I’m wired to make people laugh. Business meetings, family parties, social gatherings—letting jokes fly is how I lighten the mood and diffuse my tension.
But something weird began happening when I hit my late 40s that nearly broke my funny bone. As soon as I made with the witticisms, my face, neck, and chest would turn beet red. I’d perspire so intensely it was like I’d taken a shower. In public. Instead of laughs, now I was getting totally mortifying sympathy stares.
I had no explanation for this super-uncomfortable phenomenon, but the dots quickly connected once I noticed other weird sensations. Unusual periods. Restless sleep. Roller-coaster moods. I hadn’t recognized the infamous midlife transition: menopause. Turns out, these sweaty, red-faced, in-public episodes were my body’s way of manifesting hot flashes.The Season of Menopause
Officially, menopause occurs when menstruation stops and the ovaries stop producing eggs—but it doesn’t happen overnight (unless you’ve lost your ovaries and uterus to surgery or disease). Although we’ve historically thought of menopause as a women’s issue, anyone who has ovaries—including transgender men and nonbinary people—can experience menopause.
As the ovaries slowly stop responding to the hormones estrogen and progesterone, physical changes and challenges set in…