Maya Ish-Shalom
Maya Ish-Shalom

The Embarrassing Menopause Moments Nobody Tells You About

It looked like 'Shark Week' in my pants!

Unexpected bleeding, popping beads of sweat, sudden brain fog, fiery hot flashes. Ain’t it fun to be a perimenopausal woman? Sure, you’ve been dealing with periods and cramps and mood swings since middle school. But now the steady, familiar monthly rhythms have turned into a whiplash-inducing storm of symptoms. One moment you’re fine, and the next you look like the air traffic controller in Airplane! And all that can lead to some pretty mortifying situations. Here, five women share their most embarrassing (and totally relatable) perimenopause moments.

Maya Ish-Shalom

“I was running the Walt Disney World Marathon during my period. At that point, my periods were beginning to go haywire (i.e. gush like volcanic lava without warning), but still I thought it was manageable. I changed my tampon at mile six, but a few miles later I started to feel major chafing. At first I chalked it up to the humid weather and sweat between my rubbing thighs. But when I looked down it wasn’t sweat at all, it was rivers of blood flowing down my legs. It was another half mile before I could duck into a bathroom and take care of what looked like Shark Week in my running shorts. Fifteen minutes and an entire roll of scratchy public restroom towels later, I was back in the race.”
— Melissa F.

“For years I denied that I was perimenopausal. When I started to get a little hot, I would blame the lack of A/C or too much wine. But one night I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I was sitting with my boyfriend at a cute little Italian café, sharing a bottle of red wine, when I started to sweat. I’m talking ‘pouring-down-my-face, hair-sopping-wet’ sweat. I said, ‘Isn’t it really hot in here? Also, I think I’m having an allergic reaction to this wine!’ He actually started to get concerned that I was having a stroke or heart attack. Finally, he suggested that it might be due to the dreaded M word.”
— Karen S.

Maya Ish-Shalom

“I woke up in the middle of the night broiling. It was the first time I’d had night sweats, and it was unbearable. I threw off the bedcovers, but I was still hot, so I started to get undressed. I was pulling my nightgown over my head when I noticed my husband looking over excited. He thought he was about to get lucky! It took a few minutes for him to realize what was going on, but finally he rolled over and started snoring again.”
— Carol G.

“I always dreaded having a sudden hot flash, but this one was the worst. I was giving a presentation at work to about half a dozen people – all men — when I felt this rush of heat. I started sweating, and I know my face and neck were bright red. I was so hot, my glasses started fogging up! I remember the man next to me staring as I frantically patted my face with a Kleenex. I just looked at him and said, ‘Talk about being in the hot seat!’ There was some nervous laughter and I made it through the rest of my presentation.”
— Cindy W.

Maya Ish-Shalom

“I was working as an executive assistant, and my boss was dictating a memo to me when suddenly I broke out in a massive sweat. It was so bad I couldn’t concentrate. I had to say something. I interrupted him in the middle of a sentence and stammered, ‘Hold on a second, I’m having a hot flash.’ I had no idea how he would respond to that, but luckily he said that his wife was going through the same thing and had similar issues.”
— Linda C.

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