If you’re feeling a bit of trepidation about menopause, you’re certainly not alone. Night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and painful sex aren’t exactly things most women welcome with open arms. But what if menopause wasn’t exactly as awful as you might imagine?
While menopause symptoms do exist, the experience of menopause is often fabricated into something women fear. Here’s the thing. There are some major myths about menopause we should all stop believing. Following are a few.
5 Major Myths about Menopause to Put to Rest
1. Menopause Starts after 50
While the average age of menopause onset is 51, this doesn’t mean every woman will experience menopause at the exact same time. There are several factors that contribute to the age a woman will experience menopause, including race, ethnicity and lifestyle factors. Family genetics can also contribute to the onset of menopause, with several studies finding a strong association between mothers’ and daughters’ ages at natural menopause.
2. You Have to Take Hormone Therapy
Think you need to take hormone therapy when menopause strikes? Think again. While hormone therapy can help some women, it’s not a prerequisite for menopausal women. Research shows that mindfulness is connected to a reduction in menopausal symptoms, especially for women experiencing common mood-related issues. Eating a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables is also related to the management of menopausal symptoms. Getting regular exercise, engaging in relaxing practices such as yoga and acupuncture, getting a good night’s sleep, and moderating excess alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco use can also help. Don’t underestimate the power of healthy lifestyle changes when it comes to naturally managing symptoms of menopause.
3. Sex Will Never Be the Same
Contrary to popular belief, your sex life isn’t over once you hit menopause. While you will experience vaginal dryness due to a drop in estrogen levels, this doesn’t mean sex will never be the same. Honestly, all you need is a little lube, and your sex life can continue through the rest of your life. When choosing lube, you’ll want to make sure it’s as natural as possible to avoid irritation. Coconut oil makes a wonderful, all-natural lube that can be excellent for women experiencing menopause. Click here for a list of some of the best natural lubes you can find, all of which will help dispel the no-sex menopause myth for good.
4. You’re Going to Gain Weight
Let’s be real about something. While many women tend to gain some extra weight during menopause, it’s not simply because they’ve ceased to have a menstrual cycle. As we age and our hormones begin to change, our metabolism naturally begins to slow down. One way to avoid excessive weight gain during menopause is to ensure that you’re eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and getting a good night’s sleep. While you might gain a few pounds as you age, you certainly don’t need to fear the scale just because you’ve hit menopause.
5. Menopause Symptoms Are Awful
If you’ve heard that menopause symptoms are so bad that you’re actively dreading this awful experience, you can ease your troubled mind. Yes, menopause symptoms are real but they’re not always as bad as you might expect. Take hot flashes, for instance. While 80% of menopausal women experience hot flashes, there are various factors that can contribute to how bad hot flashes actually are, such as alcohol intake, diet, hormone therapy use, and more. The “brain fog” you might fear as menopause sets in shouldn’t suddenly make you forget everything either. It does happen due to hormonal changes; however, there are many other reasons you might begin to forget a few things. Stress, low mood, an unhealthy diet, and more can all lead to memory loss, especially as we begin to age.
Menopause doesn’t mean the end of the world, ladies. While there are surely changes that will occur as you enter into this phase of life, the myths about menopause can cause more apprehension than the actual symptoms of menopause themselves.
There are certain myths about menopause we should stop believing. Transitioning into this stage of life is a blessing, one that marks maturity and a life well lived. Embracing menopause, rather than fearing these inevitable changes that aren’t always as terrible as they’re told to be, can offer a much more welcomed way to experience life’s changes.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.