Have you ever had a hot flash during sex? Let me tell you, it’s not sexy (although it is hot 😉 ). The good news is, I was having sex (actually the penetrative kind which technically is just a form of sex) which for many of you, at a certain point in life becomes less frequent or non-existent.
The bad news is, my hot flash was exactly at that “pivotal” moment. As soon as I was done, I rolled over, ripped off all the covers and starting fanning myself. The best part was that it happened during the beginning of my post-divorce single days and I’m here to tell you that HE DIDN’T MIND!
Menopause is a fact of life for all women. As we get older, estrogen levels begin to drop. Estrogen is a critical hormone for reproductive functioning, it also contributes to many other receptors that regulate other bodily systems that help with vulvar, vaginal and clitoral health, temperature regulation, urinary & bladder function, sleep and cognitive functioning (to name just a few).
The degree to which you experience many of the symptoms and the timing of the onset of perimenopause varies widely. It can depend on genetics, overall health, reproductive history, body composition, stress and other lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use. Some women may not even know they’re experiencing the menopause transition, others, can’t get away from the hot flushes (or flashes as I like to call them), night sweats and dryness (everywhere!).
The sad fact is that many women don’t know they are going through menopause and their medical practitioners are often ill-informed. To top that off, a study by the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 linked the use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to increased incidences of breast cancer. Unfortunately, rather than analyze the details of the study, the media picked up on and misinterpreted the results which sent doctors and their female patients running from HRT. Almost overnight, women were taken off their hormones or decided that having night sweats & vaginal dryness was worth suffering through (and boy did they suffer!)
Today, there is practically NO evidence that HRT causes breast cancer. In fact, studies show that HRT can actually reduce the risks of recurrence of breast cancer, has protective benefits against cardiovascular disease (the #1 killer of women contrary to popular belief) and can improve bone health.
As a laywoman, I can’t advise for or against HRT. My personal experience on HRT started in my late 40s and significantly reduced my hot flushes. In fact, I couldn’t tell you exactly when I “went through” menopause because my body was being regulated by the additional hormones. Studies show that starting hormone therapy within 10 years of the onset of menopause is best. (The start of menopause is typically defined as 12 straight months without a period-although that definition doesn’t hold in some cases).
Regardless of your age, if you’re experiencing unusual symptoms, getting irregular periods and/or generally feeling lousy, I encourage you to find a treatment. Although rare, menopause can start in your 30s, a time when your doctor is unlikely to be on the lookout for perimenopause.
Menopause is a time of hormonal fluctuation, just like Adolescence, yet we rarely talk about it openly. I’m here to amplify the conversation!
*This article is not intended to act as medical advice. Please seek advice from your medical provider for assessment and treatment.
Send your thoughts and questions to: Karen@TabooToTruth.com
SUBJECT: Tell me the truth!