When you’re on the wrong side of 40, you kind of conveniently forget your age. It’s a number that becomes confusing and is pushed to the furthest depths of your mind. Well, that’s how it is for me anyway. I guess when you have had that many birthdays, it all feels the same. Plus, I don’t feel any different, on the contrary, I feel happier, content and full of life. Ok, that life is full of coffee and cream cakes but it’s all good. You kind of reach a plateau in life with a feeling of, I have this life thing sorted. However, life has a funny way of keeping you guessing.
While talking to a friend, she mentioned the menopause and how it had started for her. I was thinking, what is she talking about? She is my age and the menopause is something old people get. The thing is, it’s not an old people’s thing and they don’t just get it like some kind of illness. Even worse, it’s a my age thing! My brain went into overdrive, so now that I had my life on an even keel something else was going to happen? Seriously, give me a break. It really got me thinking and, in all honesty, I was a little bit anxious. Therefore, I thought let me find out about this Menopause thingy, at least to put my mind at ease.
For a start it wasn’t something that just happened overnight. Much like periods, it was different for every woman with the age range being between 45 to 55. That was a surprise to me. Like many women, I wrongly assumed it was much later in life. Anyway, turns out it is actually a gradual process that can last 2 years for some, while much longer for others.
We all pretty much know that the Menopause is when a woman’s child bearing days come to an end, with the monthly periods stopping. Although it may surprise you to know that, it is not unheard of to still get pregnant. The thing here is, it is not just your periods stopping, it’s much more than that. Firstly, there are three different stages, with the first being the Perimenopause. This stage actually starts a few years before your period stops. During this time, your hormone production from your ovaries is beginning to decline, your periods can become irregular and you may get hot flashes.
The first actual sign of the Menopause is usually a major change in the normal pattern of your periods and symptoms becoming more apparent. This can include frequent hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping and headaches. The Premenopausal symptoms can last around 4 years. The symptoms will slowly ease during the Menopause and Postmenopausal stages. A woman who has not had a period for a whole year is considered postmenopausal. This whole process can take around 7 years but sometimes it can be longer. Are you still with me? It is not that complicated when you get to grips with the different stages.
No doubt, you will read about this in greater detail when the time is right for you but I hope I have given you a clear brief outline. If you do look online, do not let yourself become anxious about it. We all know that the internet is notorious for giving quite graphic medical information that frankly can scare the life out of anyone. My advice is to stick to the NHS website for clear and correct information.
The changes to a woman’s body happen over a long period of time and are not an overnight thing as I had thought. A normal Menopause can mean a few hot flushes, feeling tired and irritable. There may be a few other symptoms too and as irritating as they can be, they don’t have to impact a woman’s normal life in a big way. There are lots of different treatments and therapies that can help ease the symptoms. A woman should never feel shy or embarrassed to reach out for help.
Finally like all stages of a woman’s life, this too shall pass with the help of our faith and trust in Allah.
Have you been through it? What was your experience?
I am a housewife with 4 'children' in their 30's. As a mother I feel strongly about empowering other mothers with information that can help them with the different stages of motherhood. No mother should ever feel alone on the motherhood journey and we can all do our bit to help.