Women’s Stories


Six women shared their perimenopause and menopause experiences with us over zoom. Read what they have to say in their own words.


South Carolina

I’m a special ed teacher. We have two kids. One very old, and a one year old. And two grandkids. This one here was a surprise. I’m 47. She’s the change-of-life baby. Yeah, a lot of people in my family had a change-of-life baby. I thought it was a myth, but apparently not.

How did you initially feel when you realized that you had started the process?

I was happy. No more periods. Yes! No more cramps! I was happy about that part.

Nobody else tells you about all this stuff you got to go through. Some days you’re hot. Some days you’re cold. People in my family hate when I have to keep changing the temperature.

I am going to do hormone therapy. I’m praying that is going to work. I made my decision about my treatment by going on Google, and discussing with my doctor.

Do you have any advice for other women who are going through the menopause transition?

Do your research. Talk to your gynecologist about what’s best for you. Just take your time, do what’s best for you. Don’t rush into anything. Just because Sally’s doing this therapy, and Mary’s doing that therapy… You want to see what’s best for you. What are your options. Everybody’s different. But you know, at least you’re not the only one who is going through this.

My mother and her sisters, they never discussed menopause. We just know they went through a change. People think your sex life is over. Which is not true. Your partner, your significant other, if he really loves you he can be patient.  You have to figure out what works for you guys.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing about perimenopause and menopause before you started, what would it be?

You still can get pregnant until you are finished with the menopause transition.



I’m a mother of two kids, and a wife. A full-time mom.

How does perimenopause make you feel?

Terrible. I feel weak. My hair is falling at night. I can’t brush my hair. I sweat. I can’t sleep. I keep turning both ways. I feel uncomfortable. I wish there was a medication for it that helps me but I don’t know. Last night I was sweating and turning. I want to go do things but now I can’t because I’ve got my heavy period and it’s bothering me.

I started at age 40.  I felt tired. Different. Hot and sometimes cold. In the mornings, at night, especially at night. I gained more weight. I went online, figured out why I’m sweating. Sometimes I feel like hearing from the doctor also.

If you could go back to before you had started your menopause transition and tell yourself one thing what would you tell yourself?

Read more about it. Prepare myself. I’m only 43.


New Jersey

I’m 50 years old. My last period was about two and a half years ago. Once I had a hysterectomy, my period disappeared. I kept my ovaries, and I knew [menopause] was coming. I’m trying to manage it as best I can. I’m okay with it, knowing that it won’t be here forever.

When I first started menopause symptoms, I was a little bit confused. I wasn’t 100% sure if it was [menopause] or if I was sick. But very quickly, I figured out what it was. I was anxious.  I like to control things and know when they’ll begin and when they’ll end and I really had no idea how long this would last. The first symptom of menopause I felt was the night sweats – just waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Even if it was a really cool night or even if the air conditioner was on. I actually thought I had COVID. And then in the daytime I would be in a supermarket and suddenly feel very hot and start sweating.

I feel very comfortable talking to my gynecologist.  He’s very good about stuff like this. He would immediately explain to me what I was in for and what was happening.

When I started not being able to sleep as well because I was having night sweats, I did ask my primary doctor for sleeping pills and he suggested something more natural like melatonin. As far as lubricants, I always had them.  I just never really had a need to use them and I started realizing I needed to use them more. So I did. There’s nothing more, other than maybe just fanning myself.

I started experiencing anxiety and a little bit of depression, probably around five months ago, and I assumed like everyone else that it was due to the pandemic. There are days that the littlest thing can set me off and make me irritable or crabby. I’ve googled it and realized, “Oh, it’s part of menopause.” My primary doctor didn’t mention that to me.

Do you have any advice for other women who are going through the menopause transition?

Just embrace it and live with it. Don’t be upset over it or feel like your life is over or you’re not a woman anymore. You’re every bit of a woman. It’s completely normal. And it’s not going to be forever, from what other people tell me. So just deal with it as best you can and don’t worry about it so much.

Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Even with my primary doctor – when I went in with anxiety – I probably should have mentioned the night sweats. And he probably would have realized right away it was menopause. If I had known before that it wasn’t such a big deal, I would have been more open about it.

I definitely am grateful for my female friends who have gone through it or will go through it or are going through it with me for giving me advice and sharing stories.



I work part time for an internet company, and full time as an entrepreneur. When the weather’s nice I do a lot of vegetable and edible flower gardening. I have a husband and two cats that keep me busy as well. I’m 53 years old. The last time I had my period was approximately a month ago.

How does perimenopause make you feel?

I went into perimenopause around the age of 36 and a half or 37. I had my tubes clipped at that time, because my husband and I decided when we met that we didn’t want to have any more children. My doctor did not mention that doing so may or may not throw me into menopause. And about two months, I guess two or three months after that surgery, I started getting hot flashes, really horrible, horrible hot flashes. Like I thought I would spontaneously combust sitting in a chair. And I called him and I said, “What did you do?” And he went, “Oh, that. Yeah, we probably should have mentioned that. It may or may not happen.” Anyway, we can’t really pinpoint if that’s actually the cause. My mother went into menopause in her late 30s, early 40s. So that’s where it started. I’m 53 now, so I’ve been in menopause, technically for like 17 years.

I had seen my mother have hot flashes. She’d tear socks off and open the window, put a fan on and then 15 minutes later, she’d put her socks back on and get a blanket. I just thought yeah, crazy old lady, right. And we laughed about it. We thought it was really funny. And then it happened to me and all of a sudden it’s like, oh, I get the joke. Now it’s not so funny.

If I was hot, I could take clothes off. If cold I could put clothes on.  Or if I was really hot, get in the shower and cool down or go outside.

The second and third year were probably the toughest, because the emotional stuff started. I wasn’t really moody. What happened to me is that about every seven to 10 days, I would have a crying jag that I couldn’t explain. I didn’t feel sad, but I cried for a whole day and I couldn’t control it. I would be crying but laughing and making coffee and it just was a weird – like surreal – thing where, like my body cried. My husband really felt bad for me, even though there was really no reason to. So there was about a year and a half to two years of that. And then all of a sudden that just kind of went away. And I haven’t had that again.

The duration of it has seen hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain. Joint pain has been the last couple of years only I think that’s more due or at least pronounced because I’m sedentary – I work behind the computer for a lot of hours every day. And I’ve put on more weight. And weird cravings like I had when I was pregnant.

How did you learn about menopause?

I had a really high level of disappointment in the fact that no one talked to me about it, ever. It wasn’t part of my high school class that we took, or the women’s reproductive education that I got. My doctor (he was a male) didn’t speak to me about it. And I’d only had a child four years before I went into menopause.

There was no way for me to garner any kind of support at that time. Now I feel like, dang!, all this great support available on the internet. And I wished I’d had that when I was going through it because it was a really lonely feeling at the time.

It’s like periods. It’s a very taboo subject. You shouldn’t talk about it. You know, you can’t talk about it to your husband because he’s the victim. He just feels either bad or annoyed. And he doesn’t know what you’re going through. You can try to explain it but it’s like like explaining it to my cat, right? He can feel compassion or empathy. And say he’s sorry, but that’s all he can do. I talk to my mom about it a lot, because she’s still experiencing symptoms of menopause now, and she’s almost 70.

I think I would be comfortable speaking to a doctor about menopause, because I would be choosing that doctor specifically for this phase of my life. I don’t need a doctor that delivers babies necessarily, because I’m not having any more. I need a doctor who knows about menopause. I would prefer a woman.

Which coping strategy or treatments worked for you?

The coping mechanisms that I use, I guess the probably the, the most prominent one, I would have to say would be humor. I really just tried to accept it. This it is something that every almost every woman goes through it. So I’m not special in that regard. I just felt like nature was just playing a big old joke. Haha, I’m the butt of a joke for 20 years.

Beyond that, I think I took every day as it came. I knew the symptoms were going to come. Some of the more rudimentary coping mechanisms were just dressing for the fact that I might have to undress – to a certain degree – no matter where I was. And I tried to keep all the other parts of my life that I could manage – my diet and stuff like that  – I tried to keep that as good as I could. So that at least I knew those things weren’t contributing to make it worse.

I tried to [do] a variety of different exercises – strength training, yoga- and lost a little bit of weight. I felt better just overall, which made the coping a little bit easier.  Because I felt better about myself. And the hormones and stuff that are released when you [exercise] helped me to cope even more, and feel like every day was just a little bit better.

If you could go back to before you started your menopause transition and tell yourself one thing what would you tell yourself?

It’s gonna last, it’s not gonna be as bad as you think, and you’re gonna adapt just fine. Like life in general, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. You just get better at it.

Editors note. Hot flashes and night sweats can occur after getting your tubes tied (tubal ligation) but it’s rare. One study found that “women who had a tubal ligation were 9% more likely to report hot flashes and 10% more likely to have other symptoms of menopause (e.g., poor sleeping, night sweats, irritability, depression) compared with women who did not have a tubal ligation.” There isn’t enough research to know if the tubal ligation is the cause, or if it is due to other things associated with having a tubal ligation (Nichols, British Journal of Cancer, 2013, 109(5): 1291-1295.



I am 38 years old. I just got married in June. I work as a graphic designer. In my free time, I like to hike. I’m very outdoorsy, big on camping, things like that. I don’t like to be at home very much or watch much TV because I’m pretty active and out there. No kids for us, but that’s okay. We’re just gonna live our best lives and travel and do as much fun things as we can.

How does menopause make you feel?

Going through menopause is definitely not anything like I would have expected and I definitely wasn’t prepared for it. Mine was surgical. Whereas most women have a natural progression of menopause. They go through it in five to 10, even 15 years. Mine was very abrupt. It hit me a lot harder than I could have ever imagined. I had surgery and went into immediate menopause. I’m about to hit my six month mark.

I knew surgery was in my future. I had about a two-week window where I was trying to do as much research as possible. But sometimes, no matter how much research you do, it doesn’t prepare you for actually going through it. It’s just like when you when you watch a movie or you read a book or something, you can relate to the characters, but until you actually experienced that thing for yourself, you don’t always know.

The symptom that was the most bothersome to me was the joint pain. Also, I did experience some brain fog. That was one that caught me more off guard. As a graphic designer, I have to be somewhat creative. I found that I’d be sitting at my desk, trying to work on a project, and my brain just wasn’t working. Things weren’t connecting, and things that I could do on autopilot before were taking me like twice as long.

How did you approach dealing with your symptoms?

Of course, I stayed in close contact with my doctor. We had discussed prior to my surgery that I was going to go into abrupt menopause. So we were trying to get my hormone replacement therapy right as quickly as possible. I did as much research as I possibly could, but a lot of it is just trial and error, because what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for you or for another person. I was trying to figure out what to take what doses what methods.  Because with estrogen, you can take an oral pill, or you can do a patch, a cream, a gel, pellets. It can be like a little overwhelming.  You  just have try different things to see what sticks.

Do you have any advice for other women who are going through the menopause transition?

Listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone else knows your body. Talk closely with your doctor, ask any questions. I’m a type A personality, so I did a lot of research. And if I came across something I would make a note to ask my doctor. Or my doctor has an online portal where I can ask questions and the nurse will get back to me. You have to advocate for yourself. Note your symptoms and just be very proactive because, unfortunately, our doctors aren’t mind reader’s.

Know that you are like not alone. It’s okay. If you’re struggling, it’s okay. Some women don’t have as many problems, some have more problems. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to try different things – it’s not like a one size fits all. If one thing doesn’t work, it’s okay to keep trying and trying and trying and just don’t give up.

Are there enough resources for women who are going through menopause?

I’m grateful for the internet. I’m grateful for support groups. I’m grateful that I was able to find some information. But I had to be very proactive about it.

It is helpful for me to talk to other women who have gone through this or to hear their stories because you realize that other people that have been through this and survived. That’s kind of what helped me hold on in some of my darker days: “Okay, this woman had the same surgery I had. And she’s two months ahead of me and she’s doing great. I’m gonna get there, I know I am.” My mom went through this, my grandma went through this, every woman that’s reached a certain age has gone through this. They’re still here and they’re still thriving. It’s a transition and it sucks. But seeing that other women have made it and they’re okay – it’s very inspiring and gives you hope.

I just feel like we have a long way to go. Because half the population – we’re women. And we need more information about this, we need to be informed about it. We need to know what’s coming and not just like, “Oh, yeah, it’s this thing that happens. You might have a few hot flashes, and then you’re fine.”  Maybe for like 10% [of the population] or something. But most of us, we struggle.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing about the menopause transition before you begin, what would you tell yourself?

Just be patient with the process.  Unfortunately, we want to just like, “Oh, I’m going to start estrogen, and I’m going to be fine.” But your body goes through a major, major change. The way you’ve been living your life for years may change. And it’s just an adjustment period. Know that it’s okay to be gentle with yourself and be nice to yourself and do a lot of self care. You will eventually get back to normal. In my case, I’m about to hit my six month mark, and I’m thriving. I had some really bad months, I’m not gonna lie. In-between surgery and now it was not roses and sunshine and puppy dogs and rainbows. But I got there. It just takes time.



I am 52. And I’ve got three kids and a husband. I enjoy baking, walks on the beach, and doing my Bible study meditation.

My feelings on menopause are complicated. I just thought it was going to be something that I might notice, but never really looked into it. I didn’t hear a lot about it from my mom, because she had a hysterectomy. Didn’t hear a lot about it from her mom, because they just didn’t talk about that. So I kind of walked into it a little oblivious. I need to pay a little more attention to it than I initially thought.

When I realized I was going into menopause, I was pretty sad at first because I really enjoyed having babies and that whole experience. Just knowing that that was definitely no longer an option was really sad. And it made me feel like I was entering . . . the final phase of my life. But those feelings went away and were replaced with other feelings. I’m gonna have time to do other things in life and be there for my kids in different ways and be a grandmother one day.

What were your early symptoms?

It started with a lot of a lot of brain fog. And thinking it was food-related .. . .Then the symptoms were more chronic. My periods were totally irregular, which was not common for me. I was doing a lot of spotting. Sometimes skipping a period, sometimes bleeding for two or three weeks. And so yeah, that was pretty much my clue that okay, something has kicked into gear. Also cramps are more significant now. I was getting very emotional.

After about eight months, I started realizing, oh, these aren’t things I can just sit back and let do their thing, because they were significant. And I started doing some reading on the internet.

Okay, so you want to hear my funny menopause story? I was trying to figure out what is going on with me and I hadn’t made the connection yet. I was like, I have cancer! Because everywhere I looked on the internet, if you spot, and if you do this and that. . .The internet told me, “You have cancer.” But I don’t –  I have menopause.  That’s why I was excited when I saw this website, because it just directs you to one place. So you’re not getting all this bizarre information.

I’ve started watching my diet a little bit more watching intake of sugar and caffeine, I realized those are things that can exacerbate the symptoms. And so, yeah, so little by little, I’m starting to talk more to friends and just kind of starting my journey.

I’ve even finally scheduled an appointment for next week with a gynecologist just because I need someone to talk to who can explain what’s going on with me. And, you know, how long is this gonna last? I’ve read 10 years, I’ve read some people don’t feel anything at all. And I’m like, What? I need more. I can’t just live the next 10 years of my life like this.

What would you tell other women?

The more I’ve embraced it, and looked at the beautiful things about it, it’s made it easier to engage in this part of my life, look into things to help, and be curious about it.

Take better care of yourself sooner. Like with eating, you know, but just because you don’t have to worry about it at the time, doesn’t mean that it won’t eventually be something that’s difficult. I think the sooner we can get ahead of bad habits, then the easier this part will go.

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