If the idea of menopause fills you with dread, you’re not alone. A quick online search shows just how dark the news can seem — hot flashes, sleepless nights, and increased health risks. But the fact is, many of us find a lot to be joyful about. It’s just that the good parts of menopause don’t get nearly as much press.
In case you haven’t found your menopause joy yet, here are some of the things to celebrate.
The best physical changes at menopause
Menopause comes with lots of natural changes to our bodies, and some of them can be truly wonderful. As actress Kim Cattrall said, “I feel more myself and love my body more now, at 58 years old, than ever before.”
Finding the joy in menopause
- Your periods — and PMS — come to an end. No more cramps, pads, tampons, leaks, or checking the calendar to figure out when to expect your next period. And if you’re among the 90 percent of women who’ve experienced symptoms such as irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches during the week or two before your period starts, you can breathe a sigh of relief at the end of PMS, too.
- You don’t have to manage contraception or worry about unwanted pregnancies anymore. Once you’ve reached menopause (a year without periods), you can reclaim the time and effort that went into figuring out a birth control method and sticking with it. Some people feel more liberated and enjoy sex more once the worry of pregnancy is behind them.
- Hormonal headaches subside. Of women who suffer from migraines, about 70 percent have menstrual migraines brought on by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels each month. After menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, and so do the headaches.
- Fibroids stop growing and may get smaller. If you’ve had uterine fibroids, you know they can cause pain and heavy periods. And while they might grow during perimenopause when hormones are fluctuating, fibroids tend to stop growing, and often shrink, after menopause.
The best life changes at menopause
Beyond the physical changes, many of us find that menopause brings a refreshing new view on things. The physical changes give us a moment to pause and realize that we’ve weathered a lot of challenges, and we’ve earned our self-assurance. We know so much more about who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we really want in life.
Many take this moment to re-evaluate careers and relationships, and re-think where we want to put our time and focus. Some of us realize that we’ve been waiting to take risks, and now’s the time, whether it’s switching jobs, traveling, picking up new hobbies, getting politically active, or just taking time for self-care.
These self-discoveries can make menopause profoundly meaningful and energizing. Margaret Mead, an anthropologist who studied gender across cultures, may have put it best: “There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a postmenopausal woman.”
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- The North American Menopause Society: https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/make-your-menopause-a-positive-experience.
- Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause-pictures/positives-of-menopause.aspx.
- Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome.
- Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8260-menstrual-migraines-hormone-headaches.