Do you remember that classmate in high school who always talked about her period? About when she had it, how awful her cramps are, how her post-menstrual symptoms are killing her, when her period was late, that she hoped she gets her period soon, the tampons she preferred, etc.? One day she really topped it by saying “I can’t wait until I get into menopause as then I won’t have to worry about my period anymore. One of us girls said “then you will have nothing more to talk about.” The moment the other girl said that one word came into my head immediately: Menopause. But I kept my mouth shut as everybody already laughed out loud except for that girl.
At our high school reunion she was pregnant. Guess what she talked about? How she is kicked by the baby, how often it kicks, how bad her morning sickness is, how many stretch marks she already has, how much weight she gained, how she got pregnant, when she received, that she can’t wait for her due date, etc.
I wonder whether she is now happy to be in menopause? May be she now talks about how bad it is. But I am sure, she doesn’t talk about how to cope with it.
Menopause is different than the chance from teenager to woman
Menopause is definitively a change in life like becoming a woman when we were teenager. Back then however, we welcomed the body changes, enjoyed being moody and sucking our parents chain. When menopause hits we are adults and most of us are in the work force. Being moody is unprofessional. We have to look our best for advancement in our careers. There is a reason for the saying Dress for Success. Looking great is even more important in midlife.
In our late 40s and early 50s, we are confident women and (hopefully) happy who we have become. Then with a sudden and unexpected – we feel still too young for it – menopause hits. We have to accept and deal with the changes and work on not loosing our self-confidence, especially that related to our femininity and about our age.
When I turned 52, hot flashes started. Of course, they never come when I would appreciate them (i.e. when I feel cold). My body has changed. I went from a size 34B bra to a 34A and meanwhile 34AA and less. Do I have to mention that this size isn’t even available in Fairbanks? My solution? Buying new bras in bundles when I am out of town, and not minding that it may look like guerrilla shopping to the sales person.
By going along with the breast changes, I had to toss several sheath dresses. The brands that I had relied on for years because of their perfect fit didn’t work well for me any longer. I had to find other brands that had sheaths with cuts for less busty women. My solution: Knowing my measurements and reading the size charts when online shopping, laying the item down flat and measure it. When a sheath is wider across the breast than my measurement plus an inch, I don’t even have to bother to try it on.
We baby-boomer and early generation X were never be prepared for menopause. Our mothers just mentioned hot flashes, if at all. Most of them weren’t in the work force. And yes, at that time, they were already over fashion. Most of them had already joined the invisible “Old People” and looked forward to being a grandmother.
For today’s blogger round up I asked various midlife bloggers
What are your best tips to cope with menopausal issues like body change, hot flashes, mood changes, self-confidence, hair loss, hair thinning, memory loss, and alike?
Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should Be Fun says:
I wish I had a wealth of tips and tricks to share, but I don’t. I just think it’s really important to love ourselves through menopause and be as good to ourselves as we can be. A lot of women spend most of their lives taking care of others and I like to think that menopause is a time when nature tells us it’s time to focus on and take care of ourselves.
Robin LaMonte, the blogger at Hello I’m 50ish says:
When I hit menopause I was blindsided with all the changes I was going through because it isn’t a topic we 50ish women discuss. However I started researching like crazy all the changes I was experiencing. My mother went through menopause differently so we never talk about it.
Hot flashes and painful sex
I went through hot flashes and experienced extremely painful sex,(think glass shards) until I finally had the nerve to tell my doctor that I didn’t want to have sex anymore because I was so dry. I tried all sorts of lubricants and vitamin regimes which didn’t work. She finally put me on an estrogen replacement therapy and it really works for me.
Body changes and self confidence
I was unprepared for the body changes that occurred to me, but they may not happen to you. My bust size went up from a 34B to a 36D in one year. This also happened to my mother but now none of my blouses fit me anymore prior to menopause. Because I am chesty I shop differently. I am not about exposing this 60 year old cleavage because my breasts are real and not firm anymore, I just have more of them.
And yes, my 6 pack abs are now hidden behind a menopause induced muffin top. I have read that this is very common for women in menopause because estrogen protected us from this phenomen. I workout but I should workout more with pilates to see if my abs come out from behind this layer of fat.
Another double whammy is the thinning of my hair and my eyelashes. I am using an eyelash serum and have noticed a huge difference. There are over the counter and prescription eyelash serums, you just need to figure out which is the best for you. Mine is a prescription one through my dermatologist, but it’s not Latisse. I haven’t tried any hair treatments, but I’m doing a lot of research on this subject. When I’m having a bad hair day, I throw on a ponytail extension and I look fabulous without hiding my hair in a hat. I am taking Biotin supplement to see if that helps with my hair and eyelashes.
For accepting the body changes and having a new self confidence about this new stage in my life is why I started my blog, “Hello I’m 50ish.” I am not thin, I have not had any plastic surgery, and I still like who I am, it’s just not the old me, it’s the new me. Yes, I think about having some work done, but it’s still maintenance and my husband likes me just the way I am.
Self confidence is about accepting who you are and liking yourself, just embrace this second act you are in!
Every woman’s menopause is unique. That makes it hard to have one-size-fits-all solutions to the symptoms and changes. I’ll offer some helpful hints here that can make the transition easier, bearable. The most important things to remember when menopause threatens to overwhelm you are these: It’s normal. Sucky but normal. And the worst of it is temporary.
Believe me, that will go a long way toward helping you with The Big M. After all, we’re women. We go through childbirth. We cook meals for the family with a fever of 101 degrees. We can take anything as long as we know it won’t last forever.
Before I list some ideas for coping with symptoms, I do want to offer the ONE remedy that will guarantee you survive, even thrive through the Change. The support and succor of like afflicted women turns out to be the most critical prescription you can get. Our initial Menopause Goddess group swears that if it were not for one another, it would have been a far worse voyage. Everything is easier when you find that you are not alone. Start a Menopause Goddess group of your own (the how to is on our website – just put “Creating Your Own Goddess Group” in the Search box.)
Now on to the help. Mild hot flashes can be reduced in frequency and severity by wearing loose, natural fabrics, layering your clothing, using fans,or ice cubes on neck or inside of the wrist. Wicking sleepwear and cooling bed linens can help with night sweats. A number of commercial products are also now available to cool without side effects.
Moderate to severe hot flashes may require supplements or even hormone replacement therapy. Check with your trusted health care professional. Always try the remedies without any side effects, first.
Weight gain, loss of libido, dryness everywhere can affect our body image and sense of ourselves. Eating healthy and partaking of exercise help a great deal. However, more important in the beginning is to be gentle with yourself. Don’t give up wine, caffeine, and food you love all at once. Take it slow. Nurture yourself. Our goddess group did just that and transitioned naturally to eating well and moving more.
Emotional symptoms don’t affect every woman but are distressing to many of us. Anxiety that comes out of nowhere, flashes of anger, or depression are common. These symptoms are normal and temporary – keep repeating that to yourself.
Still, how do you know if you need professional intervention? If you are anxious about little things, wake up at night worrying and fretting, that can be normal. If you can’t drive on the freeway or go outside your house – that’s pegging the needle too far.
If you cry at tire commercials and generally feel sad and mopey, that’s normal. If you can’t get out of bed or are unable to cope with activities of daily living, you need help.
That said, Menopause can be a life altering process that allows a woman to grow creatively, emotionally, and spiritually. Though the symptoms can overshadow the gifts for a time, eventually we come out the other side feeling truly comfortable in our own skins. What could be better than that?
Eugenia at The Age of Grace says
I opted not to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) when I was tested by my gynecologist for my menopause symptoms at the age of 42. My menstrual cycle was always regular. It was during this time I started to experience menopause symptoms. The diagnosis was peri menopause.
Body Changes: The body change is probably the hardest aspect of menopause. I’ve learned to adopt certain undergarments to assist with a midriff bulge and consistent exercise is a must. I walk 10,000 – 14,000 steps per day. And ride an elliptical bike a few times during the week. I do feel that menopause robbed me of my femininity with regards to hair loss. I rarely wear my hair down because it’s so thin. I’ve adapted my hair styles to include ways that helps me feel confident.
Hot Flashes: It’s nearly 20 years since I first started to experience menopause symptoms. As long as I consistently exercise and drink a minimum of eight glasses a water a day, the hot flashes seen to subside. Although, at night, I still experience hot flashes. I wear cotton night gowns and pull the covers on and off all night. Please note early on, I did utilize an over-the-counter product that helped with hot flashes. However, for the last few years, I don’t use anything.
Mood Changes: This is one area that I don’t seem to have any challenges. Perhaps because I’ve always been moody, nothing extreme.
Self-Confidence: I made up my mind before I turned fifty that I would not allow myself to slip into oblivion by dressing like a grandmother (even though I’m not a grandmother.) When I launched my blog, January 2013, I felt it was the perfect avenue to connect with like-minded women to talk about fashion, health and wellness with the over the age of 50 women. I’ve worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 20 years. I’ve learned the importance of eating a Healthy Heart Diet, exercise and still having fun in life with friends and family.
Stephanie D. Lewis aka Little Miss Menopause at Once Upon Your Prime says:
When menopause struck at age 52, I instinctively struck back wildly swinging! Among all the remedies I tried, nothing worked as well for my estrogen dominance (which is what was causing the worst of my symptoms!) than a little supplement called DIM. It stands for a very long word, but if you simply google “DIM and menopause” you will uncover a plethora of valuable information and I assure you, I am not one who normally takes supplements but I won’t give this up for the world. It has saved me endless grief and turned my life around, and my doctor says it even made my endometrial lining shrink back to normal measurements, helping me to avoid a female surgery! ANY DIM supplement has helped me tremendously with all my symptoms.
Besides this supplement, buying special sheets with cooling agents built in for combating night sweats and cutting out carbs for midlife muffin top have helped me a lot.
How do you cope with menopause?
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Photos courtesy to these ladies
Photos of me: G. Kramm
Disclosure We are just normal women going thru menopause and share what works for us and how we cope with our menopausal issues. We are not medical doctors. See a MD when you need medical advice.
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