MENOPAUSE MANY BAGGAGE: Mood swings and more
MENOPAUSE MANY BAGGAGE: Mood swings and more
We were in a women’s gathering some time ago, and issues about the challenges a woman is saddled with as her life progresses on a daily bases were tabled. Surprisingly, all the issues
highlighted focused on middle-aged women, women within child bearing age. While a good number of us present in that meeting are in our 50s and 60s, it seemed to me that many people have not yet come to terms with the challenges ahead, and the expediency in talking about them now.
Subjects like antenatal issues, right food to eat, seeing the right doctors, taking care of the young children and considering engaging in further educational pursuits, so much about the children and the man of the house were in focus. While all that were said may seem so cumbersome and somewhat impossible for just one young working mother to cope with, I was rather lost in my thoughts about the bigger picture, that woman beyond the child bearing age, sitting right here in this gathering, inexplicably, is fast losing agility, becoming awkward and clumsy without anyone
noticing that her world has dramatically changed.
This change can be linked directly to perimenopausal stage of the adult woman. This is what this article is about.
WHAT IS M-E-N-O-P-A-U-S-E?????
Menopause is that stage in a woman’s life where she has missed her period for 12 months in a row.
This phase of life is inevitable as the reproductive years of the woman is winding down. The reproductive hormones begin to experience gradual decline because of natural aging. I learnt that
the average age for menopause is 51, however, menopause can be induced through surgery like hysterectomy or certain medications. Before this stage is the perimenopausal stage, where the
woman begins to experience irregularity in her menstrual cycle.
Therefore, this is the beginning of the menopause journey/transition. It is said that perimenopause can last between 2 to 10 years, this period is when most intense menopause symptoms occur.
MY PERIMENOPAUSAL JOURNEY
At 48 years, I began noticing some changes in my body which in a tremendous way uttered my daily schedule, but I could not explain what exactly was happening to me. Things like fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness,
mood swings, heat, irritability, unexplained depression, fear of losing my beauty, tension from imaginary worries to mention these few. Those were not permanent anyway; they come and go. I
remember telling my husband at some point that I was depressed, but everyone around me saw no reason I should be. Fast forward to two years later, turning 50 was a thing I looked forward to with
great preparation and expectation, but without knowing that the baggage is indeed huge. I was to go full time writing, exercising, traveling, cooking and entertaining, alas, just unannounced, health
changes began to get in the way; hot flashes, which caused my body to heat up really quickly, cold flashes which bring chills and goose pimples all over me, sleepless nights, dry vagina which made sex painful, moodiness, depression in full force, irritability, weakness, sugar craving and much more. I turned to hospital and research. I soon discovered that menopause has arrived. The inevitable, unwanted visitor.
While some women may not have any trouble with menopause, many women out there are having a life changing dilemma trying to fathom what in the world is going on, as this issue is hardly spoken of in many women groups or gathering.
Doctors made me to understand that the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly during perimenopausal stage of a woman’s life. This transitional stage varies from woman to woman. It must be noted that menopause is neither a disease nor a disorder, it is just life happening.
Bringing this experience home to Africa, I can see a general air of malaise here, which in many occasions have been misunderstood, mis-classified and mis-managed. For example, a woman facing
these fluctuating emotions, mood swings and more may be seen as wicked, rude or unaccommodating in her work place. I can see how all these point to why many mothers-in-law in Africa behave irrationally with their sons’ wives, and without knowing the underlying cause of their unwelcoming behaviour, were tagged, “unbearable”, “wicked”, “witch” and so on.
Many women will have to live with these irritabilities for upwards of 14years, some less than that depending on lifestyle and others may not experience it at all.
Transitioning to Perimenopause and then Menopause stage of life is no doubt a difficult phase in the life of many women as both their physical and emotional state are undergoing unexpected,
unfamiliar and unwelcoming changes. Therefore, just as antenatal and allied lectures are a big subject taught to women of child bearing age, menopause and all its baggage should be taken
seriously in Africa, taught to women from the age of 40, so that they will be aware and prepared in time.
Join me in the next article as we look into
Weight gain and what menopause has to do with it
Withdrawal syndrome and low self-esteem.
Please feel free to send your comments, questions and concerns. See you then.
Hello, I am Lilian Chudey Pride. Good to welcome you to my online world. I am a Writer, Teacher, Encourager, Author of Life Beyond Motherhood, Dignity of Womanhood and Publisher, iwriteafrica.com online Magazine. I love Africa so much and I derive joy in telling the world about her beauty and strength. I share the challenges of the childless African community, providing Support, Encouragement and Empowerment. While guiding the childless African woman to trust God, I help her to understand her peculiarity, grieve properly, heal and embrace purpose. See my book: Life Beyond Motherhood on Amazon. Welcome to Africa.