The realisation can send a feeling of sheer terror through any female who is not actively trying to have a baby. Telling your best friend is possibly the first time you verbalise it…
I recently had this discussion with my best friend, but it was for a completely different reason! I just turned 48, a few weeks ago, and it would appear my ‘child producing years’ are coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong, after my 2nd child was born I knew I would never have another. I was very happy with my two gorgeous girls and my contribution to perpetuating the human race.
My monthly cycle is very predictably 26 days, it has been pretty consistent for years. With the advent on the ‘Period Tracker’ APP, I am able to deliver that information quite confidently. So as the ‘1day late…3 days late…5 days late’ ticked over I started to wonder what was going on. My wonderful husband had the snip a few months after we go together (about 9 years ago), and as a consequence we have not had to worry about contraception since… woohoo!!!
BUT I was 5 days late, what is happening inside my body? Is it really that my age is kicking in on the inside too? Do I have some life threatening growth in my abdomen? Have we be incredibly lucky, for 9 years, and I am pregnant?
On the phone with my best friend and yes… she confirmed when menopause started for her, her cycles started to stretch out and got quite painful, short and heavy. I am seeing my doctor next week for a full check-up in light of our impending move to a South Pacific Island to live. So I will make sure that Menopause is the cause.
So what actually happens to a female as she goes through ‘the change…’? I could go ahead and give you all the technical jargon, but let’s keep it simple… Perimenopause is the beginning of menopause, it can start as young as 35 or as late as the age of 60. Most commonly the effects of menopause will be noticed by women between the ages of 46-50.
Your cycle will start to shorten in most cases at around the age of 35, it will continue to shorten to possibly 23 days up until your late 40’s when it will start to disappear for a few months at a time and sometimes come a couple of times in a month! How fabulous!!!! L
We can blame this on our hormones… as usual, they are creating havoc for us even now. The pituitary gland is still kicking over and doing all the right things, however the ovaries just block out the signals and the production of eggs, estrogen and progesterone slows down to almost non-existence. This is what causes the menopausal side effects often laughed about in comedy skits… the hot flushes, night sweats and cold sweats. Hormone Replacement Therapy – HRT – has been used by many to counter-act the loss of estrogen and help us gals to feel normal again. The trouble is HRT has been linked to an increase in aggressive breast and uterine cancer. The decisions we have to make!
There are now some natural remedies that can assist ladies if they are feeling overwhelmed with hot flashes and flushes, do some research and try a few things, there is no need to put up with the discomfort or take harmful chemicals.
All in all most ladies adjust and deal with the changes and once the last ever period has happened it becomes a memory that they are glad to have behind them. While some are sad to wave good bye to their ability to reproduce, many women feel an increase in vitality and sexual drive after menopause as sex becomes a pleasurable pastime not linked to reproduction at all.
We are all different and tackle life’s changes and challenges in different ways.
Until next time…