So much has already been written on the perils of menopause that it is widely regarded as something to dread, even though most women report feeling happier after menopause. Unfortunately, our culture has many primed to try to “fix” what happens during menopause rather than enjoy this fulfilling time of life. However, many people feel that menopause is a time of rebirth that prepares you for the next liberating phase of life. Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s talk about what you can expect during postmenopause and why it’s worth looking forward to.
What to Expect During Postmenopause
The average age at which women reach menopause is 51 in the US, and the average life expectancy is 78 years, meaning that postmenopause can comprise over a third of your lifespan. Menopause occurs the day you have gone a full year without having a menstrual period. And though the definitions vary, everything after that technically falls into the postmenopausal category. If you’re unsure whether you’ve reached postmenopause, you can ask your doctor about getting an FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) test to get a clear answer.
Rather than worrying about this lengthy and lovely phase of life, there’s a lot to be excited about. Overall, your menopausal symptoms subside as your hormones stop fluctuating so much. Your memory, sleep, and anxiety may improve, but other annoyances—like vaginal dryness—tend to linger or worsen unless you take action.
The Best Parts of Postmenopause
Here’s a little-known fact about postmenopause: it’s fun. With all of the liberating aspects of menopause (being free from pregnancy risk, periods, and birth control) and the cessation of menopausal symptoms (like hot flashes), postmenopause can be a time of self-actualization for many women. Here are some of the best parts of postmenopause:
1.You feel free. According to some studies, eighty percent of women feel an overwhelming sense of freedom, and sixty percent feel better than ever. That’s an overwhelming majority of women affirming that postmenopause is the best time of life.
- Your sexual desire could increase. Contrary to popular belief, some postmenopausal women report an uptick in sexual desire, most likely due to the increased ratio of testosterone to estrogen that occurs when estrogen slows during menopause.
- Sex after menopause might be even better. Yes, it’s true! Without the fear of pregnancy and with the addition of experience and confidence, postmenopausal sex might be the best you’ve ever had. In fact, women over 80 report better sex than women 55-79, so it’s safe to say your sex life will keep getting better.
- No more migraines. For women who had hormonal migraines, there’s good news: these tend to stop after menopause. When your hormones stop fluctuating during menopause, migraines typically cease, too.
- Your uterine fibroids decrease in size. Many people develop fibroids as they approach menopause, but these shrink during postmenopause, which can mean less pain and fewer trips to the bathroom!
- You might feel more fulfilled than ever. Postmenopausal women often report more satisfaction and contentment with life than women of younger ages. As Sharon Stone said, “It’s not like fifty is the new thirty. It’s like fifty is the new chapter.”
- You won’t be as stressed. Studies have shown that stress declines sharply starting at age 50 and continues through age 85.
Make the Most of Your Postmenopausal Years
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