Through history, women have shared their experiences and solutions to pass along information they couldn’t get anywhere else. It’s not all that different today. Almost half of doctors admit they aren’t up to date on ways to ease the uncomfortable aspects of menopause. But we can do something about that.
With a boost from the Internet, we honor the tradition of women learning through sharing; we are compiling a collection of menopause stories, updated every week. It’s a universal experience for women, but no two women go through menopause the same way. If you’d like to tell us about your menopause experience, please answer eight questions here and include a photo of yourself.
Our goal is to make menopause more mainstream, something we can talk about without whispering. Read about our menopause mission here.
Here we feature the story of Elizabeth Monette of Franklin, Tennessee.
When did you go into menopause?
What did you know about menopause before you hit it?
NOTHING. My friends mentioned “going on hormones” or identified a hot flash here and there, but that was it. I was a very late menopauser, and I was TERRIFIED of changing anything about the way my body operated as a woman. One day I began bleeding nonstop, had a hysterectomy within two weeks and—BAM—woke up in instant menopause.
What you wish you had known?
I wish I had known how my body would change. I wish I had known all the options available to me afterward to minimize symptoms and also the risks involved with each. I woke up from my hysterectomy with a bread-slice-sized hormone patch on my abdomen, never told what it was or what it does or asked permission. I wish I’d known how to celebrate and honor this new era of my life instead of mourning it.
Most vexing aspect of menopause?
I felt utterly alone. I watched YouTube videos (very helpful), read blogs, the HysterSisters website (awesome), and was shepherded by a precious friend—thank God for her. But I became a bit angry that this stage of a woman’s life is dismissed, and while we receive minimal health education in school, there is nothing widely available on menopause. I felt wildly alone.
No periods. No running out of supplies. No stained panties.
How do/did you treat the uncomfortable parts of menopause?
I still don’t know how to treat the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, due to conflicting directives from my ObGyn (male) and my primary care physician (female). Insomnia, emotions, brain fog, loss of libido, no energy, 30-pound weight gain around my middle? I’ve not coped well.
Most memorable menopause story?
My only menopause story is the abysmal distress I feel about not having the information I need to make decisions about my care. I still don’t.
Three words to describe your menopause experience?
Stunning. Bewildering, Unforgiving.