What Is Happening to My Body? (6-Minute Read)

Overweight woman sitting on couch with her head in her hands and a measuring tape and weight scale sitting on the floor wondering what is happened to her body in menopause
Connie Pretula Headshot

Connie Pretula

Connie Pretula is an inspiring health coach and Menopause Navigator to mature women, using a holistic approach to nutrition and life.

March 26, 2024

I’m not doing these in any particular order, it’s what I’m inspired to write about.

In this post, I will be sharing how a woman’s body can change. Because every woman is unique, what she experiences can be completely different from what another woman experiences. Another factor is whether a woman is on one of the hormone therapy options or if she has gone into a medical menopause. Also, her ethnic background and overall health prior to starting her menopause transition can also determine how she will feel and what she will experience.

I should also point out, the changes I’m sharing are separate from the natural aging process. Essentially, a woman is dealing with two factors, hormonal changes and natural aging, both are completely normal.

I’d say the most common initial change is, it becomes much harder to maintain a constant weight and can be more challenging to lose weight. The changes that are happening with a woman’s hormone levels definitely contribute as well as her stress levels. Higher cortisol levels, our stress hormone, will definitely add to extra weight around the midsection. 

The pressure to look a certain way comes from many directions, advertising, magazines, social media, family, partners, potential partners. I once had a former boss tell me that he was so glad when I came for my initial interview that I was attractive and in great shape. It’s the unspoken and unlisted item on any job description. We can pretend it doesn’t matter or exist any longer but it does, women’s bodies have long been desired, they have also been objectified and judged by both men and women.

A woman can feel like she has lost control of her body because what she has done in the past to lose weight might not be working. Add on the pressure to look a certain way and maintain and youthful appearance, this is stressful in itself. 

There are very few women who have not been on a diet at some point in their lives. The pressure to look a certain way is why the diet and weight loss industry was valued at $224 billion in 2021, I would suspect even higher once the world started getting back on its feet the last few years. Products like Ozempic have become common topics and celebrities are fuelling this latest unhealthy trend, they are probably shareholders in Novo Nordisk. This topic can be a blog post on its own.

Moving on…

Her hair can start to thin out or change in texture, it can feel drier and not grow as fast or as long. This can happen even before it starts to turn grey. I know some men struggle when their hair starts to thin out, this can be just as emotionally devastating for a woman to experience. Beautiful shiny thick hair can be associated with youthfulness and vitality.

She will start to notice the fine lines on her face getting deeper. The texture of her skin changing, less elasticity, less plump and vibrant looking. Estrogen is one of the main hormones that help support the youthfulness of women’s skin. This change also has an effect on the rest of her skin. One day she will see the crepey skin on her legs and arms appear. There isn’t a moisturizer out there that will bring back the soft skin she once had and of course, the beauty industry will convince you otherwise. If you have the funds, there are procedures to slow down the process but it can’t be stopped permanently.

Fingernails and toes nails can become more brittle and having nice soft skin on our feet is more challenging, especially on the heels. Gentlemen, let her go for the manicures and pedicures, it’s one way of helping to maintain smooth feet.

There are changes many woman are not told about, especially once she transitions into post menopause. For example, eventually her pubic hair will start to thin out. When you think about the transition into puberty, this brings along with it pubic hair. Since menopause is like a reverse puberty, this is completely normal, few ever talk about it. Women who have gone for regular pubic hair removal may not realize that menopause is also causing less hair growth. Depending on how connected she has been to having pubic hair, she may become self-conscious of revealing her body openly. There are men who prefer a woman not have her pubic hair removed, as it thins out, it can add to a woman being self-conscious or feel she will be less desirable to her partner.

One of the positive changes I have appreciated is the hair on my legs has thinned out as well as my underarm hair, that is hair I don’t miss. I still shave but there is far less to remove, yay!

Women can experience changes in their breasts, they can become larger or smaller. Her nipples can change in size, the colour and size of the areola, the area around the nipple, can also change. Because it is so subtle, she may not notice it until one day she is looking in the mirror and wonders what happened, is this normal, yes it is and another reason why she may be less willing to openly show her naked body to a long time partner.

Some women take all these changes in stride, others struggle and want to stop or delay the process as long as they can. It can mean a woman is spending hours each day to look a certain way. Whether it is a form of exercise, a certain skincare routine she likes to follow each morning and night or making sure she is getting in the nutrition she needs to support her body and the changes she is experiencing, it all takes time.

You might wonder why a woman worries about all of the changes she is experiencing, part of it is because few women talk about it. Some talk about it in a very negative way and some are not honest about what they are experiencing. Having support from family, friends and significant others, really helps. Part of that starts with awareness and this is why I decided to write this series.

I will continue with another post in two weeks. Thank you for reading my words.

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