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The Bright Side Of Menopause

The Bright Side Of Menopause

I recently turned 50, and menopause is no doubt in my not-too-distant future. Instead of laughing at the birthday cards about hot flashes that I receive and then afterward feeling down about getting older, I’ve decided I’m going to look on the bright side. I am going to look forward to menopause as an interesting adventure, an experience that will usher in a whole new phase of my life.

As with most adventures, of course, there are challenges. Here are my thoughts on a few of them.

Menopausal “Symptoms”
First of all, if you’ve been reading about menopause, you’ve probably noticed that everywhere you go you read about “symptoms” of menopause. “Symptom” is a word that implies health problem or disease, and menopause is NOT a disease. I will not use the word “symptom” when it comes to menopause. Instead, I’ll be on the lookout for signs of menopause approaching.

Hot Flashes
It seems that No. 1 among the discomforts caused by menopause is hot flashes. It’s easy to forget that many women never experience a hot flash at all, and many others experience only mild flashes. If your mother, like mine, was lucky enough to not have severe hot flashes, then it’s likely that your experience will be similar.

And, on the bright side of hot flashes: Layering of clothing is stylish! There are now lots of choices for lovely, breathable, stylish clothes made from organic fibers to pile on and peel off.

Decreased Sex Drive
There are a few positive ways to view the possibility of a decreased sex drive after menopause. First, as with hot flashes, not every woman experiences a decrease at all. Secondly, it could actually be kind of a relief. I’ve talked to many women who felt they were more able to concentrate on their careers, families&#151whatever it was that they loved&#151more fully when not quite so “driven.” Lastly, maybe as we get older it’s okay to acknowledge that we are, well, older. Possibly a good way to view sex in later life is: Quality over quantity.

Botanicals
There are several botanical remedies that may help ease the discomforts of menopause, including black cohosh, dong quai, ginseng, kava, red clover extract, and soy. It’s difficult to determine which among these works and doesn’t work, even after reading the research. The bright side: Most often, botanicals have few if any negative side effects. You should definitely, however, let your primary health care person know what botanical or remedy you are using.

New Studies
There are many studies on other alternative methods of coping with menopause that, in the future, will let us know with more certainty what might help. Some of the studies include:

  • Royal jelly mixed with bee and flower pollen: How it affects vaginal dryness and fatigue associated with menopause.
  • Botanicals used by Central American populations: Whether it can ease menopausal discomforts.
  • Acupuncture: Viability for easing hot flashes.
  • Mindfulness-based stress: Can it reduce hot flashes.
  • Soy supplements: How they affect hot flashes and night sweats.

An End In Sight
Menopause is an end to ovulation and menstruation. It is a naturally occurring event in a woman’s life. It is a phase, a period (oops, no pun intended) of change. It does not signify that your life is coming to an end, and does not mean that you will experience sudden and drastic changes in your health.

The Bright Side
A positive attitude does make a difference in how a woman experiences menopause. A Danish study found that the strongest predictors of the way a woman will experience menopause, including sexuality, were their health earlier in life, their social circumstances and their expectations of menopausal changes.

So look on the bright side, and keep doing those good things that you do, like exercising energetically, eating healthily, resting well and deeply, and keep in mind that the hot flashes, moodiness, irregular periods and other discomforts do eventually come to an end. And chances are you will continue to have good health for many years to come.

Read more: Health, Menopause, Mental Wellness, Women's Health

By Lynn Behrendt, Care2 Green Living contributing writer

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Lynn Behrendt

Lynn Behrendt is a writer, poet and sculptor of steel. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and two sons.

51 comments

+ add your own
12:44AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

The best thing about menopause is NO MORE PERIODS! No more accidents while on a date at a restaurant, or while working out at the gym. Free of all menses. But that is about it.

10:21AM PDT on May 21, 2012

It's a part of a woman's life, just like getting that first menstrual period and should be treated with respect but with the idea that it IS a part of life and doesn't need to be 'medicated' away.

7:13AM PDT on May 13, 2012

It is just a part of life. There is no way out except going through it

2:46AM PDT on May 5, 2012

After several years of going through menopause, I'm looking forward to the END of it. I agree with Lynne B. - I was fine with it for a few years but I've had enough of it now - especially the feelings of irritability and depression.

11:15PM PDT on May 4, 2012

You can be bright and cheerful in the beginning but after 2+ years of hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia it gets very wearing. I'm not being a gloom and doom merchant just a grumpy tired person.

11:16AM PDT on May 1, 2012

It's comforting to know there is a "bright side". Also, it is a phase and won't last forever anyway. Herbs can be of tremendous support both during and after menopause to restore balance to body and mind. Womentowomen.com is a site with very helpful information. Thank you to all who have made encouraging comments.

3:52AM PDT on May 1, 2012

A slight sensation of being too hot lasted for quite a few years following menopause but other than that I feel the same as I always did.

3:50PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Thank you.

12:39PM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Menopause! One of the many things that come with it and are liked is the lack of your period. White pants any day. I had a hystorectomy and still had all the facets of menopause. What a bummer. Put it's over and life has a lot of up sides now.

Just a quick question: Why is it named "men"opause? The men don't have all the fun of going thru it.

8:31AM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Thank you

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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