Dear Dr. Christina,
I need your help. I am 52-years old and totally confused and upset. I have not had a period in a year. I was talking to my girlfriends about this, and they told me that this was going to be the beginning of the end. They said I might as well get used to it because I was going to turn into a prune and become some sort of maniac. Now that I think I am going through the change, they told me I was going to lose all of my sex drive and have these torrential hot flashes and night sweats. I was also going to get fat and have painful sex. I might even lose my husband! I mean, I finally found the man of my dreams and now I find out that not only am I going to lose my mind, but I won’t even enjoy having sex anymore! Please help me, for I still want to be the woman that he fell in love with. I am so confused and upset.
I can completely understand not only your confusion, but also your apprehension. The fact that you have not even exhibited any of these symptoms yet does not mean you are going to get them. The statistics of the number of women who have symptoms varies according to the source you are reading.
Some say it could be approximately 25-30% of women who never have them and 70-75% of women that do. Believe me, those of us who do have them want to kill those that don’t! Kit, I am only kidding. It is really not as bad as you may think.
Although your girlfriends are trying to be helpful, they are not doing you any favors. Please stop listening to them. They do not mean to harm you or scare you, but they are inadvertently putting negative ideas in your head. You are not even having any symptoms right now. If you start believing them, then you may begin to expect them. The mind responds powerfully to the introduction of negative thoughts.
Remember that old saying about how when you work with a group of women that your periods will begin to cycle with them? There was a time in my office when one member of my staff got pregnant and, before I knew it, my other staff members who had their uteruses and were of childbearing age all got pregnant too! The same is true with menopause. Do not put any wrong ideas into your head.
There are many myths and a great deal of misinformation about menopause out there, so if you are going to look it up on the Internet, make sure you are going to a reputable site such as WebMD.
You also do not have to lose your husband, even if you begin to get any symptoms. Every woman is unique as an individual and will experience menopause differently. We all read about the jokes and the horrors of getting older and menopause, but that doesn’t need to happen. Yes, there may be symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. Some women complain of memory loss and panic attacks, vaginal dryness, and weight gain, but all of these experiences are due to hormonal imbalance. This does not make you any less of a woman. There were most likely many occasions when you were younger that you probably experienced some of these similar symptoms such as weight gain, bloating, hot flashes and others. Does this sound familiar, like 1-2 weeks prior to your periods? If you also had an ovarian cyst in the past, this may have also led you to an imbalance. Some women may also experience thyroid problems, which can trigger similar symptoms of hot flashes, fatigue, irregular periods, and weight gain.
Get the picture? Just because you may have one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you are getting older.
You have to realize that you now have the maturity and wisdom of how to treat your man and how to experience life with passion and true love. It is all about how you perceive yourself. You are not any different than when you were having periods. As a matter of fact, you are even better, for now you can enjoy life without worrying about periods, take that vacation anytime you want, and you get to save money by not having to buy feminine products. Your sexual encounters can even be better, as you no longer have to worry about getting pregnant.
Being a woman with maturity is about romance and being cuddled and told how beautiful you are. That is what turns us on as women. Foreplay can become one of your best friends, allowing you to totally appreciate your lover. If you feel slight vaginal dryness, and this can happen to young women as well, there are over-the-counter products that are safe to use. (Please ask your physician about these.)
This is also the time to decrease your stress. In your case, one stressor in particular: stop listening to your friends regarding this topic. If we were to take away our cell phones, the Internet, business calls, etc., and plan a long-awaited date night complete with the anticipation of spending our own alone time together, without the thought of babysitting the kids or grandkids, something like this would help not only your relationship, but also your stress levels.
It is all in how we look at menopause: do you see it as a curse or a gift? Kit, do you remember how some of us use to think of our periods as a curse, but if you were sexually active, you were ever so grateful when you got your period, even if it was late?
Menopause is not the end of your world. There are many of us who were forced into menopause at an early age. For example, I became menopausal at the age of 19 and, yes, I did get all the symptoms due to being so young and losing my ovaries. I came through it with flying colors, for I opted not to believe what other people were telling me about my sex parts drying up. Well, it did not happen. Now being at the wonderful young age of 60 (and experiencing 41 years of being menopausal), I am still very much a woman—and I feel grateful.
So it all has to do with your perception and how comfortable you are with being you. You are beautiful and are now free to do and think for yourself. Have fun and enjoy yourself as well the love of your life.
The best to you and your man,
- Posted By: doctorc
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