aging · fitness · menopause

I’m late to the menopause party


Lots of people ask us to blog more about menopause since we’re at that age.

And it’s true I’m at that age. But I’m not yet menopausal. Indeed, my last period started on the first day of the bike rally. Of course it did. Perfect timing, as always.

Menopause is starting to feel like something all my friends talk about but I haven’t much to contribute. It’s a bit like back when in grade six all my friends seemed to start their periods. They talked about it a lot. I didn’t start that much later but by the time my period began it was old news. Yawn.

Some days I feel like the person perimenopause and menopause left behind. No hot flashes here.

The average age of menopause is said to be 51 so I’m not technically “late” yet. Two weeks to go!

But perimenopause is supposed to begin much sooner.

Here’s what Web MD has to say,

Perimenopause, or menopause transition, begins several years before menopause. It’s the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in her 30s or even earlier.

Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause, this drop in estrogen speeds up. At this stage, many women have menopause symptoms.

So far, other than the dreaded age related metabolism slow down, I’ve had none of this. Even perimenopause seems to be passing me by.

I know there are some health risks to late menopause besides being late to the party.

So I was happy to read in the New York Times that there’s some health benefits to late menopause as well.

There’s actually some very good news for you if you went through menopause later rather than earlier: You may live longer.

True, late menopause is associated with an increased risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers. But “on balance, most of it is good news: Later age at menopause is associated with better health, longer life and less cardiovascular disease,” said Ellen B. Gold, a professor emeritus in public health at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine and principal investigator of the university’s Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, or SWAN.

Those who go through menopause later are at lower risk for heart disease and stroke, and also tend to have stronger bones, less osteoporosis and fewer fractures than those who go through menopause earlier. The average age of menopause, when a woman has her last menstrual period, is 51, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Save a party hat and a cupcake for me! I’ll be there eventually. Just fashionably late.


10 thoughts on “I’m late to the menopause party

  1. This topic is dear to my heart because I do believe menopause is still (still?!) viewed by Western medicine as an alarming ailment. It’s not! It is a lengthy process toward a natural milestone in a woman’s life and the age range is HUGE — from 35 through 55 or 60 & beyond. I’m on the opposite end from you, having stepped onto the Crone road at 38 and now, at 44, I’m fully there. The mood swings & sleep problems stink but for the most part, menopause rules! No hurry, dear writer. We’ll wait for ya!

  2. I like menopause. Perimenopause was tough for me because I had severe hormonal migraines. When I finally hit menopause, the headaches went away. I had some mood swings and sleep problems, but nothing significant. I didn’t even really have hot flashes (they were sort-of-warm flashes). I found that adding maca powder to my daily smoothies helped keep symptoms in check. I’m also vegetarian and avoid dairy and gluten (I don’t know if that makes a difference, though). At 54, I have no symptoms, take no hormones, and generally feel great physically.

  3. Menopause is great because I can: Do the bouncy-bouncy without ANY chances of becoming pregnant again. B. I save a ton of money because I don’t have to buy tampons or maxi pads OR replace blood-stained panties anymore. C. I no longer have cramps. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I lose 1/2 of the luxe head of hair I had. But–I know how to hide the bald spots. And….I have chin hair…But—I carry around a tweezer. It’s all good!

  4. There are things to love and things to hate about menopause. I love not having my period anymore. This was especially welcome after a few years of peri-menopause, when my period was unpredictable. I am inconvenienced by the hot flashes but I can live with them. What I struggle with most are two things: 1. disrupted sleep–I used to sleep like the dead, now not so much because of night sweats; 2. impact on my libido — I have lost my mojo and would like to get it back since in every other respect I am a healthy and thriving 50 year-old who would like to enjoy a healthy sex life for a few more decades. A third thing is that my body fat has moved around a bit, settling in different places where it didn’t used to settle before. I find that annoying but consider it a part of the aging process and whatever. Mostly because of the disrupted sleep I am meeting with my doctor about HRT and think I will give it a go.

    1. I hope when it comes that I don’t have that problem. The increased breast cancer risk that comes with HRT rules it out as an option for me.

  5. Perimenopause was tame for me …just short hot flash in early morning in bed. My period just faded out.

    Have been in menopause over 3 yrs. now. Yes, libido affected, not huge. Weight not affected by this whole change. I do still get hot flash for a few min. early morning in bed.

    I agree that there is so much about before menopause that is viewed as “bad”. It’s not bad, it’s just normal aging….

    As for moods, etc. I don’t blame perimenopause nor menopause at all. I lost a sister, a father…in the last 5 yrs. That has nothing to do with my physiological natural aging. If I’m moodier..I think it’s because I simply am older with more life experience and lose patience with certain things. So I’d rather hold my behavior accountable for the right reasons..

  6. I should add that when I had periods, they were normal with some heavy days (which was normal), though sometimes uneven through out the year. I could never predict start and end to the day accuracy that some women could but did have them monthly. Sometimes skipped due to not eating properly, stress.

    I seldom had much cramps.

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