(Smooth and natural menopause: why you should not be afraid of it and how to fight ageism)

Menopause is a natural phase of a woman's life, marking the end of her reproductive years. It's a topic of immense importance and interest, as it affects almost every woman at some point in her life. However, despite its ubiquity, the topic of menopause is often surrounded by stigma, prejudices and misconceptions, especially among men and many women feel ashamed or embarrassed to discuss it openly. We aim to break the silence surrounding menopause by shedding light on its science, symptoms, and social and psychological impact, in the hopes of empowering women to embrace this beautiful period of their lives.

At its core, the menopause transition is a biological process that ends in a cessation of the menstrual cycle. The average age of menopause in the UK is between 50-55, although it can occur as early as the mid-30s or end in the late 50s. During menopause, the ovaries stop producing eggs, and the body produces less of the oestrogen and progesterone hormones, which can lead to a range of physical and emotional symptoms. The transition usually begins with perimenopause, which can start several years before the climax and is characterised by irregular periods, hot flashes and a decline in the level of sex hormones. Postmenopause refers to the years after the climax when women are no longer able to conceive.

One of the most common symptoms of menopause is hot flashes, which are sudden and intense feelings of heat that can cause sweating, flushing, and a rapid heartbeat. Other physical symptoms can include vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and joint pain. Women may also experience emotional symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable and disruptive, menopause is not a flaw or decline in your health, but a natural biological process that signals a new phase of a woman's life. In fact, many women find that menopause brings in a sense of freedom and empowerment, as they are no longer beholden to the monthly fluctuations of their menstrual cycle.

While the physiological symptoms of menopause are well-documented, the social burden of this life transition is less understood. Menopause is often portrayed in popular culture as a time of social decline and loss, with women becoming invisible, irrelevant or less attractive once they have stopped menstruating. Many women experience a sense of grief as they mourn the end of their reproductive years. With the historical and modern societal expectations, many women will feel undervalued as they age, or struggle with changes in their identity, relationships, and sexuality. Media’s emphasis on youth and fertility can compound these feelings and lead women to view menopause as a negative or shameful experience, that should not be discussed publicly to avoid judgment and humiliation. As a result, both hormonal changes and societal pressures can provoke anxiety and depression in a lot of women out there.

It's important to remember that menopause is a time of transition, not the end of life. Women can and do continue to lead fulfilling lives after menopause. Research has shown that women who have a positive attitude towards menopause and view it as a natural life transition are more likely to experience less severe symptoms and a smoother hormonal shift. They are also more likely to maintain a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their lives.

By focusing on self-care, building a support network and daily habits to support hormonal health (varied, nutrient-rich diet, glucose management, stress management, hormone-balancing supplements), women can overcome both physical and psychological struggles of menopause and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

And remember that Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been!




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