menopause

7 Stages of Perimenopause

By Miriam Queensen

In the latest WTF News, a friend sent me this supposedly hilarious video about menopause:

 

It’s not that I find it offensive—I just don’t see myself or my friends reflected in the image on the video.

This picture implies that any woman past childbearing age immediately jumps into the “granny” category.

Most of my friends in their 40s and 50s reach a point when they experience a surge in energy and renewed focus on getting what they want out of life!

The only thing resembling a cane most of us own is a vibrator.

For those with children, when they grow up (and out) and depend less on us certainly helps. What also happens for most women is the realization that we care less what others think of us, and care more about what we think of ourselves.

And the honky tonk piano music? Like becoming a woman over “a certain age” magically transports us to the previous century?

Then we’ve got the 7 Stages of Menopause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and Psycho-–Sounds like a really bad remake of the 7 Dwarves!

Is it accurate? Not if it’s meant to be an actual progression of 'stages.' And does every woman experience every one of these symptoms?

The whole experience of perimenopause is unique to each of us, but many symptoms are common and shared.

If you do experience enough discomfort that it’s interfering with your daily life, speak up! Some of these symptoms are normal responses your body is going through due to hormonal changes. You can use the hotflashsisters app to track your symptoms, and to recognize changes and patterns in your experiences of night sweats, itchiness, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, or anything else.

Awareness of your symptoms can help in your discussion with your doctor, who may suggest ways to reduce your discomfort and bring you back to your fabulous, energetic self again! You can also share your experiences and get helpful advice from your sisters in the discussion forum.
Apart from the real symptoms this graphic is trying to describe, the word choices here are mostly judgmental in nature.

Is 'Bitchy' how you feel, or how others might label you? How do you feel on the inside, when others think you are bitchy? Are you irritable and frustrated? Annoyed that despite all your best efforts to run your household and/or manage your job, others are ignoring your wishes and not helping out? Maybe everybody pitching in and treating housework and living in a home together as a collaborative venture in which everyone plays a valuable role for the wellbeing of all would be one way our families could reduce our 'bitchiness?'

Does 'Bloated' mean how you feel inside, or is this a poorly veiled judgment about our weight gain or difficultly losing weight (if that is our goal)?

And 'Psycho?' What is that trying to say about how we’re feeling and behaving? Maybe if we didn't bury our frustration for decades for the sake of being "The Good Wife" or "The Good Mother" or "The Good Friend" it wouldn't all come pouring out in a torrent when our hormones change.

Instead of focusing on how we appear to others and stigmatizing this stage of our lives, let’s focus on how we’re LIVING! Let’s talk about what we’re doing well, and how strong we are for getting through this, just like everything else we’ve faced in our lives.

Let’s come up with our own definition or labeling of Stages, shall we? How about: Courageous, Adaptable, Fiery, Adventurous, Exuberant, Witty, Resourceful, Persistent?

How would you redefine some of them? Let’s hear your ideas.

To join the Hot Flash Sisters, download the free app now:

The Perfect Match: Man Cave for Him & She Shed for Her

Move over Man Cave and make way for the She Shed, a place for much needed alone time and a place to read, dream, work on a hobby or catch up on some sleep. Ranging from elegant to something that can only be described as 'functional,' She Sheds offer your own private oasis.

If you don’t want the hassle (and expense) of building an actual She Shed, here are some ideas for alternatives:

Parks –-Escape to a local park to stroll through the walkways or enjoy the sun on a strategically placed bench.  Get fresh air and enjoy some undisturbed time away.

Walks –-Turn off your cell phone and get your steps in.  Fitbits and other wearables can help with motivation and goals. Check out Fitbit Adventures to be virtually transported to Yosemite and the New York City Marathon during your walks.

Noise Cancelling Headphones-– “Just turn it all off!”  In some ways you can with noise cancelling headphones.  Mute the noisy world and enjoy some silence or listening to your favorite music with the volume at a more comfortable level.  A non-electronic hack is to wear protective earmuffs over your ear buds but with the wires looped over and behind your ears – the earmuffs seal better while removing some frequencies.  Your ear buds will sound better (at the small cost of looking like you’ve just come from a construction site).

Hot Bath -– Remember the ‘Calgon, Take Me Away’ slogan?  Still applies.  Bubbles, candles, warm water, add good book.

Gardening -– More outside time.  Flower or vegetable, full blown plot or convenient containers.  Gardening helps you get in touch with nature and if all goes well, reap a reward in the process.  Not sure about your green-thumb’s abilities?  Consider a salsa garden for ease now and delicious payoff in a few weeks.

Museums-–Even the smallest communities have museums. Take a look around and find a hidden gem. Immersing yourself in something new can be a great way to stimulate neurons and escape in the process.

Coffee Shops --Alone in a (caffeinated) crowd.  With the help of Google you can actually see a coffee shop’s popular times throughout the day and plan your latte escape accordingly.  The New York Times noted one study found that coffee shops create just the right level of background noise to stimulate creativity.  Bonus – Check out Coffitivity, when you just can’t get to your coffee haven but need that background noise from your computer.

We’ve listed ours.  How about yours?

 

To join the Hot Flash Sisters, download the free app now: