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January 11, 2018

What ‘Change’ Means During the Menopause

What ‘Change’ Means During the Menopause

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The menopause is often referred to as ‘the change’ and for good reason

The menopause arrives at a time for most women when they are at a natural crossroads in their lives and leads to the desire to reassess your own life, hopes, desires and needs. There is a small window during which we can let go of our children before our parents may need assistance from us. For those in long-term relationships it is also a point when you may suddenly have more time to spend together without demands of children and are able to rekindle or re-assess your relationship. Career-wise a number of women will have a position from which there is limited progression as those above are similar ages and will retire at the same time. Underlying these environmental changes in our lives are the raging hormones that have suddenly taken hold of our bodies and minds.

With more celebrities speaking about their experiences of the menopause we are able to recognise the same experiences within ourselves and this helps normalise how we feel and therefore provide reassurance. When you see the once-lively Ulrika Jonsson on TV looking a shadow of her former confident self talking about how memory loss during the menopause made her worry if she had early onset Alzheimer’s; and Lorraine Kelly and Nadia Sawalha talking about how they felt like they were losing their sense of joy, we can empathise and appreciate what they are going through.

Davina McCall has recently stated that she feels that the menopause is like a ‘rebirth’ which many women can draw strength from.

The menopause provides the opportunity to be truly independent and think of our own wants and needs, put our skill set to work in our own advantage. In August 2017 the Guardian reported that one in five new businesses were being set up by individuals over 55 years, many of whom are women.

Relating to celebrities is reassuring for those women actually experiencing the menopause, but what about those women for whom the menopause is not yet on their radar? Because of their age many women believe it isn’t relevant. We are educated during high school on all aspects relating to the reproductive system and cycle and hormonal changes during puberty but not on the end of this cycle and how these hormonal changes affect women.

Which is why, although a natural part of being a woman so many women are taken aback when they start to (unknowingly) present symptoms of the menopause and have no idea how to manage the turbulence taking place within their bodies. Ask any pre-menopausal woman what to expect during the menopause and they will say hot flashes, night sweats and moods. These however are only the tip of the iceberg of the 34 symptoms of the menopause. Yes, 34 symptoms!

One of the main problems for women is that they don’t start to fully appreciate or have awareness of these symptoms until they reach an age when the menopause is most likely to occur—at around 45 to 55 years old. These symptoms are fairly wide ranging and can easily be linked to other conditions. A common misdiagnosis for menopausal women is depression. Most women don’t start to think about the menopause until they are in their late 40s, by which time they may have already embarked on the journey into the unknown.

Arm yourself with knowledge to ensure you are able to make informed decisions as to any action that you may need/want to take.

A case in point is Cherylin in her early 40s—after reading up about symptoms of menopause she felt empowered to insist that her GP undertake further tests for a condition that she was experiencing, convinced through the information that she had read that she was undergoing an early menopause. After a couple of tests, it was confirmed that she was in fact experiencing peri-menopause. Being under 50 years of age and still experiencing periods, Cherylin did not meet the benchmark for looking at menopause as an underlying cause of the symptoms that she was presenting. Being informed and understanding your body are key to receiving the right help at the right time to help manage your menopause.

After years under the turbulent influence of our hormones we emerge like butterflies from the cocoon. We can emerge from the menopause ready to embrace the new chapter of our lives!

Article courtesy of Jane Hallam, Founder of innovative clothing company Esteem – No Pause. http://www.esteemmanchester.com. After experiencing the discomfort of her own menopausal night sweats, Jane sought to develop an effective and stylish solution to be worn as nightwear, the result is a range of clothing that can be worn flexibly as lingerie, daywear, nightwear, lounge wear and even exercise wear. More importantly the clothing provides The Solution to Drier More Comfortable Nights.