Monday, 4 June 2012

It's not over till it's over.....period.

Gentlemen, you might want to look away now, I’m going to talk about the menopause....…..

The first rule of being menopausal: you don’t talk about the menopause

Weird isn’t it ….I know it's getting a bit more fashionable….but the bottom line is no one wants to be menopausal. And no one wants to discuss it. It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, you don’t look good, you don’t feel good….by varying degrees. I had never even heard of perimenopausal until I was. These are just some ….. yes some …… of the symptoms: hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, mood swings, sleep problems, weight gain, wrinkles, thinning and greying hair, headaches, diminished sex drive, allergies, vaginal dryness, feelings of isolation, bloating, tiredness, and spots. And you lose your mind. Suddenly and without warning. It happened to me. I had it when I came in the house and by the time I’d walked into the kitchen I had no idea where I'd left it, why I was in there, where my keys were or what my name was. Or anyone else’s.


If you’re in a relationship then just at the point when your kids are flapping their wings, you are morphing into a grizzled-greying-exhausted-fat-sweating-husk of your former self, and your man will probably be eyeing up a Moto Guzzi and or a Ferrari, the twenty-something office temp called Carly, gym membership, chunky-silver-skull-themed jewellery and a piercing....or two. And if you’re single….. well good luck with that. Perhaps it should better be called: men-on-pause.......

Tracey Emin recently said the menopause is the beginning of dying and I have to agree with her, it can feel like that, it is the death of your reproductive years. According to Jill Shaw Ruddock, in her book: The Second Half of Your Life, we are all going to live a whole lot longer so we need to get through it and embrace the new found vim and vigour that could be waiting on the other side. Technically, the menopause is declared ‘official’ exactly 12 months to the day after your last menstrual cycle. The day after that…’re post-menopausal. However, the stop/start nature if this imprecise period, usually somewhere between 43-59, means you don’t know which period is your last period until you never have another one. And the symptoms may continue. The typical length of the whole transition is 5 years.

I hadn’t had a period for almost 2 years. Till Sunday. Just when I thought I was post-menopausal……..back to square one. But, oddly, I felt younger.
For those of you who have followed my recent theatrical adventures, thank you for your kind words ....good news, I have tickets for Love, Love, Love next week. Being old and irritable I rang the Royal Court again, to weep and gnash my teeth and the lovely girl said: oh yes we do have some tickets available for people who were cancelled. Really, I said, no one mentioned it before. Oh yes, she said, we didn’t then but we do now…..better seats but you can have them at the same price you originally paid…… result. Sometimes being old and irritable has it's moments.......

Top tip: Tracey Emin: She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea at Turner Contemporary, Margate.......go see her work the menopause.


  1. My thoughts about my menopause, the pre-and post-parts of it, are these:
    1. There is absolutely nothing about it which I perceive as positive.
    2. I shouldn't have lived long enough to have menopause. Back in the olden days, I would have died in childbirth (I always bled too much) and never would have had a hotflash in my life instead of having them for fifteen years or so. So far.
    3. I am not sure that would have been a terrible thing. My husband would have remarried a much younger woman who could have then raised whatever children I left and had more of her own.
    4. I suppose that's enough.

  2. Well, I got to enjoy some of the perimenopausal symptoms, and ended up with an early partial hysterectomy so I basically never knew when the real deal hit, though I've noticed the sleeplessness, the dryness, the change in skin tone. On the other hand, the freedom from bleeding was liberating!

  3. So glad you got better tickets for the play - yes, it pays to persevere!

  4. O,gawd,I'm well into this peri-menopause, and not enjoying it at all.I wish I could just turn it OFF! Sigh. And now I get free mammograms because I'm 45.O YAY! :)

  5. Ruh-roh. I'm just coming up on 2 years. Please god, I hope I don't get a period. I am so done. I'm actually feeling very energetic and liberated these days...

  6. gotta embrace the second half or what a messy tragedy we can become. yuck.

    Enjoy your week!
    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

  7. Love Tracy Emin. Have to say now I'm 50 I'm on the cusp for sure and for weeks have been feeling grumpy to murderous - is that part of it too (think it all accounts)

  8. Those symptoms seem very familiar, except for the vaginal dryness. If there is a male version, I've been going through it for some time, or is it just senility.
    Congrats on the tickets.

  9. My mother says that childbirth, divorce, menopause & hystarectomies should not be discussed or only with one close friend - you just get on with it as she did all of it !

    I tend to agree - I receive alarming texts from friends about their relationships sent to all - a bit dramatic.

    I also had a hystarectomy years & years ago so no periods for me !!!

  10. Sometimes life offers surprising elements.

    I used to like cuddling my Beloved when she had night sweats...nice and a seal.

  11. I thought I'd really mourn the loss of my supposed femininity but life just gets better! I'm 56. I'm having a great time and, after I got the Mirena and that stopped the horribly heavy bleeding I'd been having, everything is now tickety boo!

    No HRT. No sweats. Maybe I'm just lucky.

  12. Dear God but that Twisted Scottish Bastard really has me in tears of laughter....
    (Writes the fat Rotweiller! ;O)

    Just be SURE that that was a period and nothing more sinister. Hope your cold is easing.

  13. Menopause is the death of reproductive years. Hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings are the symptoms of menopause. I was suffering menopause and weight gain but black cohosh has controlled the situation.

  14. I'm 61 now so, been there....done that and, came through it pretty unscathed. No HRT, not much in the way of hot flushes and not a lot of weight gain to speak of. In the early stages, I did take Black Cohosh so maybe that is the way to go.
    ...... a positive mental attitude doesn't hurt either !
    Enjoy Love, Love, Love and remember....being older does have some's not all bad ! XXXX

  15. Tell me about those night sweats, they've been going on for five years now and it does my head in. Never having had a maternal bone in my body I'd welcome the end of fetility with open arms, it's all the crap it comes with that I hate. xxx

  16. Positive mental attitude! I hope PMA can replace my PMS ASAP!

  17. Early on set menopause was a cruel joke played on me. While my friends haven't begun to think about it I've been dealing with hot flashes and all the other lovelies since my mid 30's. There's a bright side...I'm but I'm still looking for it. :D

  18. Oh gawd, I'm in peri-menopausal mode and have turned into a grumpy old cow.

  19. The men-on-pause...I love that.

    Spots 'yep' - grumpy 'yep' - over emotional 'yep' 40 'yep'.....does that mean I could be borderline?

    I'm really keen to pootle along to see Tracey's work, but I'm not too sure the kids would like it 'or' even be allowed to enter!

    Word has it, even Turners work (in the Turner centre) is also a little blushing - think I may wait until they head back to school.

    Nina x

  20. I don't know if my mood swings are menopause related or just my own endearing personality!
    I too have a Mirena coil and that stopped any bleeding, but I must have been on the edge of the menopause anyway. My partner says I have been bad tempered , and not like myself and we have had some hiccoughs with our sex life, but they could have happened anyway.
    I dont want to be fertile, but i still want to be 'normal' at least what passes for normal for me!

  21. for me menopause, or as we call it in germany "wechseljahre" = years of change, are an exciting time in my life. not only the body changes also the thoughts and the feeling. i am 54 and for about 4 years in menopause. fortunately i suffered only from sweat attacks, restless nights and got a few kilo more one the scale but i never have depressive moods. to fight against i take a hormon gel which hold it at bay. I now find parts of me that had been hidden for years, or never have come forward and I feel completly lucky and satisfied presently. I do not want to be younger, not often in my life I was so balanced.
    moreover i think that we should talk about menopause, it's natural.

  22. I call it the meno .....

    Can't remember the rest of the word these days.

  23. Oh, I can really relate to this post, but I refuse to go down without a fight :-) Just found your blog and am your newest follower.

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  25. It appears I have been peri-menopausal for a couple of years now. Only had one period for the whole of last year and yes you guessed it, I was on holiday at the time. Hope the same thing doesn't happen this year, it will piss me right off! The night sweats are a killer, I keep a cold wet flannel by the bed and OH says it is worse than sleeping with the Ready Brek kid. Other than that, my moods seem OK but I do have rapidly expanding waistline not suited to a fashion blogger lol x

  26. My mother told me the day my periods stopped it would be the happiest day of my life. Well, was true for me, but the other not-so good things you described in your post are true, too. I don't mind the gray hair. The wrinkles are just plain weird (is that really my face?!) And various other things can be problematic. However, I think the worst part of my menopause was the husband. And, yes, he did run off with a much younger woman. Hooray! Of course, it took a while for me to reach this sentiment.
    So glad you got the theatre tix! Every now and then, I have to play the crazy divorced lady card.

  27. You forgot to mention the Tena Lady and Chin stubble! The young male accountant that I work with is now an expert on the menopause working with myself and my other 50 something lady colleague. I hate the grey hair - I still keep hitting the O'Oreal bottle as I can't let go of my dark hair - I call it doing a "Jean Muir". The sweats are amazing! My face is not my face (I swear at her when I look in the mirror the old bag!). I can't really think of anything good about being this age except I have paid the mortgage off and I'm not afraid to tell my mother when she is wrong! xxx

  28. Sorry this is a late comment but just browsing through and saw your post, a bleed after 2 years without is something you should get checked out - probably nothing but should not be ignored x

  29. I remember walking into the mirrored bathroom at our lady spa (no clothes) and thinking to myself, " I love it that women of all ages come here, even this old one in the mirror' when I realized it was me! Gaaaaa!

  30. Well my new girlfriend's 57 and I think she looks lovely! Glad we men don't have to go through all that palarver though.

  31. I found this blog helpful because now a days i feel something change in myself like perimenopause symptoms. This post provide me helpful detail for controlling it. thanks

  32. So sorry you have to start counting all over again. My longest dry spell was 10 months and that made me mad, I was so tired of bleeding as a way of life. I started all those horrible symptoms at 43 and had my last period at 46. 52 and still miserable with hot flashes, night sweats, heart palps, even considering hormones despite the family history of estrogen receptor breast cancer, because I've decided the sleep deprivation will kill me sooner. I'm tired of feeling tired, old and grumpy and wonder a lot if the women who say the second half is wonderful are on drugs because I need to know what they are and get some.
    I miss my sense of humor more than my skin tone or my sex drive. Laughing used to be my favorite past time, but it's hard to find the humor in anything when you're tired and brain foggy.

    I'm thrilled to find bloggers willing to talk about it and tell the truth, because from where I sit and sweat, menopause has sucked beyond my ability to imagine. I've tried every herbal option out there and nothing works for me, except maybe melatonin to get sleepy, and xanax to stop worrying about it all so much.

    I wonder a lot about the correlation between menopause and divorce and am amazed most days that my husband and I haven't given up. He's a good guy though, and would probably agree about the slippery seal comment, he doesn't find me nearly as repulsive as I find myself.

    Thanks for posting this and for letting me whine all over your comments.

  33. Thank you so for talking about what so few will... Having been happy to be on the road to being period free after 8 is back...for a long time... I have missed twice before for 6 months each can I be 53 and know so little about the process.

    I appreciate not only your knowledge, but willingness to be open about the emotional aspects...a place to bond and connect....everyday lately...I feel a personal battle with my self for my sanity. Half of my daily goals seem to be not to go off the rails!