As women we go through various stages of our lives, adolesence and all the raging hormones, for some there are children and then possibily grandchildren, then along comes this thing called menopause, the change, or whatever else you choose to call it.
Many women dread this time of their lives.
In looking to write this post I read up on various medical sites etc. about the signs, symptons and different types of menopause (yes there are different types!). I am not going to go into the details here as there is plenty out there for you to read up on the subject whenever you are ready to do so or choose to do so.
What I did find out, that I did not know, is that women of different cultures often have different experiences with their menopause. Whilst researching I found an interesting article from Everyday Health I was not aware of many of the points put forward and is very interesting! Here is an extract:-
Cultural Differences in Menopause Symptoms and Attitudes
Studies have shown that, with menopause, one size does not fit all. Learning to appreciate these differences may help you become more comfortable with your own experience and find a more positive way to approach menopause.
A clear example of the difference in Eastern and Western perspectives on the emotional and physical changes women typically experience as they get older are the very terms used to describe these changes. The Japanese word for this phase of life, konenki, when broken down, stands for “renewal years” and “energy,” whereas the Greek roots of the English word “menopause” simply mean “monthly stop.”
Even within the United States, the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) showed wide differences in menopause symptoms among racial and ethnic groups. Caucasian women noted more muscle aches, difficulty sleeping, and irritability than women of other backgrounds in this study. African-American women were more likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats; these women also had a more positive attitude about menopause, the study found. Though Chinese and Japanese women were less likely to have night sweats or hot flashes, they tended to be less enthusiastic about undergoing menopause than other ethnic groups. In another study, Japanese and Nigerian women abroad were found to more commonly experience frozen shoulders, described as limited and painful shoulder mobility, than women in other cultures approaching menopause.
And interviews of rural Mayan Indian women further illustrate that menopause is far from a uniform experience. Researchers found that the women reported no hot flashes or any significant menopausal symptoms. Mayan women tend to look forward to menopause because with it comes a progressive change in status within their communities and, in turn, a feeling of freedom. When women from indigenous cultures cross into menopause, they often become known as “wise women” or spiritual leaders and hold a place of power in their communities.
I am in the early stages of my menopause, I am getting moments of forgetfulness, erratic periods and at times I feel that I am going to internally combust, there are more possible symptoms to come, but you know what, I am actually looking forward to the end of menopause.
I shall tell you why I am looking forward to all of this:-
- No more periods – yeah!
- No more PMS – double yeah! I’m a cow just before a period and also I constantly drop things!
- No more hormonal headaches – thank fuck is all I can say to this one! I get the most acute hormonal, bordering migraine headaches.
- Uterine Fibroids Shrink – women approaching their 50’s may get these and they can cause problems. They shrink with the menopause and the reduction of oestrogen in the body (this is something that I, personally, do not suffer with but I include just in case anyone reading this has).
- Sex without pregnancy worries – I really don’t want babies at 50+ thank you!
- Self-confidence – this often comes with age but also with the ending of periods, PMS and hormonal fluctuations as well as any children you may have moving on with their own lives, women often have a greater freedom to do and try new things which can increase self-confidence. Also having lived a fair bit of life already we can move forward into new areas with a greater sense of ability.
- A time to take stock – with the changes happening to the body this can be a good time to take stock of where you are and what you want. I know that I am certainly thinking that way.
- A time to take care of yourself – with the symptoms comes a plethora of thoughts and ideas about how you can take care of yourself and help to control/reduce some of the more difficult-to-live-with symptoms. Personally I see it as a time to look at my diet and exercise and to try and get my body to a healthier weight to see me through to this next stage of my life in as well a state as I can be so that I can enjoy as much as I possibly can.
I am looking forward to this new phase of my life, I welcome with open arms the freedoms that it will bring and the potential for trying new things that I may not have in the past had the time, confidence or ability to do.
BRING IT ON!
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Velvet will share her stories, both autobiographical and fictional together with poetry, when the inspiration takes her, as well as some of her photography.