In case the title wasn't enough, any men reading need to be informed that this blog is about "the change". Should male-types choose to continue reading, consider yourselves warned.
In November or 2011 I posted this blog on not having the horrible side-effects of menopause since getting into shape: www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
The blog you are reading now is "The rest of the story".
A year and a half ago I had my last cycle. They'd been sporadic for years, and even though some doctors tried to tell me I wasn't in pre-menopause, I knew better. I'd had signs since I was 34 that menopause was going to come early. I couldn't have been happier when I hit the one-year mark for being period-free last November, making me inarguably through menopause by medical standards. I did a little dance of joy.
I had someone once wonder aloud if my lack of cycles had something to do with my leanness and activity level. No way. During the 11 years leading up to the cessation of my cycles I was both obese/sedentary, and extremely lean/active. Right now I am about 20 pounds over where I want to be. And my cycles are gone. Kaput. Hasta la vista. Buh-bye. So obviously, it has had absolutely nothing to do with my fitness or body fat level.
Between menopause and aging I have found some wonderful benefits:
- I'm a lot nicer on a regular basis. I had cycles from hell- This is not much of an exaggeration. They were horrible. To the point where my family wanted to get away from me. I understood because I would have walked away from mySELF, had that been an option. I would go into rages, cry at the drop of a hat, and be inconsolable. It was terrible. I did get some relief from taking iron pills (turns out my heavy cycles were making me iron deficient), but it never completely released me from my hormonal torment. Now that I don't have those massive hormone surges going on any more I am more "level" and therefore better able to manage my emotions.
I read somewhere once that an early menopause can mean a shorter lifespan. I can say with utmost honesty that if that is the case I would much rather live a shorter life happy than a longer life miserable.
- My cycle was really heavy to the point where sometimes I wondered if I was hemorrhaging. My sheets were very familiar with the washing machine, regardless of how much I "reinforced" myself. Not having to deal with that anymore is fabulous.
- I get to use moisturizer! May sound like a silly benefit, but up until not long ago I was always an oil slick. People would talk about how good moisturizer felt and I didn't get it. All it did was make me slimy. I love that I can put a moisturizer on, feel it sink into my skin (which would now be classified as "normal"), and enjoy that feeling.
- I no longer have to wash my hair every day, since reduced oil production means it no longer looks like a bunch of greasy strings less than 24 hours after washing. I can go every-other day before it looks that way now. Big time saver!
- Zits are (almost) a thing of the past. The occasional pimple still sometimes rears it's ugly head, but as for the multiple volcano zits I used to sport on a regular basis? Gone!
- I can go without foundation and not look horrible. After 30+ years of slathering the stuff on I am no longer a slave to it. I either had to wear it before to cover my horrible acne or combined it with powder to soak up the oil from my face. Now I can just wear sunscreen and feel good about the way my "real" skin looks.
- When I do wear foundation, it's a moisturizing formula. This is cool because moisturizing foundation doesn't stick to my skin and dry before I am done blending it like the oil-absorbing varieties did.
- My body fat is distributing a bit better. I'll always be bottom-heavy, but now when I gain fat I get a bit more in my upper body. This is nice because I don't feel quite as disproportionate any more. My shadow on the ground more resembles and hour glass with more sand on the bottom than a bowling pin. I like that.
- I'm not so concerned with my appearance these days. I'll never be someone who is Okay with looking sloppy. But needing every hair in place and worrying about people seeing spider veins on my legs? Nah. I'd rather let it go and just enjoy myself.
Getting older isn't that bad, it turns out. In a lot of ways, it's beneficial. I'm happy to be 47 and through menopause. Now if I could just lose these blessed 20 pounds again.......................