Let’s talk about a topic that’s NEVER really exciting to bring up…menopause!
In August of 2009, I had a complete hysterectomy. While the doctors told me, the procedure would “nose dive” me into menopause, I had really no idea what that meant. This translated into hot flashes, night sweats, side effects from hormone replacement and weight gain. Sometimes the hot flashes were so bad that I would go into the bathroom, take off my clothes and just stand there til the sensation passed. Hot Flashes are like having your own personal microwave that just turns on when it feels like it!
While this maybe TMI (Too Much Information), the purpose of my “full disclosure” is that hormonal changes, as we age, are real and impact our daily lives in many ways we do not expect.
It’s a normal, natural transition in life for women. My clients often have questions about menopause especially since they are around the age where it’s common – typically ages 40 through 58, averaging around age 51, although it can take place as early as 35.
Simply put, your ovaries change and stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control the menstrual cycle. Eggs are depleted, fertility declines and eventually stops. You’ve officially “reached” menopause when you haven’t had a period for one year. Read more...
Here are some symptoms of female menopause:
- irregular periods
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- sleep problems
- mood changes
- weight gain, slowed metabolism
- vaginal dryness
- thinning hair and dry skin
- loss of breast fullness.
Note: you may experience only some of these symptoms or many of them – it’s different for everyone.
“Man” opause – Is this Real?
The answer is YES! Men also experience something similar called male menopause (or, what I like to call, “man”opause)? Not as commonly known as female menopause, male menopause happens when age-related changes occur in male hormone levels, where testosterone production drops in men ages 50 or older.
Male menopause differs from female menopause in several ways: first of all, not all men experience it and second, it doesn’t involve an eventual shutdown of your reproductive organs like it does for women.
And, symptoms of male menopause are also different. They can include:
- depression or sadness
- low energy
- increased body fat
- reduced muscle mass and feelings of physical weakness
- gynecomastia, or development of breasts
- decreased bone density
- erectile dysfunction
- reduced libido
Treatments for Both:
Since both conditions impact our lean muscle and potentially cause weight gain, an important step is to eat healthy, nutritious foods, get regular exercise including resistance training to help combat reduced muscle mass as well as talk to your partner/spouse about the mental side effects.
While we can measure the above symptoms and potentially safely treat them, there may be a lot of trial and error. Communication is key. You may not “be yourself” during this time and talking to each other about the changes is very important.
If you think you’re experiencing male or female menopause, talk to your doctor or health practitioner to discuss treatment options. I suggest taking your partner, spouse or friend. Why? At some point you may tune out. Sharing the recommendations is SO much easier if you are both there when the doctor tells you his/her solutions. Just sayin…..
Are you or have you ever experienced signs of menopause or “man”opause? Let me know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.