a man – that is, being intimate with the knowledge that there’s absolutely no possible way it can end in you carrying a baby for nine months? It’s a rush that many women find empowering and, dare I say it, sexy! Call it an open window in what might otherwise be a dark and lonely room.
If you’re having problems with vaginal dryness after menopause, then lube can be your best friend. Just make it a part of your regular bedroom routine and you’ll be good to go. As for the other symptoms? Your primary physician would be a good place to start as well as the ear of a trusted friend.
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Diane... you don't need birth control pills and prozac to deal with Menopausal symptoms! That is the standard of care but its not the only option. Women and men both experience changes as they age, but falling apart on shedule is not mandatory, nor is suffering with menopause or andropause. Visit my wife and I's website and learn how you can balance your hormones and slow/reverse the diseases of aging. There is a ton of information on the resources page that you can download and take with you to your Dr. If your doctor tells you they don't believe in it, fire them and find a Dr. that supports you in your health care decisions and educates you about your choices. It's your body and its your life!
DanielMay 12, 2010 - 7:17am
I agree with Diane. But reality what are going to do? So we have to all get through it and here at Empowher share the ways to go along this time.March 1, 2010 - 5:51pm
Great post. And a nice view into menopause -- both the ups and the downs. But I bet I'm not the only woman out there who would say that she'd be happy to go back to the periods and the need for birth control just to be balanced again hormonally.
When menopause begins, the changing hormones -- and ultimate lack of estrogen -- affects everything in your body and mind, for many of us. The symptoms you listed are just the beginning. Physically and mentally, there is a real sense of loss for the person we once were. It's what makes hormone replacement therapy such a controversial subject -- there's relief, but at what cost?
Thanks for making me think.February 18, 2010 - 6:44am