The word menopause has become something of a trendy concept that can now be found everywhere, but what does it really mean?
CRITICAL TIME PERIOD
The word menopause comes from the Greek klimacterikos, which means critical. Well, half of the population must somehow get through a critical period of time? Doesn't that sound super cool? A time in life that can also be experienced as somewhat diffuse as it is extremely unclear when this critical time transition officially starts or ends. No woman really knows in advance what awaits her - as all the ailments we have read about are also individual. Most of us clearly understand that menopause means that the eggs run out, estrogen levels drop, and we stop having periods. But that doesn't really answer the question of how or when this will happen and what awaits after the menopause?
THE CLIMACTERIC - AN UPWARD CURVE
I think words make a difference. Personally, I find the word menopause a bit like a wet blanket of resignation. After all, most of the menopause is mainly about all the painful things that happen in both our body and brain. Thousands of 50+ women suffer from symptoms such as; dry mucous membranes, mood swings, hot flashes, body aches, dizziness, palpitations, low mood, difficulty sleeping...the list seems never ending. How do you find power and strength from it?
Can't we change words? THE CLIMAXTERIC maybe? There you go. Better?! A climax with a curve that goes straight up instead of down. With an approach where 50+ women have a natural poise and move forward through life with a certainty without uncertain anxiety or self-criticism. That's how I want it. Experienced, wise, and cool women who say YES because they want to and NO when they don't want to.
How can we own our own climax? I think we need to start by gathering knowledge, which can sometimes be easier said than done. Despite the abundance of information about menopause, many of us are more confused than ever. We try to interpret our own bodies and figure out if we are just "high-achieving-talented-girls-with-stress-symptoms" or if we are actually in menopause. A large part of my conversations with female friends is about interpreting the body's signals and trying to understand whether it is due to the menopause or something else. Because life goes on at the same time with both peaks and troughs, midwinter darkness and blackbirds singing into spring. Life is both light and dark, whether you are in menopause or not. It is perhaps somewhat easier to understand the bodily signals such as night sweats than a sudden outburst of anger or dark depression. We try to sort in and understand and that's good. Talking to other women, listening to podcasts on the subject, reading articles and books about the menopause makes a difference. In the flow of information about menopause, opinions sometimes diverge broadly and sometimes form different camps where a large part of the debate seems to be stuck on what is right or wrong. But knowledge is power and by making our own informed choice based on what we ourselves think is best for us, we can choose whether and how we want to treat our symptoms.
THE THREE PHASES OF MENOPAUSE
For me, it has been easier to understand menopause by learning more about each phase, but there is some conceptual confusion due to that the Swedish term menopause generally includes the entire period, while in English one talks about three different phases of menopause.
Perimenopause is the phase when estrogen production begins to change and most women experience more irregular periods. On average, women have close to four years of irregular periods before their last period. This is where the hormones can start to get really messed up, which usually happens around the age of 40. As we talk far too little about the menopause, women do not always understand that their symptoms can be linked to perimenopause.
Common symptoms during Perimenopause:
· Mood swings
· Sleeping problems
· Profuse bleeding
· Sore breasts
· Iron deficiency
· Weight gain
· Shorter menstrual cycle
Menopause is when a woman has her last period - and it is around menopause that the hot flashes and sweating can become troublesome for some. During menopause, estrogen drops to permanently low levels. Many women suffer through this period if they don't get the help they need. Menopause – and the last period – occurs on average at the age of 51.4.
Common symptoms during menopause:
· Dry mucous membranes
· Night sweats
· Hot flashes
· Joint pain
· Anxiety & depression
· Scanty/sparse/no periods
· Recurrent urinary tract infections
Post menopause, or after menopause, is the phase that occurs after the last period, when estrogen production eventually lands at a very low level. Perhaps it is this phase that can really be defined as the CLIMAXTERIC as many women find it nice not to have to worry about contraceptives and are satisfied with no longer menstruating. Dry mucous membranes can generally be a recurring problem, but there is help for this.
For me personally, it feels both big and meaningful to work on something that can help millions of women with this problem, and it really warms my heart when I read reviews from our customers. Stories from women who, for a long time, have suffered immensely from dry mucous membranes, burning and itching, which has made everyday life a torment and they have experienced it as completely impossible to even think about any kind of active sex life. Being able to participate and make a difference in women's lives in that way is something I am very proud of.
You can find VagiVital AktivGel here
Common symptoms during Post menopause:
· Dry mucous membranes
· Dry eyes
· Joint problems
· Urinary tract infections
· Thin hair
WHAT PHASE AM I IN?
I suspect that I am somewhere between perimenopause and menopause. After a year without a period, you can count on not getting your period back and I'm not quite there yet. On each occasion when my period comes back, I also have a bit of mixed feelings, partly a tenderness to my body that is still ovulating and with pride I like to tell my family (which includes teenage sons) that "My period has finally come". At the same time, I'm tuned in to CLIMAXTERIC. Because that's how I want it. My physical ailments are also not much to talk about yet and for them there is also a lot of help to be had but my own approach to menopause can only be owned by myself.
MY SIX TOP TIPS FOR CLIMAXTERIC!
1. Read up! Knowledge is power. Familiarize yourself with the topic of hormones and menopause, find out what treatments are available and think about your own symptoms. Search Facebook groups and podcasts about menopause, read articles, research and books on the subject and make sure you form your own opinion so you can make an informed choice about which treatment is right for you. It sometimes requires some patience and critical scrutiny but is worth every second when you read about your health ❤
2. Talk about menopause! All 50+ women go through this phase but far too few talks about it. My experience is that any conversation on the subject is greatly appreciated but there is a kind of shyness that limits us. Women want to share experiences. Be the first to bring up the topic if no one else is. An effective way to start a conversation about menopause is to simply share your own thoughts.
3. Clean up your social media feed. Make sure to surround yourself with people who make you happy, empower you and inspire you. Are you in menopause? Add some 50+ Power women. I love the Swedish actress Katrin Sundberg, who also does the show "I do what the hell I want". Which friends do you enjoy? Meet them more often!
4. Get a good gynecologist! If it feels good, it's generally good, but if it doesn't feel quite right then you should change. It is not always that easy because there is a shortage of gynecologists. Ask around for tips from other women on, for example, a Facebook group about menopause.
5. If you can sleep, do it - without being ashamed! A lot and often. Sleep makes a big difference to our well-being but is also something that many menopausal women struggle with. Can you take a little power nap in the afternoon? Do it! During menopause, sleep is generally more easily disturbed and restless. There are a multitude of different ways to facilitate a good night's sleep, see point 1 ❤and talk to your gynecologist, see point 4 😊
6. Sex during menopause? Yes absolutely! If you want. Some women long for sex but find it difficult to carry out vaginal intercourse because dry and fragile mucous membranes. For this problem there is help to be had where VagiVital AktivGel can make a big difference. It is also a myth that all women lose their desire as they age. Some women experience an increased sex drive in menopause thanks to the drop in estrogen levels, when the testosterone that controls sex drive can gain a slight advantage. That women don't get as wet during menopause is another myth. The mucous membranes may become more fragile, but the ability to become moist generally does not change. However, it sometimes takes a while to get wet. Make sure you take that time with yourself or your partner. It is important that your partner is also aware of the phases you experience through menopause. Talk about what is happening inside you and with your body and explain what you need. Do you know what you need? Find out and make demands ❤Do you completely lack desire but wish it existed? Try going back to square one with lots of skin-to-skin, tactile touch, tender and long hugs without demanding sex – which again assumes you're talking to your partner.
I have decided that menopause will not limit my life. I want an upward life curve and CLIMAXTERIC is something I have decided to embrace as a strength. The knowledge and experience that 50+ women have IS a strength! I don't take bullshit, but I also pick my battles and make sure to conserve my energy. I've done a lot of reading and I know what's best for me. In a way, I'm more selfish today than I was 10 years ago - and I think that's a good thing. I take care of myself in a better way, on all levels and maybe I gradually need to make more changes to maximize my own well-being, but today I feel good and am more than happy to call myself a climacteric bitch.
Take care of yourselves ❤️
Fanny Falkman Grindal
A 49-year-old mother of 4 & Swedish manager for VagiVital