Feeling flush… during the day or experiencing hot sweats at night? The menopause is a normal part of life, just like puberty. It is a natural consequence of ageing and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life. Years ago, menopause was a taboo subject but in this day and age, there is no reason why women should sit back and suffer in silence. Be proud of your menopause moments!
The menopause happens for most women sometime between the ages of 45 to 60, although it happens earlier for some and later for others. It is usually a gradual process that stretches over several years. Each woman is different, some will sail through with little or no symptoms, while others will suffer difficult symptoms which can often last for years. There are no specific support services available in Ireland so it can be difficult time for women as they try to deal with the symptoms.
Aged 53, I am now in the throws of the menopause and having hot flashes to beat the band. When you have a hot flash, there’s no mistaking it. A sensation of intense heat spreads over your face and the back of your neck, followed by skin redness (flushing), drenching perspiration, and finally a cold, clammy feeling. Typically, these symptoms begin at the head and spread downwards towards the neck and chest. They can last anything from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. When hot flashes occur during the night, they are called night sweats. My nights are now spent throwing off the duvet because I’m too hot and uncomfortable only to wake up some time later feeling horribly cold and clammy.
I’ve no qualms about announcing my menopausal status. It’s not something that we as women should feel embarrassed about, or try to conceal. The menopause is merely a sign that our bodies are moving on and a reminder that we are now in the second half of our lives. I believe that there is a real need for more openness about the menopause.
People joke about having a senior moment so why shouldn’t women joke about having a menopause moment?