On speaking with a lady at a recent conference I asked her to write about her menopausal experience. I was very moved to read her honest description of how she feels and it also highlights how easily we can suddenly focus on the negatives without realising.
Here are her words –
“I’ve just turned 50 years old and I’ve been peri menopausal for about 6 months and I really don’t like it!
I have a Mirena coil so I wasn’t really having periods before I became peri menopausal. I didn’t have any problems with my periods when I was younger, then when they became very heavy due to fibroids the coil was advised and fitted. I know some women feel liberated when they reach menopause because they stop having periods but as I wasn’t having them anymore, anyway that excitement didn’t apply to me.
I feel saddened by the changes in my body on an intimate level.
I dislike the lack of natural vaginal lubrication, which I didn’t notice I had had until it was gone. It means synthetic lubrication is necessary for sex which makes it feel less spontaneous and I lament the feeling of ‘being/getting turned on’ that I used to enjoy.
I do still enjoy making love with my husband but it seems a more laborious process now. It’s irritating too because we have just moved out of the years of having small children inhibiting our sex life! To be very precise my labia feel much less ‘plump’ than before which is apparently a result of menopause, so I feel sorry that a part of my body doesn’t feel like when I was young.
So far I’ve been lucky enough not to experience the hot flushes and other symptoms that can play havoc with your life. I’m not taking hormone replacement therapy but I wouldn’t rule it out.
I think this can be a lonely stage in ones life too. When you start your periods it’s a right of passage, a positive step towards being a woman and linked to the possibility of being a mother one day. At this other end it all feels rather negative (and I’m not normally a negative person so I’d love to find some positives!)
I hope that more women discussing openly what they experience will result in a more informed, happier experience for those to come.”