As it is International Women’s Month can I ask you to get involved in a predominantly female subject, that does also affect men?
Puberty Part 2! I rather the phrase Puberty Part 2 instead of menopause… it makes more sense. Part 1 you start, Part 2 you stop, simple.
I hear male colleagues talk about their wives and partners; the sweats, the mood swings, the loss of memory, and periods moving from clockwork to sporadic. It’s great that we no longer need to whisper about it either, and how times have changed.
Morggan and Kamarane laugh at me putting the car keys in the fridge, squeezing toothpaste in place of shower gel, and completely rolled up when I was at the beginning stages and fearing I was pregnant took a pregnancy test – hello! I can remember ducking from my mum because I just didn’t know what was going on.
What is Puberty Part 2?
More than just the cessation of your monthly, it’s a whole new world of hot flashes and sleepless nights, mood swings and mania, dry skin, weight gain, vaginal dryness, low sex drive (I’m going to stop listing symptoms now). Yes, it is a time of major transition which has an impact on your emotional health. BUT… it doesn’t have to rule our lives.
The truth is that even on our way to Puberty Part 2, the peri-menopausal stage, women are on a hormonal party cruise. More often than not we can blame our mood swings on what’s going on in our bodies rather than what’s going on in our lives.
There are receptors for estrogen all throughout our bodies, including our brain. One of the roles of estrogen in the brain is to block the breakdown of serotonin, the “feel good” chemical. So when estrogen levels drop during peri-menopausae, so do serotonin levels, which impact our emotions in a not so nice way.
Changes in the adrenal glands mean we can become more sensitive to stress hormones, which makes us more likely to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Low levels of serotonin are thought to be why so many women experience increased levels of rage, anger and irritation during menopause.
It all sounds pretty hopeless doesn’t it? At a time where we need to be at our very best – perhaps taking care of teenagers AND our aging parents – this happens?
Fear not. There ARE ways to manage menopause and to be honest not having to buy monthly pads, tampons or Diva Cups is a bonus in and of itself!
Moody Much? One of the very best things you can do for mood swings is exercise! Get outside and take a brisk 20-minute walk, or practice yoga daily. Eating lots of leafy green vegetables is a MUST – chlorophyll is a natural mood stabilizer. Don’t smoke (duh) cut down on the caffeine and eat well. ALL things you’ve been told to do since the beginning of time.
Losing Your Loving Mojo? It happens to the best of us at any time. But during Puberty Park 2 hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, stress, and even concern about aging can lead to changes in libido. Worrying about it makes it worse so focus on building your relationship with your partner and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Intimacy will return. Promise.
Hot Stuff! While many women think hot flashes are just part of the package, there are things you can do to control them and decrease their intensity. A number of things can trigger this excessive sweating under the collar: stress, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, medication, hot showers, and smoking, among others. Write down your triggers, and then seek to avoid them. Invest in a fan. Not kidding.
Sleepless Beauty. Since insomnia is many times caused by hot flashes or night sweats during menopause, your room environment is important. Keep your room cool, stimulation low (No T.V. people and put those phones DOWN!!!)
Don’t be SILENT!
Having a community: friends, family, or your doctor can make all the difference. You may find it helpful to talk to other women who are going through or have gone though the changes you’re going through. I’d like to direct you to The Latte Lounge, a Facebook Group targeting at women over 40 who recently talked quite openly about this subject.
It’s your time to SHINE!
It doesn’t have to be the worst time EVER. Your attitude makes all the difference! Studies show: negative beliefs held prior to menopause can be predictive of a more difficult time. For instance, the more you worry that your hot flashes will be bad, the more intense they will be. Worrying never helped a girl.
Many women are embracing this second puberty. The years after menopause can be the most fulfilling of your life, as long as you continue to view yourself as a strong, vital person.
You spent so much of your life focusing on your children, partner, or career. During this second pass at puberty, you have plenty of time to think about yourself, and re-discover the new you, and instead of viewing it as a negative time why not view it as adult puberty only in reverse!
This is just the next stage of life which can be quite freeing – think about it!