Menopause Flashes Turning Up The Heat
I had been experiencing signs of approaching menopause for about eleven months. While I had my suspicions about “The Change” and what it meant, I didn’t have much to go on. I questioned if what I was feeling was really it. Attempting to confirm my suspicions I came across a new word to add to my vocabulary. It gave me a bit of clarity.
Perimenopause means close to menopause, the transition prior to menopause when major physical changes are happening. The length of time a woman remains in this stage varies widely from at least 1 year, up to 10 years and sometimes longer.
Menopause is the point in a woman’s life when she no longer has menstrual periods. I’d just recently learned that a woman officially hits menopause when she has not had a menstrual period for a full year. This is really just a single point in time. Everything after that one year mark is considered post-menopause.
Making these distinctions have been valuable to assist me in understanding the timeline for menopause occurring. It was surprising that the transition could last so long.
Growing up I can only recall that menopause was called “The Change” always said in a hushed voice with a frown. The implication that you don’t really want to know about “The Change” was prevalent. Perhaps it was mentioned a few times by my mom, no more. Perhaps there were things I heard along the way that added to a hazy picture, but all in all, until very recently my concept of “The Change” went something like this:
There will be a time when I will undergo “The Change” which will be uncomfortable at best and don’t even think about how bad it could get. It is not pretty. My periods will stop, which means I will no longer be able to have babies. Gone are the bloody periods, gone are youth and the childbearing years, gone are the vibrant sexual years.
That was basically what I knew about menopause. Light on facts, heavy on mystery. I took on those emotionally charged viewpoints about menopause as a girl and thus came into this stage of my life.
Writing this now I am astonished that a well-educated woman like me has been so uninformed. I didn’t seek out information either until nearly a year after I began to suspect that menopause was happening to me. As my suspicions grew I felt a looming sense of impending misfortune that I as a woman must sooner or later grin and bear “The Change” and mourn the loss of my last viable eggs.
Living in a pleasure-oriented group of sensual researchers for the past seventeen years did not make me exempt from this grim reality. I am there.