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Menopause is often seen as a time of endings, but it can just as easily be a time of renewal. Not having a period to plan around or deal with (those hormones are no joke!) can be incredibly liberating. So the next time you find yourself down in the dumps about this new phase of life, think again. Here are a few perks of menopause that you’d never dream of with your cycle.
You know the ones — that underwear that you hated but kept around because you knew you wouldn’t mind if they had a blood leak in them. Say goodbye to that depressing stash of stretched-out, worn-out, bleached-out undies. You’re now free to wear whatever underwear you like — or no underwear! — 24/7.
Every person who has ever had a period knows the panic of wearing white when it’s near that time of the month. We’ve all had the sneak surprises of a period that shows up too early or even insists on lingering around days after we thought we were in the clear.
But once you’re through menopause, with no chance of random cycles or periods, white is back in your closet for all time!
In addition to breathing easy in a white dress, Mary Essler, 54, author of “How Did This Happen? Poems for the Not So Young Anymore,” notes that it can be fairly freeing to add up all the money you aren’t spending on feminine products.
“You can save money on NOT buying all those tampons and panty liners and you can feel nostalgic when a few old OB tampons tumble out of a backpack you haven’t used for a while,” she says.
Additionally, Essler appreciates no longer having to worry about pregnancy, saying sayonara to cramps, and no longer being forced to plan special events and date nights around times when she knows she won’t be bleeding. Hello, spontaneity!
If you’re a woman who used hormonal birth control during your reproductive years, menopause may be the first time in a long time that you can stop taking a daily pill. Of course, there’s still debate about whether women should take hormone replacements or not, but for now, we’ll just celebrate ditching the birth control.
And on the flip side, if you are a woman who chose nonhormonal methods of birth control, you get the freedom of no longer living life or being intimate based on your cycle.
“While menopause itself brings on many new challenges, obviously one benefit is not having periods,” explains Stephanie, 51. “As a woman that never used birth control, the days of counting days (and abstinence) are over, so obviously that directly affects your physical relationship with your husband. Then there is the absolute feeling of ‘finally making it!’ It’s liberating to know that you survived child-bearing years, those years that make a woman stronger than any man!”
Obviously, one of the most significant changes to occur to a woman through menopause is a shift in her fertility. Without ovulation, there is no chance of getting pregnant. For some women, menopause represents an entirely new world of sex without any concern of pregnancy.
One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says when she became temporarily menopausal due to medication at the age of 38, she loved the experience of having worry-free sex.
“I could eat anything and stay thin and have sex all day and night with no fear of pregnancy,” she explains. “It was awesome. Having no period is awesome too — no backache and no PMS.”
Although it’s not the case for every woman who goes through menopause, some women find that their sex lives actually improve. “I know most complain about losing their sex drive,” notes one woman, who has chosen to be anonymous. “However, I have found it not to be true. The idea of no pregnancy and no restriction of a period has made my sex life more alive.”
Most women are used to fluctuating some five pounds every month, thanks to their good friend water weight. But once she was past the periods, Kim M. noted that her pants fit better and she no longer gained and lost the same five pounds every month. Menopause can sometimes come with its own weight gain possibilities, but while you can, embrace the era of no more monthly bloating!
It might take menopause for you to realize just how much mental energy you spent constantly tracking and thinking about your period. When did I start? When am I due? Am I late or just stressed? One woman, who went through menopause early due to a total hysterectomy, noted that while it took some adjusting, it was a relief not have to worry about her monthly cycles anymore.
Menopause might mean life without a period, but it’s a change that every woman will experience differently. So, whether you look forward to some of the freedoms that life without monthly bleeding brings or are sad to say goodbye to your reproductive years, you can focus on moving into the next stage of life in a way that’s meaningful to you. Maybe that includes wearing white pants every day just because you can and maybe it doesn’t. But either way, the choice is entirely up to you now — and that’s definitely a beautiful thing.
Chaunie Brusie, BSN, is a registered nurse with experience in labor and delivery, critical care, and long-term care nursing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and four young children, and she is the author of the book “Tiny Blue Lines.”