The Symptoms People Don’t Talk About
You might think you know what to expect when it comes to the menopause, but like pregnancy, the reality can be very different to what you have gleaned from television.
The trouble is that apart from wry jokes about hot flashes most women don’t talk about their own menopause, so some of the more personal symptoms might come as a nasty surprise when it’s your turn to navigate this change of life.
For instance most women (and men) might not appreciate that perimenopause and menopause can have a drastic effect on your love life and sex drive.
As estrogen levels decrease you might find your intimate area becomes dry and remains so, despite the best efforts of your partner. And since relaxation is so crucial to a successful love life, the longer the problem persists the more tense you can get – making sex at best difficult and at worst impossible.
The problem can be solved quickly and simply in a number of ways. Firstly, prioritize relaxation, leaving plenty of time to be intimate and ensuring you are fully comfortable.
Use lubricants if you can’t relax enough or consider asking your doctor about topical hormones, which can be delivered as a small pessary, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) through patches, tablets or implants. These could also help restore natural lubrication.
Some women suffer with self-image during this time, feeling old or hating the physical changes so much they begin to feel undesirable.
Tackle each issue, like dry skin, weight gain and hair thinning (or even loss), individually. Ask your doctor for help if necessary and treat yourself to a menopause makeover, with new makeup and skincare products to help your self-image and new underwear if you find your breasts droop or lose their fullness.
While we are in the bedroom area, did you know that you can get still get pregnant after a diagnosis of perimenopause?
You might think that because your periods are irregular or even seem to have stopped, that you cannot get pregnant. Although statistically much less likely, it is not impossible – so unless you would be happy with a “menopause baby” you should take contraceptive precautions.
While your hormones are fluctuating you may occasionally ovulate, and doctors advise using contraceptives until you have completed at least one full year without a period – at which point you have officially reached menopause.
Next page: panic attacks and skin sensations.