by Professor Lynn Basford

menopause cartoon

How come I didn’t know what was coming?

Ah, the dreaded monthly menses (periods) have perhaps for more than 20 years caused you joy, pain and suffering  – all at the same time.

Joy, that you are not pregnant. Joy, that you are pregnant. Abdominal pain from menstrual cramps. Depression that you have not conceived. Elation that you have not conceived….

BUT, in all of this you knew you were a women, valued as a women with the potentiality of great fertility.

Then you reached the age of 39.95 plus VAT and overnight something happened.  Has someone turned up the heating?

In your sleep, you had an internal power surge. Your libido was reduced and what’s with the dry itchy vagina? Where did the natural moisture supply go? For no reason at all you are sweating profusely. Your hair has turned grey. Your thighs are dimpled resembling a plucked chicken. You gained weight, thats right overnight!

And someone torched your brain cells! Your memory is not as sharp. You are depressed one minute and hysterical the next.

You seem to have lost muscle tone EVERYWHERE. You now have a double chin. Your breasts are two inches lower.  Your derrière has sagged. You have bat wings – is your body getting ready for you to take flight or something? AND, what happened to your eyelid, did you suffer from dropsy?

You climb out of bed, knowing you have an urgency to get to the toilet for a pee, phew made it just in time.

Now you are aware that your neck and shoulder joints are aching. Your energy is zapped, and you feel really exhausted.

THEN, wait a minute you look in the mirror and what on earth is your mother doing in there staring back at you. Is this some kind of dream?  Uh oh! Shouldn’t have got yourself worked up!! Here it comes, a hot flush.  Intense heat moving up from your breasts to embrace the whole of your neck, shoulders, and head. So swift it’s like getting off the plane into tropical heat.

You decide there must be something wrong with you so you make an appointment at the doctors.

You explain your symptoms and he smiles, patronising like:

Don’t you know whats wrong with you? How old are you now? Gosh in your 40’s?

Well actually I am 39.95 plus vat, you hear yourself say, and you think of Adrian Mole who was 13 and three quarters.

The doc continues; Too old for premature men-o-pause, might be going through pre- or peri men-o-pause, when was your last period?  When you have gone twelve months without having a period you will be through the men-o-pause.

How long will this take? you ask.

Well if you are peri-menopausal it can take anything between 2-10 yrs. The average age of Uk women reaching menopause is 51 years.

YELK!!! I have to suffer this for perhaps another ten years?

You suddenly feel your heart having another palpitation. Oh no! Now another hot flush coming on, is everyone turning up the heat today? Doc says something about blood test. Dispatched to the blood sucker (Phlebotomist).  You think doctor must have got it wrong. There must be something more terminal wrong with you. Was that why he is doing blood tests? Oh gosh, you can’t remember what he said. NOW where did I leave that car!

Eventually you find yourself in the town, passing a herbalist whose picture advert is: ARE YOU MEN-O-PAUSAL? Call in for our supplements NOW! You walk on by and the next shop  says: We do Botox injections for crows feet and frown lines, great for older women who want to regain their youth.

Gosh, you think, what about the rest of me? Yes it’s all there – liposuction, breast implants, derrière implants, skin peeling, – the list goes on.  Suddenly you start to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.  Do you want to be a robotic mannequin with face frozen in one expression and left unable to laugh? Does your partner love who you are for better and for worse, for who you are inside? If not, ditch him! Do you love you just as you are?

Yes, you have menopausal  symptoms, but, these can be controlled naturally, and those that can’t, you can embrace them.

Instead of saying you are having a hot flush, just be grateful you have your own personal heating system! Explain your bat wings  are to help you to fly someday and you are having a vacation on sleeveless dresses/shirts to protect your delicate skin.

Long skirts are feminine and quite retro, trousers are practical and who wants to loll around in a bikini? So brash!

Ah, the new diet…  Well, weight management is one thing, but you have learned you need the right macro and micro nutrients gained from your diet.

YES! you have started your own herb and vegetable garden, fresh food and a workout in the fresh air!

A long way to go, but nonetheless you are going in the right direction.

YOU will come to recognise that it is a journey, a chrysalis-tic moment from which you will step out into this beautiful butterfly having found the real you.

Enjoy The JOURNEY!

Over the coming weeks we will be taking a look at menopause in all its forms – Premature-MEN-O-Pause, Pre-Men-O-Pause, Peri-Men-O-Pause, Men-O-Pause, Post-Men-0-Pause

Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious but hopefully always informative. And if there are any topics you would like me to focus on just add them in the comments below.