Since the time of Heraclitus, it’s long been established that change is a constant part of life. It may even be the only consistent thing that people can expect and agree on, regardless of age, social status, race, and gender.
Women, in particular, go through lots of physical changes throughout their lives. First, they have to go through puberty and the onset of menstruation. Next, if they decide to have kids, they experience the highs and lows of pregnancy. Lastly, in the latter part of their life, there’s menopause.
Another new chapter
While all these stages can affect their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, going through menopause may be the most stressful for most women. There are various factors that play a significant role in this phase, which may include the societal pressure for ladies to always look good and the awakened sense of mortality that menopause brings.
If you find yourself at this chapter in your life and you’re struggling to lift yourself out of self-pity and low self-esteem, continue reading to learn how to feel confident. But first, you should understand what this phase is and why you’re going through it.
Technically, menopause is the time after a woman’s last period. This typically starts a year after you experienced your last menstruation. Nonetheless, most people include the menopausal transition stage, also known as perimenopause, when describing this phase. Perimenopause usually begins when a woman reaches the age of 45 and continues until she’s 55 or when her period ends. It can be as short as seven years or lasts up until 14 years. (1)
There are times, though, when menopause comes early. This can occur when a woman undergoes surgery or sustain damages to their ovaries such as chemotherapy. When this happens, it’s called premature menopause. (2)
Apart from what’s mentioned, here are other causes of premature menopause:
- Premature ovarian failure – For some women, their ovaries just stop releasing eggs automatically for reasons that are unknown. This causes their estrogen and progesterone levels to change, bringing about symptoms that point to premature menopause. Nonetheless, premature ovarian failure isn’t permanent like premature menopause, so there’s still a chance that your body can recover.
- Induced menopause – Induced menopause occurs when your doctor has to remove your ovaries for health reasons like uterine cancer or endometriosis. Radiation and chemotherapy are also possible causes.
All women go through menopause and the transition leading up to it. However, some may be fortunate enough to avoid feeling uncomfortable symptoms or experiencing just minimal discomfort due to the physical changes.
Hot flashes are the most common initial symptom of menopause, which entails unexpected feelings of warmth over the upper body. Blushing and sweating profusely also come with hot flashes. The severity of this symptom varies from woman to woman, however, so prepare accordingly. (2)
Other symptoms that you may notice include uneven or missed periods, sore breasts, sleep problems, and dryness in the skin, eyes, mouth, and vagina. There may also be a need to pee more often, which is why it’s best to invest in high-quality incontinence underwear during this stage to alleviate your worries.
Later in this stage, you may experience fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, muscle aches, and headaches. There would also be changes in libido or sex drive, which can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or, worse, painful.
Ways women can feel confident during this phase
All these physical symptoms, coupled with emotional changes, can definitely take their toll on a woman’s psyche. You may develop feelings of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to stay confident, regardless of the discomfort and pain that they’re going through.
Here are ways you can boost your self-esteem during menopause:
1. Invest in clothing that feels and looks good
One of the best ways to increase your self-confidence is to find clothes that allow you to look and feel good. There’s no point in keeping up with trends that will only compound the discomfort you’re feeling at this stage.
As mentioned, you can invest in incontinence underwear and other specialized undergarments to keep your worries at bay. You may feel frequent urges to pee and might not make it to the bathroom in time, so wearing padded panties can contain any leaks that might happen. These undergarments also help prevent staining from spotting, especially when you’re caught unaware of irregular periods.
For hot flashes, the ideal fabrics to wear are natural and organic ones such as bamboo, cotton, and linen. Avoid their synthetic counterparts since these retain heat and odors. You may also want to wear layers, which you can easily remove when a hot flash starts. During summer, you can opt for a light camisole and cardigan. For the colder months, you can don a light top or blouse and pair it up with a light jacket or coat. This way, you can peel off the outerwear when you feel warm.
Night sweats might be something that you may also experience. These are the nocturnal counterpart of hot flashes. Just like the latter, these can make you feel really warm and cause problems with sleeping. Again, choosing the right fabric for your pajamas and nightdress can make all the difference. Don’t forget to buy bedsheets made from light materials as well.
There’s no reason for you not to look stylish during menopause. You just have to find the right fabric and style for your body’s needs and style preferences.
2. Don’t shy away from intimacy
You may have to exert extra effort when it comes to intimacy at this stage. Nonetheless, the physical contact and emotional release that come with cuddling and having sexual intercourse with your significant other can help you overcome the changes in your libido.
If you’re worried about vaginal dryness, which is caused by the decrease in estrogen, you can take supplements to aid your body’s production. There are also lots of lubricants that can help solve this problem.
Don’t let this stage come between you and your partner’s intimacy. Just make sure that you communicate your feelings and worries to let your significant other understand what you’re going through. This way, they can provide you with the support that you deserve.
3. Get regular physical activity
Aside from sexual activity, you should also make time for regular exercise. While you may experience fatigue and muscle aches, try your best to insert at least a few minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. It might be daunting and exhausting at first, especially with all the other symptoms that you’re experiencing. But you’ll find that it gets better later on. Plus, you’ll be making your body stronger and healthier.
4. Treat yourself
Give yourself some “me time” and pamper yourself to a day at the salon or spa. You can even buy your favorite treat for a, particularly stressful day. Since your body is already changing, it’s also the best time to go shopping for new clothes to liven up your wardrobe.
Moreover, if hair loss is one of the symptoms that you’re experiencing, you can chop off a couple of inches from your mane. Not only will this freshen up your look, but it may also reduce the number of strands that fall at this stage.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Remember, you aren’t the only one going through this ordeal. Millions of women all over the world are experiencing or have undergone menopause. You can join online communities or support groups where women share tips and insights on how to get through this phase.
You can also enlist the help of a psychiatrist or menopause specialist if you’re feeling down. At the very least, make sure to open up to your significant other, family, and close friends about how you’re feeling and the concerns that are worrying you. This also enables them to understand why you’ve been having a lot of mood swings lately. Having someone to talk to can be extremely beneficial to your mental well-being.
6. Keep track of what you’re going through
Keeping a diary or journal and writing down your thoughts can also be a significant help for your psyche. It also allows you to keep yourself accountable by helping you monitor your diet, supplements, and exercise routines.
Monitoring this stage can give you the bigger picture of what you’re feeling for an objective view of what you need to do. Later on, you can also see your progress and breathe a sigh of relief that this stage is only temporary.
7. Be kind to yourself
It’s so easy to berate yourself and be critical of your physical appearance as well as responses to your situation. However, doing so will only drag you even further down the hole of self-pity.
Rather than being your worst enemy, be your own best friend. Practice positive self-talk and celebrate the little milestones that you’ve achieved so far.
Menopause entails a wide array of physical, mental, and emotional changes in a woman’s body. Hot flashes, irregular periods, and fatigue can lead to feelings of helplessness, depression, and low self-esteem.
Make sure to take care of yourself during this stage by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Treating yourself by investing in things that enable you to look and feel good can significantly make this ordeal more bearable. Talk to your loved ones and enlist the help of professionals as well so you can get the right kind of support.
1. “What Is Menopause?” Source: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause
2. “Menopause”, Source: https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-basics