Menopause - Curse or Blessing?
Symptoms of menopause certainly are not imaginary. These normal changes in your body may very well play a great part in the kind of symptoms you have.
If you have been the type of high-strung woman who takes everything intensely and personally so thatany discomfort seems almost a personal insult, if you feel "this should not happen to me", the chances are you will be emotionally distressed by a multitude of normal life situations, including a perfectly normal menopause.
When you take something hard, when you are over-concerned about it, or resentful of it, this alone can increase the severity of symptoms.
Even such women, nowadays, can be helped over the emotional rough spots of the menopause.
A comparatively new family of drugs called "psychic energizers" often can pull women up out of their depressions. Successful case histories are piling up to the credit of these drugs. One woman who went into an emotional tailspin for a full year was helped greatly to return to normal by them.
Still other drugs can be used to ease specific symptoms such as dizziness, quickened heart rate, flushes and any upset in elimination.
Three Ways to Tension Release.
Recently, a distinguished obstetrician from the University of Maryland was conducting a seminar at a medical meeting. He discussed the problems of menopause for about a half-hour and then presented his notions as to how menopause can be made easier for most women. I agree with his conclusions and I offer them to you here as valuable thoughts.
First, the woman should be educated (preferably by her physician) as to exactly what takes place in menopause. Second, the husband should also be educated so that he can co-operate fully in easing the tensions in this life stage. Thus, it is advisable for the husband to accompany his wife to the physician when the first signs of menopause appear. In this way, the husband can be made sensitive to the needs and feelings of his wife.
The first two steps will go far towards lessening the effects of menopause, both physical and emotional.
Finally, thestep is this: persistent symptoms should be recognized by the woman, discussed with her physician, and some treatment instituted if the physician deems it necessary.
However, steps one and two are followed through, there will be less need for step three and correspondingly less need for medication.
The Menopause As a Weapon
Earlier, I discussed how men and women use sex as a weapon or a reward. The menopause also can be used as a weapon.
Some women who never have been able to achieve a really satisfactory sexual relationship, or who have been battling through life with men to prove how superior but how ill-used women are, find menopause a welcome event.
They clutch at the notion that menopause is the end of everything, including sex. Thus, without any guilty conscience whatever, they can take a deep breath and sigh with relief that they no longer have to worry about "that" any more.
The husbands of these women then find themselves completely denied any sexual relationship whatsoever.
This does not represent a radical change from thepast, inasmuch as the sexual relationship in their marriage was not been deep and warm at any time. It is a sad thing to limits of such marriages. It is sad, too, to contemplate the use which a normal menopause is put by such ill-adjusted people. The tragedy is intensified when you consider that the menopause and beyond can and does represent periods of peal: sexual satisfaction for many couples.
As I stated previously, a sexual life which has been warm and full until the menopause will certainly continue to be warm and full. In addition, feel release from sexual the woman in menopause or beyond is completely free of activities that have to do with the monthly period and concern about pregnancy.
How many women have said to me, "I started enjoying sex for the first time after I was forty-five!"
For the first time in their married lives, husband and wife can make love if, as, when and how they want. The old requirements no longer apply. They can indulge any caprice or whim.
They can select any time or place. They can toss away old rules about frequency of intercourse. This total release can be a heady one which produces glowing results for both partners.
I know of many couples in middle life who have discovered their new sexual freedom and feel truly liberated. One in particular has told me of their experience. In twenty years of marriage the wife had rather restrained herself.
The couple had had two children and though, of course, they continued to have intercourse, it was infrequent. Suddenly, both husband and wife heaved almost audible sighs of relief when she experienced the first symptoms of the menopause.
"Finally," the husband said, "you will be able to consider sex as something other than a threat of pregnancy." She did and they are both happier for it.
This case highlights still another important point. Far too many people consider sex the exclusive prerogative of youth. Along with this baseless notion goes another—that sex in the mature, middle-aged individual is not quite decent. This is one of the great inconsistencies in our cultural thinking.
It is inconsistent to glorify youth and urge that a fifty-year-old woman dress and behave like a young girl (as our culture does) while on the other hand condemning her for making an attempt to live youthfully.
To a great many people, it is quite discomforting to think that a woman of fifty could ever lose her cool, calm, well-manicured, well-coifed, collected air and enjoy going to bed with her husband. Yet why shouldn't she?
The Fears Women Have.
Not long ago, I was called upon by a large group of women to speak about menopause. When I arrived at the meeting the la d les had just finished luncheon. I walked in expecting to find that most of them would be in their forties or beyond.
What did I see? About two hundred women, none of whom, with very few exceptions, could have been a day over thirty-five. I was quite taken aback, because it seemed to me that I could not appropriately offer them the material that I had prepared.
After a few halting introductory sentences, I stopped, peered at them and asked, "How many of you are grandmothers?"
Three hands went into the air. Then I burst out, "Will you, for heaven's sake, explain to me why you invited me here to talk about the menopause? Almost none of you is anywhere near that time." A babble of voices started to answer. I made out from all sides the words: "We thought you could help us prepare for it."
This really shook me. Why under the sun should women of thirty-five and under need to be "prepared" for the menopause, that is unless they were scared to death of it?
Obviously, they were. I spent the next hour saying to them more or less what I have written and I scolded them for being such worry-warts.
I told them that after hate, fear and anxiety are the worst enemies of any of the bodily promises; that if they approached their menopausal years filled with fear and anxiety, the chances of their having trouble dui-lug those years would be increased.
Further, I said that if we forgot about menopause until they were well past it mid concentrated all their efforts on living and loving, they would be far better off.
I told them then and I repeat now: If you do concentrate your effort on living a full life, I don't see any reason why 99 per cent of you shouldn't sail through the menopause hardly realizing that you have done so.
The inevitable question as to whether sex life stops with menopause came up at the meeting I have mentioned. I told the audience the story of a woman I knew whose husband, which had always been good, not only continued so, but became increasingly better until they were both well into their seventies.
When I finished this story, there were titters in the audience. Then I told about the women I knew who had been married to two men in her lifetime. With each of them, she had failed to achieve sexual satisfaction. Her second husband died when she was fifty-five.
At 70, she fell in love with and married a man of her own age. With him, for the first time in her life, she experienced full sexual satisfaction. Once again titters arose from the assemblage.
This gave me an added opportunity to ask these women quite forcefully what was so funny about successful sex, or any sex for that matter, in a woman of seventy? Of course, I received no satisfactory reply, for they had none. No, sexual fulfillment is not the private preserve of the young. Indeed, it should not be.
What an opportunity we miss if we cut off, by our attitudes and beliefs, all possibility of continued sexual fulfillment beyond the age of fifty. Our children grow up and venture forth into the world.
What remains? Marriage, husband and wife, the greatest of all relationships, the relationship between a man and woman who are more important to each other than anyone else in the world, even the children they have borne and reared.
How lucky that man and that woman if, in that wonderful combination of long-time union and new-found freedom, they feel free to continue to express physically that deep communion which is theirs, which belongs uniquely to them and to them alone.
The Male Andropause
Thus far, I have mentioned nothing about the male and changes in his sexual capacities as lie ages. Much has been written and said in recent years about the male climacteric. Does anyone really know much about it? I doubt it.
In this area as in others, the kind of person you have been may well determine what happens to you at this time. If you have been a hypochondriac-type of male, given to fears and worries about yourself, the so-called male climacteric maybe more difficult for you than it need be.
Generally, the male climacteric comes later than that of the female. Men may experience fatigue, headache, jitteriness, stomach pain and other symptoms between ages fifty and sixty. For the male hypochondriac, the first symptom of fatigue means to him a waning of his sexual prowess. This is hardly the fact.
However, as soon as symptoms appear, if you allow your tensions to increase, sexual appetite and capability will almost certainly decrease. Then, of course, you may find yourself with some mild potency problems. These interactions of tension and decreased sexual capacity may continue and optimally lead to more serious potency disturbances.
Symptoms of climacteric, if pronounced, should be reported to the physician. As with the hormone therapy has proved beneficial in a great many cases, in this instance, of course, male hormone hormone being replaced.
In addition to hormone therapy, there are a good many drugs which control stomach symptoms, headpain, lassitude and associated disorders. As a matter of fact, eminent authorities in the field have said no male need be troubled by symptoms of andropause with present-day medications and know-how.
Sexual capacity for many men decreases but sexual activity does not stop, nor does a man lose his sexual desires or capability. Many men have an active sex life until they are 80 or older.