I don’t think anyone actually ever told me anything about menopause. I had some (not all accurate) perceptions about what to expect, mainly gleaned from hushed conversations amongst my older relatives, comedians making jokes about hormonal rage and hot flashes, and the TV stereotyping menopausal women as grumpy and irrational.
Luckily we are all getting better at being open and honest about so-called embarrassing conditions, and hopefully this article will also go some way into letting anyone nervous about what lies ahead feel informed, prepared and reassured.
1. Hot Flashes Can Be All Consuming
If you asked anyone on the street to name one menopause symptom I would bet that the vast majority would say hot flashes. But the thing about hot flashes is that they sound like a minor side effect while in actual fact they can be, for some people, quite distressing.
We are not talking about a slight glow here – not even the heat you feel after an unexpected sprint to the bus. In my experience a full-on hot flash can affect your entire body, bring you out in a sticky sweat, distract you from whatever you were doing and send you heading for fresh air or the nearest fridge.
Luckily, if you find hot flashes are a problem there are things you can do to minimize their effect. Try wearing natural fabrics in layers you can strip off easily, and maybe carry a small antiperspirant and wipes to freshen up whilst out and about.
The different stages of menopause come with cycles of hormone changes. Learn about what hormones are affected and what you can do to cope.