HEALTH – Top 10 weird (and funny) names for the Menopause
It’s human nature to use alternative words for things that, as a society, we feel embarrassed to discuss. And it’s for this reason, like periods/menstruation before it, that the menopause is no stranger to a euphemism.
Whilst we’re all for those who prefer to solely use the correct medical terms too, by way of reclaiming and feeling pride in their symptoms, it seems menopause nicknames are here to stay.
Well lab (www.welllab.co.uk/) a Cheshire-based wellness firm that has produced a new range of CBD oils aimed at tackling some of the classic symptoms of the menopause, has compiled a list of the UK’s most common nicknames for menopause (plus one or two you might not have heard of).
A lot of them are funny and life needs a little joy, especially now. So, in the spirit of choice, here’s the top 10 different words for menopause:
1. Internal Furnace / Private Summer
It’s thought that hot flushes are experienced by up to 80% of menopausal women. Some describe the experience as like having their own ‘internal furnace’, where others talk of a ‘creeping’ sensation of warmth that spreads quickly over the whole body, often starting in the chest and upper body.
Another similar term for hot flushes is ‘private summer’, which almost makes it sound like a pleasant experience. Who knows, during the depths of winter it might be nice to have a personal ‘internal furnace’ – although most women are unable to control when and where a hot flush might occur.
2. Reverse Puberty
On a recent menopause feed on Reddit user BiteLicorice said: “Reverse puberty is my favorite [sic].”
Evra1654 replied: “I was explaining menopause to my 10-year-old son, and he called it reverse puberty too! I love it.”
The process of the menopause is seen as a reversal of all the changes that happen during puberty. Yet where society understands and is sympathetic to the adolescent phase, the physical and mental changes of menopause are less widely acknowledged; even though the hormonal shift is no less dramatic in middle age than it is in teenagers.
3. Ovarian Retirement
“There comes a time in the life of every ovary where it needs to pack up work and take up sewing or gardening – it’s ovarian retirement time”, jokes one Twitter user. And it’s true that after the menopause the ovaries have given up their lifetime job, which was to release eggs and produce oestrogen and progesterone.
4. Second Spring
A term from Chinese medicine which quite beautifully likens the menopausal phase to the natural changing seasons of a woman’s life. Rather than talk of the menopause in a negative manner, this phrase invokes a sense of positivity and ‘rebirth’, which some studies believe could be the key to a more positive experience of the menopause for women.
Researchers at Yale Medical School examined the idea that culture could affect a woman’s experience of the menopause and according to lead study author Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a professor in obstetrics, gynaecology, and reproductive health at Yale Medical School, found that:
“In societies where age is more revered and the older woman is the wiser and better woman, menopausal symptoms are significantly less bothersome.
“Where older is not better, many women equate menopause with old age, and symptoms can be much more devastating.” ¹
5. Power Surges
Another term for those hot flushes, which describes the sensation of heat travelling rapidly across the body.
Itchy skin can be one of the lesser-known symptoms of menopause, another direct result of the decreasing levels of hormones that stimulate the formation of skin-smoothing collagen and oil.
One Reddit contributor said: “I suffered with very itchy skin when I went through the menopause, which was much worse at night-time and led me to nickname the sensation “the night-crawlers’.”
7. Super-soaker Event
This was a term used by Canadian gynaecologist and author of The Menopause Manifesto Dr Jen Gunter, which refers to very heavy bleeding experience by some women as they begin to go through the menopausal process. It’s often not talked about in society, but some women find that the bleeding can be so heavy it soaks through clothes and feminine hygiene products. For others it can be so bad they become fearful of leaving the house and some will need iron supplements.
This term refers to forgetfulness, lack of clarity and mental ‘fuzziness’ induced by menopausal hormone changes. Presenter Davina McCall has recently been quoted in the press as saying she was so affected by ‘brainfog’ that she feared she was suffering with dementia. It was only when it began to affect her work that she sought help. Up to 60% of women suffer brain fog.
9. The Baby Factory is Closed
A light-hearted name for menopause coined by one Reddit user, however some women feel a real sense of loss at no longer being able to produce children.
A spokesperson from Well lab said:
“A lot of women lose their identity at this point and start to feel superfluous to society, it can be a root cause for anxiety and depression.
“What we love about some of these terms is that they throw open the door for discussion, and anything that gets women talking about menopause and the symptoms they are experiencing can only be a good thing.
“Lack of discussion leaves women ill-prepared for what can be a difficult period in their life. And when things like ‘brainfog’ and forgetfulness come as a surprise, it can be distressing.”
10. The Change
Finally, the one most people have heard of, referring to the biological process as the female body transitions from being able to reproduce and stops releasing eggs. In reality, there are many changes that women experience at this time of their life, both physiological and psychological, brought on by hormonal changes within the body.