Here we go… the topic of the month for September… Menopause. Early in January, we partners got together and made a calendar for the year with topics we would emphasize each month. Immunizations was a pretty easy one. So was Alzheimer’s. Both topics with which you (our clients) identify.
And this month, menopause. Why menopause? Well, it IS a life transition. Sure, you lose that monthly “visitor”, but as for the rest…
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “as many as 61% [of menopausal women] report insomnia symptoms”. (1) Getting up during the night and turning on a bright yellow or white bathroom light makes it harder to get back to sleep. Solution? At our NASMM conference this year, we learned that research show a colored night light plugged into the wall – or even a toilet seat colored night light allows you to remain in the sleep mode and return to sleep faster. The best color? Red! If you’re having that problem, CLICK HERE for the list of best night lights for 2019.
For some tips on adequate and quality sleep, CLICK HERE:
Fatigue and Energy Levels
“The same hormonal changes that cause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can also affect your mood and energy levels, leading to fatigue.” (2) So, if you or your aging parent are ready to downsize or move, don’t feel surprised that you just can’t do it all. That is where Golden Bridges can help. We can do the full move for you, or help with downsizing, giving you some confidence and guidance on what you can move, what you can’t, and how to direct those items into storage, sales, or donations.
Hair Loss and Weight Gain
Menopause can also do a number on the body. Hair loss is triggered by hormone fluctuations and,
“[w]hile scientists disagree over how menopause affects changes in weight, there is evidence that the process reduces the body’s metabolic rate. This change means that the body needs fewer calories, so even if a woman maintains her regular diet, she might put on additional weight as her caloric needs drop. Additionally, menopause-induced changes could redistribute body fat, causing more to be stored in the abdomen area.” (3)
Heart Palpitations; Hot Flashes; Hayfever
Those hormonal changes also affect your heart muscle, immune, and endocrine systems. Even if you never experienced allergies in the past, they can show up during menopause. “That’s right, hormone imbalance allergies are a real thing.
As we know, there are estrogen receptors all over the body, including on immunoregulatory cells. And estrogen, it appears, may skew the body’s response toward allergy and inflammation. This is generally held in check by progesterone, but in perimenopause and menopause, when levels of progesterone are low, asthma, allergies, even hay fever may appear or get worse.”(4)
Ending #1 – TMI?
Can you tell I’m stalling? Ok. It’s not because I don’t know anything about the topic, indeed I’ve known it intimately for nearly twenty years. Yep, I am one of the “lucky” ones. After having a hysterectomy at 33, I was informed that it might appear earlier for me than women who keep their uterus. Mine, however, was pre-cancerous and having three children already I had no objection to the surgery. My 30s were wonderful- not having to carry supplies or track my periods on the calendar. No birth control necessary. Life was good.
Then, WHAM! In my early 40s I began experiencing symptoms. Mild at first. I still remember that first hot flash. It was during a business call. I was presenting to a physician and his office staff. My face was hot and beet red, and I felt like the floor was dropping under my feet. I made it through, got to the car, and wondered what in the heck that was. It was maybe six months before the next one, and I still didn’t want to believe it was a hot flash. Heart palpitations, irregularity, irritability, headaches… they all came along for the ride through my 50s. Yes, I tried a hormone patch and all the over-the-counter remedies but the flashes were still affecting my sleep, hitting every 20 minutes – waking me up 14 times a night.
With a good primary care and OB/GYN physician team (and the help of a pharmacist), I am sleeping almost regularly, and confident that my 60s will only improve.
So, if you were expecting an ode to the wonderment of nature and a woman’s body; or, how the privilege of being a mother makes up for everything… that’s not exactly what this is.
But, recently I did run across the journal I kept when my first was born. Mostly breastfeeding and bowel movements, schedules and sleeping. But in between, those moments where I cried at how beautiful he was and how I didn’t know that I could love that much. I still think menopause is a dirty trick, but if I could raise that beautiful baby and two more into great human beings, I will take the bad with the good and “be happy”.
Ending #2 – All Business
As a women-owned business, we owners of Golden Bridges either have or will experience menopause for ourselves. We can empathize with you if you’re still going through it, or envy those of you who’ve survived. No matter the curve balls it has thrown your way, we can be there for you as you navigate that other life transition of downsizing or moving. Call us for a free consultation, and let us help!
Susan Scholz, Partner