This Is What No One Tells You About Going Through Menopause

by Jeremy

You’ve probably never turned on the nightly news and heard the anchors talking about menopause or gone to a charity event where all the women were discussing who was still getting their period. That’s because menopause is something women go through primarily alone. And as our bodies and our hormones are unique to us, we don’t all share the same experience when we’re going through it. While some women experience nothing other than their period ending, other women experience the full monty of side effects, including hot flashes, weight gain, and hormone swings.

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Even knowing about the possible side effects, menopause was something I looked forward to. If my youth were going to retire, not getting my period was a good part of the severance package. Since there’s no way to know for sure when you’ll start menopause, most doctors make an educated guess based on when your mother or grandmother went through it. My mother had a hysterectomy in her 40s, and there was a rumor in my family that my grandmother went through it in her 60s, but I was hoping that was apocryphal. I decided arbitrarily that at the age of 47, my period would be over.  Unfortunately, my body wasn’t on the same page.

When I turned 48, almost all my friends, even ones younger, had gone through menopause. They no longer had to worry about bringing feminine products on vacation ― things that still took up room in my suitcase where I could have brought something more critical like a fourth bathing suit.

Before you go through menopause, you go through perimenopause. It’s that in-between time when you genuinely don’t know what your body is doing. Before perimenopause, there are distinct signs that your period is coming. The slight cramping you start to feel lets you know that you have two more weeks to feel good before you want to sell your kids to the circus. During perimenopause, though, nothing you think is a guarantee that you’re getting your period. Many times, I’d get cramps, feel lousy, start crying when my favorite show was canceled, only to find my period didn’t arrive for two more months.

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