Emma Pickett will carefully check her calendar if she has to travel long distances. When she is out, Pickett will always take an extra change of clothes. If she gives a lecture at work, she must ensure that it does not exceed 30 minutes. She rarely hears about why older women go to such great lengths to avoid the truth.
Pickett, a 48 year-old breastfeeding counsellor and author, The Breast Book, says that if you have 12-year-olds in your car, it’s impossible to say
She is also one of the five British women who experience heavy periods during the period leading up to menopause or perimenopause. You can make fun of hot flushes and talk about them. Menstrual blood is a taboo topic in our society. Women all over the globe must pretend they have to run for other reasons.
Women on the shocking truth about periods, perimenopause and other topics
Michelle Obama spoke out about her experience with hot flushes at the White House. The Countess and Countess recently admitted to suffering from menopausal brain fog.
But it takes a different level of courage to talk publicly about wearing three pairs of knickers – just in case, or to cope with what the US gynaecologist and author of The Menopause Manifesto Dr Jen Gunter calls a “supersoaker event” – the kind of bleeding that can flood through clothes, defeat even a combination of super-plus tampons and maternity towels, and leave women needing iron supplements or in some cases stop them leaving the house.
This was at a time many thought their periods were just fading away. Menopause can be defined as the absence of menstruation for at least one year. The silence is strangely alarming, considering that about 13 million British women are either post- or peri-menopausal. There are also trans- and non-binary people who are on similar journeys.
Activist campaigns, books that break taboos and television programs like the “The Apprentice” have made it easier for younger women to be open about their cycles.Period sex scene in Michaela Coel’s award-winning drama I May Destroy You.There are not many midlife equivalents.
The notable exception is a scene from Allison Pearson’s 2017 novelHow hard can it be? Her 49-year old heroine gets caught up in a high-powered event at work and ends up being barricaded in the toilet, bleeding all over the hotel’s fancy towels.
Pickett recalls, I read that book, and thought: ‘Oh My God, this has occurred to someone else. Pearson, however, based the scene loosely upon something she experienced at an awards dinner. She wrote that she was still embarrassed to discuss it. The shame of losing control and feeling that my body, normally so reliable, is in open mutiny towards me runs deep.
Helen Clare, a former biology teacher, says that it is the constant fear that your skirt might be stained. She retrained as an educator in menopause after experiencing a difficult period and now helps other teachers to cope with this fear.
When you think you can manage a female body well, suddenly it starts to misdirect you. Extreme cases of difficult menopause might even cause women to abandon their hard-earned careers.
Erectile dysfunction is not something that should be considered a part of men’s daily lives. This is something we consider common – and there are treatments.
Some women may not see the end of their reproductive lives as more than just a few missed periods. Guardian readers were asked about their experiences during the period leading up to menopause.?They feel vulnerable, anxious, and exhausted because of the increased frequency, severity, and lengthened bleeding.
Joy, a 48 year-old nurse who experiences irregular and heavy periods that can last up to weeks, stated that Menopause has brought my entire life down. I am not the same person that I was two years back. I feel exhausted all the time and unable to work at home and work. She says she wasn’t prepared for this despite her professional training. If men experienced menopause and the hormone rollercoaster that comes with it, we would do more research and pay more attention.
Dawn, now 53 years old, was going through a difficult divorce
Began bleeding non-stop. I couldn’t imagine building a new life while this happened. It was a difficult time in my life and I knew it would have a severe impact on my mental health.
Sonia, a 50 year-old university lecturer was running in the park. Then, she felt a sudden flood of blood cover her legs and shorts. Although this has not happened to me at work yet, I often wonder what I would do.
Others are now anxious about a post-pandemic office return. Mona, a 46 year-old NHS worker, feels relieved that her worst days have fallen on weekends. I don’t think I would have to call in sick if it wasn’t for the weekend. I work with quite many men. I could not sit in meetings that went on for over an hour without thinking: Have I leaked? Although I work in an office, God knows how others manage to complete a 12-hour shift.
Nicola, 52 years old, is still reluctant to seek treatment
For what she considers an incontinence rather than an illness despite having to use blankets to protect herself on the sofa. Others describe fighting with unsupportive doctors. Gunter says that he often meets people who feel like there is nothing they can do.
His book also includes a chapter on midlife, which aims to clarify the issue. But, no one says that erectile dysfunction is “just a part” of men’s lives. This is just a common thing that happens. There’s treatment available if you need it.
Official guidance from National Institute for Health According to Care Excellence (Nice)
Any changes in bleeding patterns after 45 years should be examined. This will rule out fibroids (noncancerous growths in uterus), polyps, and in rare cases, even cancer.
Postmenopausal women who have stopped having periods should be examined as this could indicate a more serious condition.However, Dr Paula Briggs is a Southport and Ormskirk NHS trust consultant in reproductive health and sexuality. She says that fluctuating hormones are a common cause for heavy periods in perimenopausal patients.
She says that it is probably the most common symptom of menopause transition. There’s also a reason. The body attempts to induce faltering eggs to release an egg by increasing oestrogen levels.
However, women who don’t ovulate regularly don’t produce enough progesterone to offset the increased oestrogen. This results in a thickened womb lining that sheds irregularly. Women may pass large clots or sudden gushes of blood, forcing them to double up on sanitary protection, or change it hourly or even more often.
There are many treatment options, including regulating hormones using a Mirena coil or the combined or miniature contraceptive pill.
However, there are also nonhormonal alternatives such as endometrial ablation, which involves surgically removing the womb’s lining, and the drug tranexamic acids. Briggs says that these options can be used. HRT can also be useful for some women.
She says that the first step is to help older women realize that HRT is not taboo and it’s completely acceptable to discuss it. This openness might also be beneficial in the workplace.