While millions of lines of information have been written about the negative effects of the menopause and they are undeniably real, I like to focus on the silver lining, how to make the years starting with the age of forty better than any other time of a woman’s life.
Let me share comments from two letters.
I’m forty-five and have been going through menopause for the last three years. I really feel devastated. I have hot flashes, and when they occur during work in the middle of a meeting, it’s very embarrassing. My sleep pattern too is disturbed and worst, sex has become a burden rather than a pleasure, it’s that uncomfortable. I feel awkward talking about it to my boyfriend who is two years younger. Please don’t suggest Hormone Replacement Therapy. I’m not willing to deal with an increased cancer risk. The only good thing is not having to deal with my period anymore, but that’s a poor bargain. Is there any advice you can give me?
It’s been a year since I wrote to you. You have no idea what a great gift you’ve given me. You made me aware that it’s ok to do something for myself and….I did it! I bought a piano and now, a year later, I am actually playing simple sonatas. Every day of my life since I made that decision has been so much more joyful.
I am fifty-three now, and while I’m still dealing with menopause symptoms (which is why I wrote to you initially), I did what you suggested: I stopped focusing on the negatives and solved some of the menopause symptoms. Yes, I still have some hot flashes but Black Cohosh has really helped. The FDA-approved Intimate Moisturizer really works and sex is great again. Even my sleep pattern has normalized, maybe because I’m a happy camper. I should have written to you sooner. Thank you from my heart.
Every woman experiences menopause and the symptoms it causes very differently. And no products or medical treatments are right for all. It is best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Besides medical solutions such as HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy which has inherent cancer risks), there are other non-hormonal therapies.
However, let’s take a broader view. This is also the time of your life for you to concentrate on you, make the changes you always wanted. The kids are grown and probably out of the house. You’ve settled the daily living arrangements with your partner and are really no longer responsible to him. Your relationship with your boss (if you’re still working) has settled into a comfortable pattern, and you don’t feel compelled to jump every time a friend or acquaintance asks you for a favor. You’ve actually learned to say no in a friendly way and not feel guilty about it.
These are your years. Enjoy them.