There are lots of concerns that come with being a woman. I remember having a discussion with my friend about the many trepidations I have just by being a woman and we came to the conclusion that the only time a woman has nothing to worry about is when she is a baby.
As she matures, she begins to worry about her body changes and if she would be on the bigger or smaller side. Then she moves to menstruation and its many possibilities, ranging from excruciating to no pain at all, heavy or less flow and the upshot of it not even showing up at all. I don’t even want to get started on the worries of having or not having children.
Menopause is a common transition that happens when a woman has missed her period for 12 complete months in a row. Menopause is a beautiful part of a natural aging process. The indications surrounding this phase can feel anything but common and many women have wondered about the journey, process, and eventuality of it. Unfortunately, many societies have shrouded this period with so many myths that a lot of women now live with uncertainty and fear of it.
As my mum and I talked about her fear and expectations for menopause, I realized that if these myths are not cleared, the same apprehensions and forebodings will be passed on from one generation of women to the other. The truth will without an iota of doubt, aid transitions and close the long opened book of uncertainties.
Following is a list of top menopause myths, followed by real fundamental facts and truths.
Top Menopause Myths And The Real Truth You Should Know
- Menopause is painful
While it is true that menopause has not been a leisurely walk in the park for some women, it would be an anomaly to completely categorize menopause as painful. As women, our bodies are different and in many ways, our experiences. Therefore, the effects of menopause vary from woman to woman.
The indisputable fact about this is simple. When your time comes, you would know how your body intends to respond to this beautiful transition and the pre-requisite measures to put in place. Lots of research has been done with complementary results to make this transition as delightful as it should be.
According to Healthline, most menopause-related pain can be reduced or eliminated with home remedies, medical treatment, or lifestyle changed. These options and processes have all been tested and tried. Their successes have without a doubt, put this myth in the back seat or even completely out of the car.
The absence or presence of menopause pain doesn’t have the potential to affect the quality of your life, so seat back and expect to have the most extraordinary transition your gorgeous body would ever experience.
- Menopause inevitably begins at 50.
I don’t know about you, but the inability to exactly predict the course of my life leaves an expectant hope in my heart for surprises. Now, I don’t mean not having a plan for life. I mean the incapacity to tell exactly what will happen the next day and the day after and so on. It wasn’t given to us to have that superpower and thankfully, it gives us the enablement to trust in the unseen for good until it is physically seen. Life is a bank of surprises and should be treated as such.
Menopause is a transition that cannot be predicted. The amazing body that comes with womanhood conveys a thrilling feel with each change that comes. Just like labour, childbirth, and even sometimes, menstruation, menopause doesn’t tell you when it would arrive.
Balance Hormone Center, Oklahoma has confirmed that on average, menopause begins around 52, but symptoms could begin as early as your late 30s to as late as your early 60s. This basically shows that the beginning of menopause is unique to every woman.
Many have said that the surest way to determine this is to look at the age your mother started and the progressions in your lineage. This statement even proves to be a surer fact and should be individually embraced rather than generalizing the process of this transition. At least, genes do not lie and it simplifies your likelihoods.
Ultimately, there is no basic way to foretell the beginning of menopause. All you need to do is trust that the surprise packaged for you will be mind-blowing.
- Menopause causes intense sweating
I heard the explanation of this myth from one of my random conversations and it totally amused me. The justification for this was that monthly menstruation permitted the body to get rid of its unfertilized eggs as often as possible, which is true. At the point where these unfertilized eggs cannot be gotten rid of, they transform into a sweat which causes body odor, as these unfertilized eggs must find their way out of the woman’s body one way or another.
The latter part of that statement was the reason for my amusement. I could never understand how eggs that came out as blood would change its course and become water or eventually, sweat. The details of this myth didn’t add up and it still doesn’t. For somebody else listening, it may have caused worry, because nobody likes to smell and sweat so much.
This is not an attempt to invalidate anyone’s experience of sweating during menopause, especially if as a reader, that was your experience. Your understanding of menopause is accurate as it applies to you, but it will not be the same for every woman.
Menopause does not fixedly cause intense sweating. Agreeably, there are lots of changes in the hormonal balance as a result of this development, but it still doesn’t unquestionably establish that the resultant effect will be sweating. It is your body, your experience.
- Menopause comes with more peeing.
It would seem that lots of women have heard this from one or several women around them. I was told that because of the pressure of babies on the bladder during pregnancy, the woman’s body lost the ability to retain pee for as long as she could when she had not given birth.
I cannot determine the truth or fallacy of that statement, but one thing I know is that I was terrified and alarmed when I stumbled on that information. I couldn’t help but wonder why women had to go through that. The outcome of my response was not as extreme as it would have probably been for other women.
Research has indeed shown that for some women, the bladder tissue tends to get thin during menopause and the urethra becomes more prominent making it harder for many women to hold back as soon as the desire to pee comes. It however states that Kegel exercises, vaginal estrogen treatments, and medications can offer respite for this.
Regardless, the word to be highlighted in that sentence above is “some”. As long as it is not a universal, wide-ranging experience, it cannot be established as fact. If it is not fact, it is definitely not true and shouldn’t be propagated as one.
- Menopause causes weight gain.
It is important to state here that indeed, for some women, old age comes with a struggle to maintain a desired weight. However, this concern can be fixed when a healthy diet is sustained with regular exercise. There are various articles about maintaining healthy diets for every transitioning phase online like “7 surprisingly unhealthy diet foods”, “Sugar Bombs and how to avoid them”, “Top 3 Diet mistakes that will make you look older “, and so on. All of which can be found on primewomen.com.
With all this knowledge and information, maintaining desired weight and body stature is no longer an impossibility regardless of age and phase. Now that we have gotten this out of the way, the truth is that menopause is not essentially an assurance that a woman will add weight.
It is not a certainty that when women waltz into this season, the numbers on the scale spike up. It most definitely does not mean that. Many women have weight insecurities and this mostly is as a result of pressure placed on them by society and sometimes, the men they have come in contact with.
For a long time, there was a bias and discrimination against women sized 8 and above. Women have starved themselves just to gain acceptance and look a certain way. Many times, this has led to depression and in severe cases, suicide. However, with the progression of time, we have had campaigns against these discriminations and the acceptance of plus-sized women by the society and it has proven to be very effective.
I said all these to state that as women, the pressures of looking a particular way are a lot. It is not best to have a bad notion that categorizes what should otherwise be a fulfilling phase. The notion that menopause causes weight gain should be debunked. Menopause does not cause weight gain. Yes, it may be a resultant effect for some women, it still does not make it a typical effect and should, therefore, not be placed as a standard.
- Menopause kills or reduces sex drive.
Many women have otherwise stated an increase in sex drive and libido during menopause. They ascribed this to the freedom that comes with having sex at this phase. There is no fear of getting unplanned pregnancies as there are no longer eggs to be fertilized. This makes them go all in and all out.
Balance Hormone Center says that low libido during menopause may be a sign of hormone imbalance which can be addressed with Hormone Therapy (HT).
Women can and should enjoy sex during menopause. Menopause is not a joy killer and is definitely not the end of every enjoyable thing a woman has previously experienced. Funnily, many women should look forward to menopause because it is the absence of menstrual period forever. I don’t know about you, but I have entered every month looking forward to when I would stop having periods and period cramps.
No period means no pregnancy and all the stress that comes with it in most cases; vomiting, cramps, family planning pills and so many more. If this is not a reason to consciously be revitalized in sex drive, I don’t see what else would be.
Menopause does not kill or reduce sex drive. It is a season of rest and relaxation most especially in the area of having sex and it should be completely utilized. I feel that hearing this statement increases a consciousness in the hearts of women and makes them prepare themselves for what is not even a possibility. Because some have accepted it, it unknowingly becomes the basis for which sex is not enjoyed, not necessarily the fact that menopause has begun.
Menopause does not reduce sex drive because really, there are no ‘side effects’.
- Surgical menopause does not have menopause symptoms.
When I stumbled on this perception I was quite unprepared to know that there was something like surgical menopause. Surgical menopause, for people like me who would just be hearing this for the first time, is complete or partial removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Now, many women would believe that this indeed works but truthfully, it does not. Why would you want to push your body to receive prematurely what should come naturally and beautifully? I understand the fear and untruthful expectations many women have had about menopause which is as a result of these myths I am attempting to debunk with this article. I also understand the notion that many women have of “my body, my rules” and honestly I respect that and will not try to water it down.
Like we are all entitled to our opinions and views, here is mine. What has ever been done prematurely that comes out relatively okay? Many women have tried to ensure that their babies do not come out prematurely during pregnancy. While there are new scientific ways to preserve these babies if they do come before time, many mothers would prefer to carry their babies full term. There are more advantages to that. Is it an egg, a scientific innovation, a cooking session, name it. There is always a difference between what is made prematurely and what comes out naturally.
It is the same way in menopause. Surgical menopause will have more menopause symptoms and eventually need more measures put in place than natural menopause. Research has proven that the effects come more rapidly because there is a drastic unprepared shift in hormonal balance. The body is now forced to accept what it did not initiate and prepare for.
Surgical menopause is not advisable and should not be ventured into. Give your body the opportunity to express its many treasures. That is what it was made to do.
- Menopause automatically means ‘old age’.
Many women felt old at the entrance of this phase. It felt like a countdown to the end of their lives. Like very soon, they would pass on to the great beyond. This myth has made many women very unhappy about menopause because they did not want to be seen and tagged as old.
Menopause does not mean old age at all. When my mum entered this amazing phase, I was literally in awe of how she transformed. I watched her processes and it made me prepare for what would one day be my experience and to be honest, I earnestly anticipated that day.
Menopause is a transition that leaves me awestruck. How after so many years of having menstruation, it completely ceases. Now, the body gets to prove itself, its strength, grit, and resilience. It becomes basically ‘what you see is what you get’. The body now gets the opportunity to run on its own terms. For me, that is completely amazing.
Menopause does not mean old age. It implies strength and so much power because it is now just you, your body, and its mechanisms. Menopause is an extra-ordinary transition. Like so many phases in life, attitude creates a tremendous difference. How you see it is how you will respond to it and how enjoyable it will be for you.
Menopause practically indicates a difference; a difference in routine, parenting, being a spouse, sexual autonomy, and many other things that should be celebrated. How can this not be remarkable?
- Hot-flashes cannot be stopped during menopause.
Hot flashes are bouts of sweat that come mostly at night. Findings have shown that having frequent symptoms of these is associated with more anxiety, depression, sleep problems, heart disease risk, and poorer bone health.
AARP has shown that up to 80 percent of women experience hot flashes but doctors have reassured us that these uncomfortable bursts of heat and sweat won’t last long. Invariably, it is different for many women. For some, it lasted six months, for others two years, and some even longer. It has also been revealed that some get major hot flashes while others get minor ones that can be tolerated. Some never even get to experience what a hot flash is.
The fact remains that while this may be a common symptom, it is still not definite. Regardless of the outcomes, there are natural ways to stop or reduce it depending on the extremities. Enforcing the notion that hot flashes are the same for everyone would be a very imbalanced view, because, in reality, we are not all the same. The effects of hot flashes are different and one view being enforced as a rule will not be appropriate at all.
Regardless of the fact that many women enter menopause with the notion of having hot flashes, they should with the right information. It can be stopped and reduced, and it all depends on the type of body and the various precautions put in place.
- Nothing can be done to reduce menopause symptoms.
AARP has determined that recent research has shown how regular exercise can help women in menopause not only lose weight but feel better about themselves as they control other symptoms. The Menopause society has informed that an active lifestyle with regular exercise enhances the health, quality of life, and fitness of women in menopause.
Furthermore, it has also been discovered that plant-based therapies which include supplements like soybeans help to reduce symptoms. It would be nothing short of the truth to categorically say that nothing can be done to reduce menopause symptoms. I absolutely do not believe that this phase was created to be undergone so much hardship. These symptoms can be reduced and it has been proven in so many ways.
I really do not remember seeing my mum have so many symptoms. What she experienced were normal symptoms like fatigue and cold sometimes but with the right diet and supplements, I could really say my mom was completely normal. A lot of things can be done to reduce symptoms of menopause. It is a soft stress-less season and should be enjoyed as such.
- Menopause produces memory loss
According to various reports, there are lots of causes for memory loss which include depression, anxiety, medication side effects, poor nutrition, stress, and so on. I strongly believe that some of these symptoms come from the stress birthed from having these misconceptions.
Many women have held on to and believed these myths for so long that they become anxious and depressed, which causes them to forget and they eventually blame it on menopause. Forgetting is a part of life that many people experience; both young and old. It is not and should not be attributed to women in menopause.
Menopause does not necessarily cause memory loss. In most cases than none, old age is a stronger cause of memory loss than menopause. Memory loss is a natural effect and should stand on its own. For further reading about menopause facts and the important figures, you can read this article.