Overcoming Confusion and Fear
While many women are happy sharing a humorous quip about their hot flashes or sleep issues, far fewer feel comfortable talking about more intimate (but just as prevalent) symptoms. Even though millions of women face the trials and discomforts of menopause each year, this secrecy and fear of judgement often results in confusion and worry.
Until they’re addressed, these commonly hidden symptoms can contribute the most to isolation, anxiety and generally a poorer quality of life during menopause include:
- Fear of losing your mind – Menopause affects your mind as well as your body, but while lapses in memory and difficulty concentrating can be frustrating, there’s no need to suspect the onset of dementia. Hormonal fluctuations could be at the heart of your cognitive problems, or else the stress of your physical symptoms together with daily responsibilities can affect how you absorb information. In all probability, any memory, concentration or learning issue is completely temporary – you are not going crazy.
- Concern with a fading sex life – A decline in estrogen leads to thinning of the vaginal wall, less natural lubrication, and sometimes a weak libido. In fact, some women feel that their sexuality is ending along with their fertility, but that’s not true: although hormones might play a small role, many factors can contribute to changes in sex drive, and a good number of those are within your control. Aim to improve your self-esteem, focus on the advantages of post-menopausal sex (no more birth control!), pay closer attention to your physical health, and allow yourself the opportunity to explore your desires.
- Worry about therapy – Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was once heralded as the key to a smooth transition, and then demonized as a terrible health risk. The truth is, every woman is different, and each case should be treated as unique. HRT can be very safe and extremely helpful for some, but a poor choice for others. It’s important to resist the urge to group yourself with every other menopausal woman, in terms of treatment and menopausal experience in general. You and your doctor will determine which resources will be beneficial to you as you move through menopause.
Menopause stigma is unjustified, and there’s no reason to accept it as a given. Sure, the problems can’t be erased overnight, but you can begin to change your own outlook right away. Align yourself with positive influences, and make self-respect and self-confidence top priorities as you move through menopause.
Focus on the positive aspects of menopause. You may just find that the best is yet to come.