We always hear about the bad side effects of menopause: brain fog, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue… the list goes on. But when was the last time you heard about the benefits of menopause? Menopause is a journey, and it’s far more complex than a series of (admittedly) annoying physical symptoms. Opening up about those symptoms is crucial to our health, well-being, and sense of community — but it isn’t the whole story. By talking about “the big transition” in all of its glory (discussing more than just the bad stuff), we can shed a positive light on this time in our lives.
We asked Woman’s World readers what they consider to be the best things about menopause. Here are their answers.
1) No more bleeding.
This was the most common response we received. (One reader joked, “You can swim without worrying about sharks!”) And it’s not surprising: American women have around 450 periods in their lifetime, which equals about 10 years or 3,500 days. That’s about 11,000 tampons. Just think of all the times you had to ask your friends, “Do I have a spot on my jeans?” Never again!
2) There’s no risk of pregnancy.
Thanks to the lack of periods, you can now have sex without worrying about pregnancy. Indeed, a FUN FACTORY survey (whose participants were all 40+ years old) found that 37 percent of respondents listed “no pregnancy scares” as a top benefit of menopause.
3) It puts an end to endometriosis (and non-endo pain).
If you’re one of the roughly 10 percent of ovulating women worldwide who, according to the World Health Organization, suffer from endometriosis, menopause is cause for celebration. While a small subset of women with endo will carry it into menopause, most of us will get to say goodbye to this under-diagnosed disease. In losing your period, you’ll lose endo’s side effects, as well — no more distended endo belly (that makes you look pregnant); no more excruciating pelvic pain (that feels like evisceration); no more nausea and diarrhea (that keeps you housebound); and no more losing five to 10 days of your life each month to pain management.
4) You can explore your sexuality in new ways.
One of the most common menopause misconceptions is that it always causes a drop in libido. However, only 17 percent of respondents in the FUN FACTORY survey reported their libido dropping, and that percentage all agreed that they still want and deserve a happy sex life. In fact, 28 percent of respondents said that sex got better during or after menopause, and 26 percent reported that they now feel more sexually adventurous.
5) It’s a chance to refocus on your mental and physical health.
Tammy Dalton, nutrition consultant and wellness coach, told Woman’s World that menopause forced her to make her mental and physical health a priority, and that change was for the better. How does she take care of herself now? “Nutrients, building muscle, spending time in nature, resting, and healing,” she shares. Another reader, Pat, agrees that menopause helped her “re-focus on health in the post-prime years.”
6) You start caring about the important things, first and foremost.
For many readers, menopause helped them re-discover what’s important. “You care more about health than looks,” one reader wrote, and another said she cares less about what people think than she did at a younger age. The anthropologist Margaret Mead summed up this new outlook perfectly: “There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a postmenopausal woman.”
7) It’s an opportunity to bond with other women.
As one reader believes, the best thing about menopause is “bonding with other women who are [experiencing] or have experienced the same transition.” Indeed, there’s something about a shared hardship that brings us closer together — and that’s a pretty bright silver lining. The takeaway? Let go of your fears and open up to your friends about menopause. It might be exactly what you need.