Women always seem to have a superhuman knack for acclimating to life changes. Doesn't matter if the changes are happening in our careers, friendships, love lives, or even within our bods (i.e., periods, pregnancy, or breastfeeding)—our resourceful spirit always guides us through. Even when it comes to the hormonal waltzes our bods encounter, we're always ready to tango. And by tango, I mean, find creative ways to deal with the intense hot flashes and dripping night sweats that come with menopause. Speaking of, let's start by breaking down the hormonal hoopla that happens before and during this phase.
Perimenopause (aka before menopause)
Perimenopause is a transition time that happens before menopause. At around age 40 or so, many women's progesterone levels can dip and become rather unpredictable. Who doesn't love spontaneity within the body? 😏 Aside from the dicey progesterone levels, how else can women sense that their bod is entering a new hormonal juncture?
Women in perimenopause have at least some these symptoms: hot flashes, breast tenderness, worsening or irregular periods, change in sex drive, fatigue, vaginal dryness, discomfort during sex, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and last but not least urinary leakage when coughing, sneezing, or laughing along with urinary urgency (an emergency 🚨 level need to pee when the urge strikes). Emotionally and mentally, hormonal changes could heighten bouts of anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Ok, here's when we recommend reaching out to your best friends, partner, doctor, therapist, etc. for support.
Good news though! This life stage typically lasts an average of 4 years (although, for some it can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years). A woman can usually tell that this phase is over after she's gone 12 months without having a period and usually means she's headed towards....
Menopause! (no more period cramps and bloating)
During menopause, ovaries slow down their estrogen-making factory, which means there's no thickening of uterine lining and as a result, periods are a thing of the past. FYI, menopause can be triggered in pre-menopausal aged women after ovary removal or damage caused by surgical trauma or chemo.
Menopausal women (aka badass silver fox babes) might face similar symptoms to perimenopause (minus the periods) as well as: joint and muscle aches and pains, bladder control probz, headaches, and/or racing heart.
It's super important to talk to your doctor about what hormone therapy, diet, or mood-management is best for YOU. For extra support, we rounded up a curated guide (by talking to menopausal women) on how to lessen some of these symptoms.
Invest in Mini Cooling Fans
Many women said they thwart feeling like a hot, fiery furnace (when unannounced hot flashes hit) by putting their moolah towards battery powered cooling fans. You can blow away the hot spells with the Cool It! Personal Fan or even a Necklace Fan that's specifically made for menopausal mavens.
Ironing Clothes in Your Underwear
Honestly, if ironing an unruly blouse triggers a hot flash, crimped clothes look can totally take off as a stylish trend (💁🏽 exhibit A ). But if starched attire is your jam, we totally get it. Instead of ironing with your full wardrobe on, how about just doing it in your knickers and bra? If you're still sweating bullets, sending your clothes to dry cleaning is always a solid option.
Keep Frozen Packs Under Your Pillow
If your slumber is interrupted by night sweats, put a frozen cold pack under your pillow. Flip over the pillow often so that your head is always resting on a cool surface. Ahhh sweet relief.
Establish a Relaxing Snooze Routine
Did you once sleep like a baby but now find yourself tossing and turning? Conquer insomnia (sounds like the name of a punk rock band) by winding down before you catch your ZZZs. Read a book, listen to soothing music, sip on chamomile tea, take a lavender infused bubble bath, and/or snack on a bowl of oatmeal or peanut butter on toast before bedtime. Did ya know that oats, seeds, and nuts help the body relax because they contain tryptophan?
Go For The Short Haircut You've Wanted Since Your 20s
This is a time in your life where you feel comfortable to style your hair however the hell you please. So why not beat the hot flash heat by going for that super cute pixie cut?
Fill Your Freezer With Popsicles
Whether you wanna make your own frozen treats or buy 'em straight from the grocery store, keeping popsicles around can save you. While sticking your head in the freezer to beat the hot flash heat, reach for your fave raspberry popsicle!
Amp up Your Lovemakin' & Self Pleasure Game
Yes, there might be changes in your sex life (with vaginal dryness) because of the dip in estrogen production. Don't fret, though. Vaginal lubricants can come 😏 to the rescue! Use only water-soluble products without alcohol and perfumes to avoid further irritation. Remember, it's vital for women to maintain vaginal health because it promotes healthy blood flow to the genital area—and age & hormones doesn't change that (check out The Oral Sex Guide for Leakers too!)
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
As you near menopause, your estrogen levels begin dropping, which can cause your pelvic muscles to weaken. Your pelvic floor may no longer be able to control your bladder as they did before. Find a beloved pelvic floor therapist so you can guidance on relinquishing that control! Don't let age discourage you because pelvic floor therapists have patients as young as 18 and as old as 99!
It's also important to understand that menopause is not so much an ending as it is a rebellious beginning—it's a new chapter steered by well-earned wisdom, grit, and creativity.
~*How do you deal with your bod's hormonal leaps?*~
Photo by: Bridget Collins