Date night with my honey! We were curled up on our old striped love seat watching some mindless drone of a movie.We had just polished off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey and had the Lay’s Lightly Salted Chips bag strategically positioned between us, so that neither of us would have to move too much to get a good handful, when the first assault happened.
It started in the base of my neck, crept up the back of both of my ears and stealthily ascended to the top of my head, then moved quickly down my face. In just moments the heat coming from my body made the two of us so uncomfortably hot that my husband started fanning both of us. And as quickly as the fire rose to the top of my head, it stopped. Then the perspiration began to pour down my brow. We were both in shock. What the…!?
My sister had tried to warn me, but alas, I didn’t heed her warning. Only a couple of years earlier she had told me the story of her first assault. She was leaving her house one morning to go somewhere with a friend–fabulously attired no doubt. Before leaving her driveway she realized that she had left something behind and quickly ran back inside to get it. Out of nowhere she found herself under full assault. She had no recollection of actually getting naked, only the embarrassment she felt once her friend came in and found her stretched out on her bed, vowing to never put her clothes on again!
I actually laughed out loud at what I thought was a fanciful tale by my sometimes dramatic beloved. But boy, do I owe her and every woman who has ever been attacked by a “hot flash ninja” a huge apology. Please forgive, I was wrong…I get it!
Listen, it doesn’t matter what you have ever heard about hot flashes from your momma, your aunties, your sisters, your friends, even your doctor, you will have no idea what they are talking about until you experience them for yourself.
The good news is that hot flashes along with other common menopausal symptoms are not a secret and do not have to make us feel like we are under a ninja assault. The key to taking charge is knowing the facts.
Fact 1: Menopause really doesn’t just hit you from out of the blue. Our hormones change gradually as we age. Those changes begin years earlier during what is known as perimenopause. Perimenopause starts when your ovaries cut back on production of estrogen and progesterone, and your ovaries release fewer eggs. For most women this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. (You are still fertile and can definitely get pregnant).
Fact 2: You are not officially in menopause until twelve months after your last period.
Fact 3: Menopause is only the end of menstruation, (yay) not the end of life.
Fact 4: Common menopausal symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty falling or staying asleep, weight gain, uncomfortable or painful intercourse, changes in sex drive, increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of osteoporosis, brain fog, mood changes, or incontinence.
Fact 5: Only 50% of women experience any of the above systems.
Fact 6: Some common hot flash triggers are cigarette smoking, caffeine, alcohol, salty, sugary and spicy foods, red meat, tight fitting clothing, and stress.
Fact 7: Regular exercise and clean eating can reduce or even eliminate many of your symptoms. (No more chip and ice cream bingeing for me!).
Fact 8: You should get regular medical check ups and talk with your doctor about your menopausal symptoms.
Fact 9: Many herbs and natural supplements can be beneficial in addressing uncomfortable menopause symptoms without the harmful side effects associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or prescription drugs, but you should always consult your healthcare professional before introducing herbs and supplements into your diet.
Fact 10: Menopause is not a sickness or disease. It is a normal and natural part of a woman’s life. In fact, you are not alone. There are over 1 billion menopausal and postmenopausal women in the world.
Somewhere between menopause and death there is a healthy, happy, sexy you. Zilphy’s Garden can help you get there. You will get through this. I have!