This post is sponsored by Always Discreet Boutique. As always, all opinions and ideas are entirely my own. —- You may think you already know what menopause is all about. (Weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats – oh my!) But there are some menopause symptoms that might surprise you, including some positive ones!
Until recently I was convinced that I hadn’t experienced any menopause symptoms, even though I stopped experiencing periods several years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a “hot flash,” because I’m told I would know if I had! But even though I haven’t had any hot flashes, after doing some research I’ve come to realize that I’ve definitely been experiencing some of the other symptoms of menopause. (Apparently I’m part of the 30% of women who don’t experience a drastic negative impact from the symptoms of menopause, which has me feeling pretty lucky!)
I’ve recently learned a lot about menopause that I never knew before, and I wanted to share some of that knowledge with you today. So here is a list of things I didn’t know about menopause, and you might not either!
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1. Your Bladder Might Start Acting Up
Do you pee a little when you do jumping jacks, jump on a trampoline, or when you cough or sneeze? Or maybe you just gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now? It’s likely due to stress urinary incontinence or urge urinary incontinence — both of which are common during “the change.” There’s no need to be embarrassed, because it’s actually quite common! As many as 1 in 3 women over the age of 18 experience bladder leaks.
I recently attended an event sponsored by Always Discreet Boutique incontinence underwear, where I learned a lot about bladder leaks that I never knew! For example, even though many women admit they need bladder leak protection, around 2 in 3 women who have tried bladder leak underwear avoid wearing them because of the look or feel of what’s on the market currently. And who can blame them? It’s hard to feel beautiful and confident in bulky, ill-fitting incontinence underwear. Actually, I was just recently in my local CVS and I saw an impressive Always Discreet Boutique display in the store – not only is the brand making the underwear and packaging really stand out, the incontinence aisle is now decked out at CVS!
In addition to beautiful updated packaging, Always Discreet Boutique was designed with input from real women who were frustrated with the other incontinence underwear options on the market.
First and foremost, Always Discreet Boutique offers maximum protection and incredible absorbency, so you can feel confident and secure while you wear it. I actually got to see a demo from one of the Always Discreet scientists at the event, and was amazed that the product could hold a full beaker of water and be dry in seconds! The core looks and feels very thin, but it can hold A LOT of liquid.
And second, forget about saggy, ill-fitting undies – this bladder leak underwear is actually pretty! It’s made with a silky-soft fabric and features a feminine floral design that will look right at home in your underwear drawer. In short, it simply looks, fits, and feels like real underwear! (And if you need more convincing, I think the photo above speaks volumes! Always Discreet Boutique is shown on the right, with its closest competitor on the left.) If you want to get your hands on a pair yourself you can head to your local CVS or easily shop the underwear online at CVS.com.
With Always Discreet Boutique, you don’t have to choose between cute underwear or bladder leak protection – you can have both! On behalf of the women in the world who find themselves in need of a product like this, I thank you Always Discreet for helping us all feel more beautiful and confident!
2. Headaches May Become Migraines
Because I’ve been prone to headaches most of my life, I didn’t associate the migraines I’ve begun having in the last few years with menopause. But apparently because of the hormonal fluctuations, migraines may start or worsen when you start going through menopause.
The good news, however, is that hormonal migraines usually stop or vastly improve after menopause, when hormone levels are consistently low. In fact, only 5 percent of women suffer migraines after age 60, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Now I have at least ONE reason to look forward to turning 60! :-)
3. You May Start Experiencing “Brain Fog”
This is another symptom I have definitely experienced recently, but didn’t necessarily attribute to menopause. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one experiencing “brain fog!” Studies show that around 60% of menopausal women report their memory is affected.
The most common memory problems that accompany “brain fog” are struggling to retain recently learned verbal information, as well as an overall struggle with concentration. But the good news is that our memory should improve once menopause is done and over! Yay!
4. Your “Bad” Cholesterol May Go Up
When my doctor told me my cholesterol was extremely high at my last physical, I was shocked and dismayed! I hadn’t changed anything about how I was eating, so I couldn’t figure out why my cholesterol had suddenly shot up.
It turns out that estrogen does a lot more than help regulate periods. It also keeps LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) low, and HDL cholesterol (the good kind) high. So, as estrogen decreases during menopause, LDL tends to rise and HDL stays the same. This was quite the eye-opener to me!
5. You’ll Want To Nap Like A Baby
I have NEVER liked taking naps, because I hate how sluggish I feel after waking up from one. I personally just prefer to do my sleeping at night. But in the last year or so, I‘ve found myself constantly fighting the urge to just give in to the nap! This is yet another annoyance I can blame on menopause that I didn’t have a clue about before.
Those darn hormone fluctuations also make it harder to sleep at night, which can leave you feeling tired during the day. I’ve been toying with the idea of trying the 20-minute power nap that many doctors recommend, but I haven’t acquiesced yet.
6. You May Feel Less Sociable
This is yet another symptom of menopause that has knocked me sideways! I’ve always considered myself an extrovert, but have been more than a little surprised that lately I feel like spending more time alone. At first I was worried about it being depression, but upon further research I’ve realized that this is an introspective period of life for many women. This newfound introspection should be honored! Prior to this period, most of us have been putting our kids, partner, parents, co-workers, etc – first. During menopause, many women start prioritizing themselves and start thinking about what they want to do. So my advice, both to myself and to you, is to embrace the solitude! You’ve earned it. :)
7. Anxiety Can Increase
And you thought postpartum anxiety was the end of it!? Pfftt!! If you find yourself suddenly worried and anxious over seemingly nothing, hot flashes may be to blame. During a hot flash, the body releases a surge of a chemical called adrenaline, which makes arteries contract. This can make you feel anxious; it’s unnerving, but not harmful. The feeling should pass after the hot flash goes away, which is typically between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.
8. You May Have More “Bad Hair Days”
Just as high levels of female hormones during pregnancy leave women with fuller, healthier hair, the declining levels during menopause may have the opposite impact. :-( After menopause, about 40% of women experience hair thinning. We tend to experience it over a wide area of the scalp in the form of a smaller ponytail, a wider part line or excessive shedding during brushing and showering. *sigh* Here’s a little reassurance however – most menopause related hair loss does slow down with time.
Are you as depressed as I am now? Well take heart, because as promised, there is some GOOD NEWS too!
9. You May Have More Money In Your Wallet
Ever wondered how much money your period will set you back over your lifetime? Accounting for pads, tampons, pain relief, birth control, new underwear and of course chocolate, the Huffington Post estimated the cost at just under $23,000!!!
That’s about $50 a month, and we menopausal women will gladly keep that money, thank you very much!
10. Life Will Get Simpler
No fear of pregnancy, no hassle with periods, having children leaving home – menopause can be a time of freedom! After menopause, your energy levels will stabilize, and monthly mood swings, breast tenderness, and contraceptive worries will be a thing of the past. The world is your oyster!
There are a lot of things that no one told me about life during and after menopause, but some of those things have been unexpectedly positive! Life after menopause has brought me more balance, creativity, and self-acceptance than I’d ever dreamed possible, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!