Hello Menopause And Goodbye Pesky Periods

The joys of being freed from Premenstrual Dysphoria and other evils of the monthly cycle

Jae L

--

Photo by Danilo Ćalić on Unsplash

1 January 2024 was the day I officially entered menopause. I thank the universe for giving me a date so easily imprinted on my memory.

It’s strange to think that menopause itself is a very specific occurrence which is actually defined by nothing happening at all. It simply marks the passing of twelve months since the last menstrual period — the medical definition of menopause.

It also marks the end of perimenopause, a drawn-out shit-show that has oozed like molten lava through every crack my life for the last six years. Finally, my level of the hormone oestrogen has dwindled to the point where it is no longer coursing through my body and wreaking havoc with its fluctuations.

I wouldn’t claim for a moment that menopause is unproblematic. Many women will name hot flushes as the menopause symptom that most affects them. I have these too, but as someone inclined to miss my body’s signals, having such an embodied and obvious experience is strangely validating. I’m already on to the low bone density risk after a couple of random fractures a few years ago alerted me to my genetic predisposition.

Those things aside, menopause brings relief from a whole lot of issues that have made my life more difficult. Mainly, I welcome menopause because it locks in the end of my menstrual cycle. I will never again be a slave to the monthly ebbs and flows of hormones.

I’m glad to be free of the inconvenience of periods

Despite having 40 years to get used to them, my period never stopped being a supreme inconvenience. From the first time I tied a jacket around my white skirt as I left the cinema (it was the 80s) some degree of mess was unavoidable. I rarely got through a period without having to spray and soak, sometimes multiple layers.

The unpredictability of my period in the last years of perimenopause levelled up the aggravation. Early, late, missed, two days, two weeks, light heavy — I never knew what I was going to get. And given the debilitating effect of the menstrual cycle on my brain (see PMDD below), it made it that much harder to plan my life.

--

--

Jae L

Queer, neurodivergent and in the business of defying expectations. Doing my best to answer the questions I keep asking myself. diverge999@gmail.com