Pardon us, Men’fo’k whist we talk about menopause–although, maybe you will be interested in reading on for your own reasons, huh?
I was lucky to have had a fairly easy segue to menopause, even though I reached it earlier than I thought I would. And while part of my “easy” experience may be genes, it is also because I exercise and eat healthfully.
Still, reaching menopause sent me into a panic. I remember thinking: I can’t have any more children! Well, I wasn’t planning on it anyway *haw!,* but the idea that this life-giving part of me would be forever gone made me feel “Less than a Woman.” It made me think, “Oh My God! I’m old now! I’m officially OLD! Waaaaaaaah!” Well, guess what? Turns out I feel better and am in better shape than I have been in years. I’m writing and my books are being published. I’m speaking before groups. I hike; I took up photography; I kick my ass on the treadmill and mat work; I travel when I want to; I feel sexy and alive and determined; I am empowered!
As with any stage in life, there are changes we cannot stop from happening, so we can either embrace our new lives and bodies and move on to the wonderful moments, find a remedy for what may require remedy, OR, we can mope and sob and whine. I quickly disgust and bore myself when I mope and sob and whine, so I embrace (or ignore -teehee) what I can’t or don’t want to change, and I find remedies where needed.
What I simply could not over-look no matter how much I exercised and ate healthfully were brain-fog and a general lack of energy. You know it when you are there, don’t you? As if your head is wrapped in 2ply toilet paper and your legs have weights attached to them—unnnnghhhh, y’all! And as well, I was just on the edge of disinterest in some aspects of my pre-menopause life, and that, my friends, is a place I did not and do not want to go—naw ma’am.
If you feel this way, have you considered you may be low in testosterone? Yes, women naturally have testosterone in our bodies, um hmmm. Yeah, I know, there’s that commercial for men. Well, I don’t want their medicine, for it’s not right for me; I want what is made for my needs as a woman!
I didn’t use hormone replacement therapy when I went through menopause, for I like to do things as naturally as I can. But the foggy brain, lack of energy, and “Meh, whatever,” were finally enough to send me scurrying to my gynecologist. After mumbling and forgetting what I was saying and trailing off in the middle of my sentences, my doctor said, “Let’s try testosterone.”
She gave me a prescription that I have mixed together at a local pharmacy—you won’t find this at your CVS or Walgreens, etc, so do your research and find a pharmacy that does compounds—one you trust. I had to find a balance of how much worked for me—you should strive to feel your Best Self. You want only to replace what has been lost and find that balance.
Of course, as I did, you absolutely must have a conversation with your doctor to find out if it is a viable option for you. What works for one may not work for another. We are wondrous biological machines that require care and respect.Out of curiosity, after taking testosterone replacement for almost two years, I stopped using it. At first I didn’t notice anything as I la tee dah’ed along. But then one day I noticed I felt “off.” The old foggy-head returned and I wasn’t “me.” I began using the compound again and Taaa Daaaa! All back to normal.
I’d planned on doing this blog post this week for quite some time now, so it was interesting to pick up my new copy of Oprah Magazine and read an article by author C.M. Harris titled “Not for Men Only,” where she relates how, due to breast cancer, she entered menopause a decade or so earlier than she expected. She writes, “Exhaustion. Excessive sleep. Aching bones. A 20-pound weight gain. Brain fog. Forgetting that sex can be fun.” And while not every woman will experience menopause in the same way, and while some of these “side effects of menopause” may be remedied by diet and exercise, sometimes we do need a little extra help. C.M. Harris did, and so did I.
I was heartened to hear of someone else using testosterone and talking about it. I at first found it hard to admit, “I’m taking a male hormone! Wheeeee!” Even I at first wondered, “Will I grow a mustache, bulging muscles, and develop a deep voice?”—and since I already have a deep voice and can tend to be muscular when I work out hard, I was in Yikes mode when contemplating this therapy.
Of course these things have not happened to me. This compound is not like the testosterone you hear that athletes use, or anything near to that. Believe me, I wouldn’t take it if I were going to look and act like some weird altered version of me. Lawdy!
C.M. Harris wrote, “. . . I wonder, now that I’m back to wondering again: If a ‘male’ hormone can make a female feel like a woman, why are so few of us talking about it?”
BINGO! This was one of my favorite parts of the entire article. Testosterone made me feel more like a woman. More like the woman I was before menopause. It gave me back my best life. And, as she writes and I have often wondered, why aren’t we talking about it more?
I think it’s time to open dialogue about just what women are doing to feel better, even if it seems unconventional. And, as
well, to educate and to help each other to feel our best.
What about you? Ever heard of, or tried, testosterone therapy? What do you do to feel The Best You? Do you have anything to share? Tell us your experiences! And it doesn’t have to be only about menopause, y’all!