You may have noticed that, although I’m a gynecologist, I haven’t written much about menopause on Owning Pink. This is intentional. You see, I’m always reluctant to write about something I haven’t experienced firsthand. I know men write with expertise and wisdom about childbirth and menopause, periods and vaginas, without experiencing any of these things. But I’ve always dug deep within when I write, so it’s harder for me to write about what I haven’t yet experienced.
But so many of you have asked for menopausal help that I’m gonna go for it! So if you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms, this post is my gift to you.
Menopausal women are like snowflakes.
Menopause really is different for every woman. Some sail through with few, if any, symptoms. Others feel like they’ve been possessed. It’s normal either way.
How do you know if you’re in menopause?
The average age of menopause in this country is 51, but it’s important to understand that perimenopause may start much sooner and may last anywhere from 5-15 years. While menopause is technically defined as the absence of a period for a year, perimenopausal symptoms may start long before that. And it’s not just hot flashes women suffer through. Many also experience heavy bleeding, headaches, weight gain, hair loss, and decreased libido. What some doctors may gloss over, though, are some of the cognitive factors. For example, you may feel perpetually forgetful, depressed or altogether NUTS! (The unscientific phrase we in the medical community use is “brain fog.”)
In addition to the premenopausal symptoms mentioned earlier, women going through menopause may suffer from:
• Mood swings
• A racing heart
• Joint and muscle aches and pains
• Vaginal dryness
• Bladder control problems
• Increased/decreased clitoris sensitivity and responsiveness
• Fewer orgasms
• Decreased depth of orgasm
• Pain or burning during intercourse
So what can you do about it?