Everything I Know About Menopause

So, I don’t want to disappoint you, but what I know about menopause is basically nothing. 

You’d think, maybe, that since I’m a female person who is fairly well-educated and has managed to live to be over a half a century old that I’d know something about menopause. Welp, not so much.

What I know is tantamount (ooh, i used tantamount in a sentence, possibly even correctly) to a cartoon version of menopause. A caricature, if you will. Like if a caricature artist drew a picture of menopause with like an angry hag lady surfing a crimson wave on a broomstick with sweat beads flying behind her. So, yeah, not much.

But, let’s do take a look at what I do know and compare it with what you know. I’ll start, obviously. 

As a kid I remember these two pieces of information:

  1. Middle aged women at a family gathering talking about taking hormones or not taking hormone to “get through it.”
  2. My grandmother saying, somewhat flippantly under her breath, “I don’t know what they are going on about. You just get through it and it’s over. The end.” Now, in fairness, I’m paraphrasing. But generally the take away was that my grandmother, stoic to a fault, was perplexed that there were “options” about it since she’d just gone through it and got through it with nothing more than a mid-life crisis that manifested itself in her becoming a writer. 

Wait, why does that sound familiar?? 

The other bits of menopause information I picked up were that when you go through it (honestly, not even sure what that means) you will feel unreasonable angry and want to harm people. You will stop getting your period. You can opt for hormones that may or may not give you cancer or opt to go without hormones that also may or may not give you cancer. Cancer seemed inevitable.

As most of you, I heard about how you will have hot flashes that will border on uncomfortable and, somehow, adorably comical too. Like, “Oh man, that was crazy that I took off my sweater and only had a bra on! This is fun! Let’s rosé all day!”

I’ve heard a few things about night sweats too, which I was never sure was different from hot flashes or just hot flashes in your pjs.

Everything I know about menopause is seriously underwhelming….and what’s even more ridiculous is that I think I’m in it or or over it or going through it. No one knows which preposition it is, really.

Because I’m a life long learner, allegedly, I do seek to understand more about menopause, and even recently made a grown up appointment with my primary caregiver just to talk about it. I just keep thinking, what am I missing?

So my menopause journey (Dear Diary…) so far has been this. In my early forties I had a midlife crisis. Not sure if it’s related, but it was significant, which landed me in therapy, as realizing your half way through your life is not a super good time, turns out. Nothing menapausy was happening yet. 

Fast forward to my late forties, maybe 48? Who knows? I barely can remember the year I’m currently living in. I start to get hot flashes! The only one I truly remember was being in a Verizon store, or an ATT store, waiting endlessly for them to do something annoying about our family iPhone situation, when it came upon me, and, comically, on pure instinct, I pulled my jacket off and criss crossed by arms and pulled my sweater over my head involuntarily. I looked around, as if after an earthquake, like, whoa…did everyone just feel that?

They did not. Just me. Hot flash. 

Around that time, whilst still regularly, 28 day cycles on the nose, getting my period, I also would sweat through my pjs at night pretty often. In a haze I’d get up and be like what in the world, while abandoning said pjs on the ground. What a trip, right? 

Men, I need to pause here, (see what I did there? …men-pause), just point out to you that when you are female your entire life is built in body weirdness with constant cramps, boob pain, bleeding, and now sweating. It’s wild. You guys just walk through life having to get in fights to feel pain, when, baby, we’ve got that shit built right in! So much of the human experience is being denied you with your painless predictable bodies.

I digress.

So, between the sweaty nights and the few hot flashes, I think, well this must be it! But it’s not. I still get my period. I think, well, I guess I’m perimenopausal, which is pretty freaking funny since no one really knows what that is either. We pretend to, but, come one. It’s just us. Well, at least I don’t really know.

Now we arrive at the present day, it’s been about 10 months since I’ve had a period. From what I hear if I go two more for the magic 12 months in a row, I’m officially in menopause. Well, I am officially in it or through it? I don’t know. Great questions. Is there something after menopause besides sweet, sweet death? Post menopausal? Menostoppal? I don’t know. 

What’s weird about this whole journey is that I don’t get hot flashes or night sweats or want to harm anyone. Although, I failed to mention that I did go through a rather murdery stage where I did feel pretty irritated with anyone and everyone, but even that was a while ago, and in my defense it could have been the people actually being annoying and I was just reacting completely appropriately.

Back to the doctor visit. I went to my doctor, like a kid missing out on a birthday party, saying, boo hoo, why aren’t I on a patch of hormones or something like all the cool menopausal women? She was like, well, you aren’t having symptoms…and maybe you won’t, but unless you do, you just go through it.

Aha! Gramma Audrey! “What’s the big deal!” Fingers crossed that will be my fate, but who the hell knows. Having a female body is a constant edge of your seat roll of the dice!

In conclusion, I don’t know much about menopause and seem to be experiencing it in a similar way of the dark ages, which is probably offensive to the dark ages where they probably had a ritual or something to honor women. I hope that you know more than me and however you are experiencing it has some solid cancer risk free solutions to it. You do what you need to to get through it, over it, past it…whatever.

I do, however, need to share with you how strange I think it is that women know so little about menopause. I’m guessing it’s because there was so much shame for women about discussing our periods and lack of periods, my god, we can’t win! But, let me throw this out there. What I love, love, love about Gen Z is how the girls/women talk openly about their periods. I think we owe it to our daughters to be the first generation of women who talk opening about menopause, so they know just how adorable our hot flashes are, and, more seriously, how outrageously complicated and cool our bodies are.


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  1. Alicia on December 2, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    I wish I could fix my typos. Goddamn fat fingers.

  2. Alicia on December 2, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    I’m 52 also. Been on the pill since age 18 except for the 4-5 years I was pregnant or breastfeeding. Around age 39 I had night sweats. Although that could have been from a memory foam mattress topper. I missed a couple of doctor appointments due to Covid but my last one early this year she said nothing about it other than still being on the pill won’t make me have periods; they’ll still stop. Eventually. So I’m still bleeding but not every 28 days like before. It’s lighter, most of the time, but longer like 8-10 days and then just when o think it’s done, it’s like nope; fooled you- here’s another day of it. My aunt says I should get an ablation. Have not discussed that with doc yet but I’m sooooo over this madness. And yeah I’m so I haven’t quit the pill because the only thing worse than going through menopause would be getting pregnant. It can happen. Not a risk I’m willing to take. But then there’s the seriously tanked libido. I love him madly. That’s been called into question because I have like zero interest in getting laid. I’m like babe, it’s not that I just don’t want to have sex with you- I don’t want to have sex with anyone. Like if Chris Hemsworth showed up with his hammer, I’d be putting his ass to work on the fence and the deck. So that’s where I am. I haven’t seen any other comments. Am I the only one uninterested in sex? He’s totally into it and really really good at what he does. I just don’t care if I get it or not. And generally prefer not.

  3. Kim on December 2, 2022 at 6:19 pm

    As a soon-to-be 54 year old woman, I have recently traveled this path. My doctors didn’t bring it up. My friends don’t talk about it. The weeds are deep and the sky is murky in trying to find one’s way during this period. I will highlyhighlyhighlystronglyhighly recommend that you dig a bit deeper before adopting your gynecologists blasé recommendation to do nothing because you are mostly asymptomatic. Menopause is soooo much more than hot flashes. When I brought up the HRT YAY or NAY question with my physician, he scheduled me for a bone density scan. I too was mostly asymptomatic. Stable moods. No regular hot flashes, etc. My inside voice assured me it would be one of the bigger wastes of my time, Wrong! Even as a consistent exerciser and weight trainer I was osteopenic. The WHI has scared us pantsless but the study was flawed beyond measure. There is a receptor for estrogen on most every single cell in our bodies. If we are lucky, we’ll have another fifty years here. Imagine those years and the impact on our bodies lacking our single-most important hormone. Sorry to sound so evangelical but dammit, someone has to be. Speaking of evangelical, as a fellow Georgian, thank you for voting today!