I remember sitting in a developmental psychology class in my sophomore year of college and hearing my suspiciously Freudian-looking professor assure us that we were in the prime of our lives—young, healthy, strong, energetic—during our twenties, these things are at their peak. Rather than satisfaction, I felt absolute horror—the twenties were the golden years?! How could it all be downhill after that? It seemed unfair to get only a decade to enjoy only to start falling apart after that.
That same year, I was at a Mary Kay event with some friends where the representative told us we should start using anti-aging products as soon as possible, the earlier the better.
Again, horror! I was barely 20 and I had not thought to start looking for wrinkles or greys yet. But the fact of the matter is, it does tend to feel like we only get a few short years of bliss before the aging process starts, something most of us have been taught to dread, to resist with everything technology can provide. And while there is nothing wrong with coloring your hair to hide the greys, I think one of the impending milestones, something we all feel hovering over us, is menopause.
Let’s Get This Clear – Peri-menopause Is Not Menopause
Most of us associate menopause with that time we watched our own mother shoveling frozen ground beef out of the freezer to make room for her head and shoulders in an attempt to thwart a hot flash, but menopause is actually what comes after those symptoms have subsided. Peri-menopause is the transition leading to menopause when the hot flashes and night sweats occur.
Menopause is complete when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, though the average age in the US is 51. Still, it’s not uncommon for women to experience menopause symptoms early. There is no way to know exactly when your body will move into this stage, but your experience will probably happen at about the same time as your mother’s.
Get Ready, It’s Coming!
So how can we be ready for this Big Event and when can we start preparing for it?
Frankly, you can start worrying about menopause and its symptoms as early or as late as you like, but your frame of mind has a definite effect on how the process will be. If you approach menopause with dread, it is probably going to turn out to be dreadful. If you are anxious about a hot flash, for example, it can really jar you. But if you are more level-headed about the experience, you will recognize that you just need to lose a few layers—and maybe go for the freezer like Mom did. I will admit that there are some people who are affected by menopause greater than others. Some people get affected by it every day so they need to go to a facility that can help manage your menopause like the one at Advanced Gynecology (http://www.gyngeorgia.com/).
The Menopause Boot Camp
So, Step One for dealing with menopause is:
1. Stop dreading it. Accept its approach with grace.
No matter your age, there are healthy decisions you can be making to ease yourself through menopause later:
2. Stop smoking. Not only is this terrible for you anyway, but women who smoke are
3. Watch your weight. In this situation, though, you want to avoid being too thin. Doing scientifically proven to experience menopause sooner than women who don’t. Too much exercise causes female athletes to have erratic periods and go through menopause earlier than average.
4. Eat good proteins. Healthy amounts of meat and fish and good cholesterol helps the body produce sex hormones with improves libido. It also helps you cope with stress, prevents cravings, and balances blood pressure. All these things help you maintain a healthy weight.
5. Eat your fruits and veggies. These will keep you, your skin, nails, and hair healthy. Lots of fruits are also very beneficial during menopause as well. For example, reduction of breast tenderness, mood swings, and headaches are just some of the chasteberry benefits.
6. Avoid too much sugar—sweets and carbs. Of course some is good, but too much leads to weight gain, a symptom of menopause that already contributes to.
7. Stay away from too much caffeine. And yes, that includes coffee. Caffeine can contribute to weight-gain and also reduces libido.
8. Consider taking herbal supplements to keep vitamin levels balanced. Some find acupuncture, get massages, or aromatherapy to help with menopause symptoms as well—as if any of us needs another excuse to get a massage.You could even try a DIM supplement which can provide great support if you’re going through the menopause, learn more at purepathessentialoils.com
9. The quickest and strongest menopause treatment is hormone replacement therapy. Know that while it does fight hormone imbalance, it also has serious side effects, including increased risk for certain cancers.
10. Chill out! Yoga, meditation, exercise, good diet—anything can keeps you calm, active, are great ways to prepare for and combat the symptoms of menopause.
After all that is said and done, just relax and enjoy your 20’s and the rest of your years!
Katelyn Roth is our newest Contributor and holds a double-major in Creative Writing and Psychology. She resides in Pittsburg with her boyfriend and their husky mix, Inara. Read her most recent post on Female Hysteria here. Subscribe and receive updates of her posts and that of other Contributors.