My Journey Through Menopause

My Journey Through Menopause

Jul 13, 2023Julie Alva

Understanding the Average Duration and Finding Relief

As someone who has already gone through menopause, I understand the challenges and frustrations that come with this significant life changing experience. I'll share my personal experience with menopause, shedding light on its average duration and the range of menopause symptoms I encountered, including awful hot flashes, insomnia, and weight gain. I'll also offer strategies I found helpful in finding relief and the support I needed during this period.

My Menopause Journey

My menopause journey began in my late 40s, with the onset of perimenopause. The irregular menstrual cycles were just the beginning of the rollercoaster ride that awaited me. Hot flashes became a constant companion, leaving me drenched in sweat, specially at night and feeling uncomfortable at the most inconvenient times. Nights became restless as insomnia crept in, leaving me tired and irritable during the day. Some days I was super happy, and others I was so down and sad.  It was a hormonal rollercoaster!. To add to my frustrations, weight gain seemed inevitable, no matter how much I watched my diet and exercised.  To top it all off, it didn't help that I was raising a 9 year old child on my own who needed me alert, with lots of energy and giving her all my attention.

The Average Duration of Menopause

Through my own experience and research, I discovered that the average duration of menopause spans around four to five years. However, it's important to remember that each woman's journey is unique, and the duration can vary greatly. Understanding this timeframe helped me mentally prepare for the changes I would face and provided solace in knowing that the intense symptoms I was experiencing would eventually subside.  I was lucky that my doctor, who's a woman and had started experiencing the same symptoms, was very honest with me and never tried to sugarcoat the reality of menopause.

Navigating Symptoms and Seeking Relief

Hot flashes, insomnia, and weight gain were some of the most challenging aspects of my menopause journey. To find relief, I explored various strategies. For hot flashes, I found that dressing in layers and keeping a portable fan handy helped alleviate the discomfort, sometimes but not always. Practicing deep breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques helped me manage the anxiety and stress that often accompanied these episodes. When it came to insomnia, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, limiting caffeine intake, to only one cup in the morning and creating a calm sleep environment made a significant difference in improving my sleep quality. To address weight gain, I focused on maintaining a balanced diet and as much as I hated exercising I found it to be beneficial in keeping my mood regulated and some of the weight off. 

There's a particular over-the-counter medication I took for a few months that proved highly effective for me. I want to clarify that this is not an advertisement, and I am not receiving any payment for mentioning it. I bring it up because it provided relief during the time I used it, and if your doctor gives approval, I recommend giving it a try.

The product I'm referring to is called Estroven , and it comes in different variations. While I personally took the original multi-symptom version, there are specific ones available for Weight Management and other specific needs. It's important to consult with your doctor before trying any new medication.

One drawback I encountered was that its effectiveness diminished after a few months of use. However, during the period I took it, I noticed a reduction in the intensity of my hot flashes, improved sleep quality, and increased energy levels.

Finding Support and Guidance

Menopause can feel isolating, but connecting with others going through similar experiences can make a world of difference. I joined a group called Peanut Menopause and I found it to be a highly supporting community of women all going through the same things.  It allowed me to share my frustrations, gain insights, and find solace in the fact that I wasn't alone. Additionally, consulting with my personal physician provided me with valuable information, personalized advice, and treatment options tailored to my specific needs. 

My personal journey through menopause taught me that while it can be a challenging time, it is also an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. By understanding the average duration of menopause and exploring strategies for finding relief, such as managing hot flashes, improving sleep quality, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I was able to navigate this transformative phase with greater ease. Remember, seeking support from loved ones, joining support groups, and consulting healthcare professionals are invaluable resources to help you find your own path through menopause.

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