I would like to begin this blog by apologizing to my mother, grandmothers, elder aunts, and all the women who came before me and lived through menopause.
I am sorry, I didn't understand, I am sorry it was never mentioned or discussed and I am sorry they had to endure it alone without sympathy and understanding.Most of all I am sorry they were never offered any help to alleviate their symptoms and had to suffer as a result.
The term “menopause” wasn’t used until around 1820, when it was coined by Charles de Gardanne, a French physician. Before then, it was colloquially referred to as “women’s hell,” “green old age” and “death of sex”.
Dr. de Gardanne cited 50 menopause-related conditions that sound somewhat absurd to modern ears, including epilepsy, nymphomania, gout, hysterical fits, and cancer.
It is a natural cycle in a woman's life and there is life beyond menopause. In my own case I was thrown into medical menopause following my breast cancer treatment. Wow! what a shocker!
Suddenly, I experienced a change in body shape, I piled on weight, my skin became incredibly dry, and I became dry everywhere (we also have to deal with vaginal atrophy, the cruelty of it). I want to scream at the sheer scale of symptoms.
I used to wonder why older women wore sensible shoes, cut their hair, were always rooting in their bags for their purses, and seemed confused and ditsy! Well I too only wear flats or small heels for fear of tripping or falling over, I am perpetually rooting in my bag for my purse or my glasses which are on my head don't talk to me about my phone. I have brain fog and to top it all, my eyesight deteriorated almost overnight.
Apparently, we have oestrogen receptors in our eyes too! I recently asked other women on a menopause group I am in on FB if anyone else felt they were going blind, I got hundreds of responses from women experiencing the same thing.
Just like breast cancer, experiencing menopause gives us membership of a club we didn't want to join but also gives us very female empathy, solidarity, and support. My advice for what it's worth is once you hit 50 years of age, get yourself to a menopause clinic for a check-up.
Join social media support groups to keep an ear to the ground for helpful tips and advice and talk to your family and friends about what you are experiencing. They love you, it will help them to be understanding and support you during this crazy phase in your life.
I did acupuncture for the hot flashes, it worked for me. I also wear natural fibres if I can like bamboo underwear and bedding and I cut back on the wine. I believe bamboo was created specifically for women. Check out all the amazing benefits of bamboo textiles for yourself.
Coconut oil is wonderful before and after a shower, I also love Elave cream, it soothes and locks in moisture and is very reasonably priced. It's an Irish brand too which is great!
Movement of any kind, walking, swimming, dancing or yoga is so good for our physical and mental health. Do what you can every day and drink lots of water.
Don't dread it, don't fear it. Embrace it and work out ways of thriving as you go through it. Live your one beautiful and precious life and don't endure or suffer alone. There is a world of help out there.
-Lots of love