Menopause

Her Period Days Are Over and Mostly Forgotten

As a younger woman, I imagined feeling daily gratitude once my period days were over. How incredible it would be!

I suffered from many manifestations of PMS that started at mid-cycle. Then the cramps hit. Basically, I had one week a month when my body felt content. Even when Cliff and I argued about this and that, I remember thinking but I suffer so from being a woman. The whole world needs to cut me a million breaks.

So am I now in a state of constant appreciation that I am period-free?

Nope.

Why?

I’m not really sure, but here are two theories:

First off, I’d love to have some of that estrogen back.

Second, menopause is a transition complete with its own problems. It’s not like a fairy suddenly waves her wand and says, “Poof. You’re done!”  As our bodies weather through menopause, I think the other problems can cloud the happy feeling of no more periods.

When I saw the above article in Oprah Magazine, I realized I don’t even think about my period anymore. In fact, it’s not even in my radar that other women are suffering like I once did. I wish all of them well of course. I just forget.

Here’s a post I wrote when the blog was brand new eight years ago about mourning the loss of periods, an emotion that surprised me then.

Am I mourning  the college girl, long gone, who dealt with periods as she juggled research papers, boyfriend, and dorm conversations that ended in happy hysterics?  Am I missing the possibility of one more sweet baby?  Am I grieving for a body that amazed me because it could count the days?  Am I worrying about the body now, which certainly seems less efficient, and the one to come?

The end of periods was very much on my mind eight years ago. It’s not now.

I’m not sure what my point is. Maybe just that life moves on. At best we embrace those changes.

What about you? Do you remember to be thankful your periods are gone? Do you miss them in any way?

And for you young ones, how anxious are you for those days to be over?

Menopause

Menopause: Choose the Right Perspective (and a Book Giveaway!)

A guest post by health writer and menopause advocate Lori Ann King. Take it away, Lori, and thank you!

I believe perspective plays a huge role in how we enter menopause, regardless of whether it is natural or surgically induced, as well as in how quickly we heal.

Think back to when you first got your period. What was your perspective? Did you view it as an honor as you stepped into womanhood, like my friend Susan? Or were you more like my friend Stephanie, who viewed it as terribly embarrassing—always having accidents and not being able to go in the water at the beach for fear of bleeding through? For me, I understood that getting my period made me a woman and enabled me to have children. With my young naïve mind, I thought that the day I got my period I would become pregnant. Silly? Or the power of a child’s brain who takes things literally?

What is your perspective on menopause? Is it a time of distress and discomfort? A signal of aging? Do you fear the best years are behind you? Are you focused completely on your symptoms? Or do you see this transition as a rite of passage and a time to discover or rediscover your power, purpose, passion, and authenticity?

I love that the Chinese refer to menopause as the second spring. They consider it a time to reflect on life and turn our focus inward to nurture ourselves. That rings true for me, as this season of my life already has had an ongoing theme of self-love, self-care, and self-reflection.

Just like surgery may have benefits of alleviating pain or risk of disease, menopause can be a wonderful transition with positive side effects such as:

  • No more periods, cramping, tampons, or pads.
  • We can finally wear white pants again, any time of the month.
  • We can enjoy sex without risk of pregnancy.
  • We may have greater confidence and self-assuredness.
  • We don’t have to schedule our sex lives, athletics, or vacations around our periods.

After my surgery, it took time for my body to heal physically. It took even longer for my mind and emotional health to stabilize.

There were times when I felt broken. I had to constantly remind myself that I was in a state of healing and change. Even though I felt broken, I told myself that I was whole, strong, and valuable.

Surgery and surgical menopause can be both frustrating and exhausting. The last thing we need to do is to beat ourselves up. And isn’t that one of our greatest strengths as women? We think we should heal faster, we shouldn’t cry for no reason, and we should be able to do it all… even right after a surgery. The only thing we need to do is cut ourselves some slack and remind ourselves that this too shall pass.

That’s a perspective I can embrace.

Book Giveaway:  Win a copy of Lori’s excellent and very readable book, Come Back Strong: Balanced Wellness after Surgical Menopause. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by September 20. Thanks!

Lori Ann King is a writer, speaker, certified sports nutritionist, and wellness coach with over eight years of experience in health and wellness with Isagenix. Lori currently resides in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband, Jim, a certified personal trainer & sports nutritionist and wellness/business coach.

Menopause

A Coloring Book About Menopause! (And a Giveaway)

 

A post by Avaeh Kirstopher, creator of a coloring book about one of our very favorite topics: Menopause! Take it away Avaeh, and thank you!

I am Avaeh Kristopher, a woman in my 50s who has loved animals and creating art all my life. I finally decided to create a book about menopause since it’s something I went through a few years ago.

Why? To maybe help people laugh a little bit about it and feel better about themselves through the art of coloring.

I chose bright colors for the cover because typically when people think about menopause, they don’t tend to think bright colors and fun things. They tend to think just the opposite, so I hope this coloring book will change that perception just a bit.

And I hope the sayings and the drawings and all the art inside help make your readers laugh a little bit and maybe even change their mindset some about menopause because, hey, we’re all going to go through it whether we want to or not – may as well have a good time doing it, right?

Giveaway: Avaeh is giving a copy of her coloring book to one lucky Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by November 25. Thanks!

Amazon Link: Here’s how you can buy a copy for yourself and copies for friends. What a great girlfriend birthday present or hostess gift.

Avaeh tells us more about herself:  I’ve led many lives while here on this planet – child, friend, partner, parent – but I’ve always been an artist too. As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to draw, craft and sketch, have always had pets and love being in the great outdoors. My friends call me a hippie and that’s okay with me – I take it as a great compliment. I am definitely not the conventional or corporate type – I am much more of a free spirit who enjoys a good joke, colorful language and insightful conversations over high heels and the newest trends in fashion. Give me a tee shirt, jeans and some comfortable shoes any day over all of that and I’ll be as happy as can be. Now I guess I can add author to my list too. I hope you enjoy my new coloring book – hopefully the first of many to come.

AvaehK

Menopause

Goodbye Period: Five Reasons I’m Happy and Five Reasons I’m Sad


Date of my most recent period?

2007, I think.

Nothing like filling out the form at your gynecologist’s office to make  you realize your period days really are over.

When you’re in the midst of periods, you think it’s going to be fabulous to be done.

But to my surprise, I found some bittersweet elements to being finished with periods.

And I’m delighted that Period! Magazine published my reflections. Read my article, “Goodbye Period! Five Reasons I’m Happy and Five Reasons I’m sad” right here.

Here’s the Dutch version. Very exciting to have my words translated.

What about you? If you’re finished, do you miss your period at all?

If not, can you even imagine missing your period?

And from our friends at Slumber Cloud, some herbal ideas and tea recipes for those in perimenopause and those in menopause.

Menopause

Menopause Awareness Month: Tips for Finding Natural Hot Flash Relief

NovaSoy Blog Post Image

 

Happy Menopause Awareness Month! This post was written and sponsored by NovaSoy

As women enter their 40s and 50s, it’s inevitable: perimenopause and menopause will begin. And, so will the hot flashes—one of the most common, symptoms of menopause.

There are a variety of natural solutions for overcoming these unpleasant hot flashes. Natural remedies typically involve plants or habitual lifestyle changes. As we embark on Menopause Awareness Month, we wanted to share these effective options for natural hot flash relief:

  • Take a Supplement based on Nature – Supplements containing soy isoflavones rich in genistein, naturally-occurring compounds with a chemical structure similar to estrogen, have been scientifically proven to reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes by approximately 20 to 30 percent. To make sure the supplement contains the right amount of soy isoflavones, just look for the green NovaSoy® brand leaf on the labels of over-the-counter supplements widely found in drug, grocery and health & nutrition stores.
  • Focus on Nutrition – The right kind of diet is full of fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, legumes and soy. For some women, certain foods trigger hot flashes. Common triggers include coffee, spicy foods or alcohol. Additionally, avoiding caffeine or alcohol within three hours of bedtime may decrease the likelihood of night sweats interrupting sleep.
  • Exercise Regularly – Exercise has been shown to reduce hot flashes as well as a host of other menopause-related issues women face, including sleep disturbances. However, to reap the full benefits, it’s important to incorporate a variety of techniques including aerobic, weight-bearing, strength training and relaxation exercises like yoga.
  • Deflate Stress with Therapy – It’s been proven that lowering stress levels helps decrease menopausal hot flashes. There are many ways to alleviate stress, such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga exercises. Some women are turning to more creative therapies such as hypnotherapy, herbal therapy and aromatherapy.

It’s important to remember, though, that you should still consult your health care provider if you are using nature’s remedies. Discuss your symptoms, treatment plan and how it may impact your overall health.

Interested in discussing hot flash relief and your menopause journey with other women going through the same experience? Join the NovaSoy Facebook community! Discussion topics include exercise inspirations, healthy recipes, and menopause blogs, videos and cartoons. There’s also an interactive symptom checker to let you know if you’re experiencing menopause.

GIVEAWAY!

And if that’s not enough, you have until September 30 to enter to win a three-month supply of a product containing NovaSoy that you’d like to try. Just click here:  GIVEAWAY!

 

Menopause

From Menopause Expert Ellen Dolgen: Becoming Your Own Health Advocate

 

Ellen

Menopause expert Ellen Dolgen kindly let me share her article on becoming your own medical advocate. I’ve learned that many doctors fail women when it comes to menopause education, especially by not warning us of what to expect as perimenopause and menopause set in. Knowledge is indeed power. Take it away, Ellen. Thanks for sharing this post and for all you do for women everywhere!

You can’t leave your perimenopause and menopause symptoms on the kitchen counter when you leave the house.

You can’t pretend to be “fine” when you are dripping wet from a hot flash, sleepless and irritable. Your family, co- workers, loved ones, and friends know when you are not feeling well.

Here are some simple tips that will help you become your own best Health Advocate:

  1. You are not alone! According to Menopause.org, “An estimated 6,000 U.S. women reach menopause every day.  That is over 2 million of us per year. In addition, more women are living beyond age 65. A women’s average life expectancy in the western world is estimated at 79. 7 years.”
  1. Trust How You Feel! – You know when you don’t feel well. If you go to a healthcare provider to get menopause advice and help and your provider tells you, “You’re too young to be in menopause”, don’t sit there and accept it! Do not go home and suffer in silence.
  1. Reach out and get the help you need and deserve!
  • Get the proper hormone testing to measure your levels such as DHEAS, Estradiol, Free and Total Testosterone, FSH, Progesterone, Thyroid Panel, just to name a few.
  • Chart your symptoms. I have worked with doctors to develop a helpful chart that will help you to quickly and accurately explain how you feel to your doctor.  You can download it here.
  • Understand your options – both hormonal and non-hormonal.
  • Communicate openly and honestly to your loved ones so that you can get their love and support.
  • Remember, if you do not feel better, communicate that with your menopause specialist. If they are unable to help you – find another one! No divorce attorney is needed!

You CAN get the help that you need and deserve if you educate yourself.  Be proactive about your health, rather than reactive.

For more detailed support, download Ellen’s FREE eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause. This is a comprehensive guide to all things menopause—tips on how to find a menopause specialist, the tests, the symptoms, treatments, and long-range effects on a woman’s health.

Ellen’s motto is:   Suffering silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN!

Follow Ellen Dolgen on Twitter.

Like her menopause guide, Shmirshky, on Facebook.

Get the latest menopause news delivered to your inbox every week when you sign up  at www.ellendolgen.com  for Ellen’s free Menopause Mondays Newsletter!

Thank you, again, Ellen. Enjoy that adorable granddaughter!

Here’s an article that I wrote for Empowher on educating yourself about menopause. I am bonkers over this topic. It’s so darn important!

Fotolia_72840671_Subscription_Monthly_M.jpg

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms

Hot Flashes and EmpowerHer: Part One

Hot Flash

A few months ago, EmpowerHer, a woman’s health site, invited me to write articles about hot flashes. I had fun figuring out how to give each article a creative slant, and I enjoyed the research. Citing sources brought me back to my university days!

My first assignment was:

Capture

I went to my friends at Midlife Boulevard, a women’s writing and blogging network. They sent me great responses:

  • “I used to think steam was coming out of my ears.”
  • “It’s like a furnace exploded in my core and is radiating to my extremities.”
  • “A hot flash is 100 degree heat paired with 100 percent humidity.”
  • “I feel like I’m getting my hair washed, and the water is way too hot!”

Read the rest of their responses here, a bit of my own experience, and the research I uncovered on the topic.

My second assignment for EmpowHer was:

Capture

Is there a difference? 

Read a story here from my very own bedroom and then my research on hot flashes and night sweats.

The final article I’ll include today addresses this question:

Capture

I got brave and talked about the Modess Starter Kit my mom ordered for me. I used this as a segue into menopause, which comes on a lot slower than the shock of that first period.

This article was a bit harder to put together research-wise than the first two. Read it here!

I’ll stop to give you a chance to read. More hot flash scoops to come! (And thanks to Stacia, who’s been editing my articles. I appreciate your light and encouraging hand.)

download

P.S. I dug deep through mighty Google, and I don’t think I had a Modess Starter Kit after all. I think the pamphlet I read was called “Very Personally Yours.” Here’s the cover!  Sound or look familiar to any of you?

verp61sm