Warning: NSFM* What it’s like to wait for “the menopause symptoms” to show up & then have your “big sign” be your period shifting a little at 55 and just *poof* ending in a span of less than 3 months?
Oh. AND mood swings? JUST crazy mood swings!
And what ABOUT those periods? What drastic intervention are some doctors offering as a “solution” to heavy periods in our 40s or early 50s?
It’s upsetting, but it’s something you should know.
In this NSFM* ladies-only episode, Martha & Stacy talk about unnecessary hysterectomies, the canaries in the coal mine that tip you off that you’re in perimenopause, and flooding periods.
Related: Here's Martha's TikTok from the "Convention Incident" (Men...be forewarned...this story isn't really for you!)
And finally - what’s a surefire way to make 30-year-old guys realize you’re more than old enough to be their mom?
And will that stop them from hitting on you?
Get the answers to these questions on this episode with Martha and Stacy.
* Are you one of my male listeners? This episode is marked NSFM (NOT suitable for men) due to menstruation stories you DEFINITELY don’t want to hear. 😂 Instead, please listen to one of my other “sexier” less-likely-to-traumatize-you episodes, like the one right before this focused on Happy Endings. You’re welcome!
Martha's Botox alternative: Frownies (Save 10% with MAV discount link or by using discount code MAV10)
MAV Tip: Get a second opinion if a hysterectomy is suggested and a) you're not already seeking it for your own reasons and b) there isn't a pathology or serious issue that makes removing your uterus urgent. A lot of the perimenopausal conditions that lead to "unnecessary"* hysterectomies can be handled pretty effectively with HRT, natural remedies, and other treatments like ablation.
Take care of yourself. And take care of your vagina!
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The shocking thing about is that you look in the mirror some days and you're like, Well, who is that?" Like, I don't even recognize this person looking back.Martha:
Yeah, I mean, cuz I worry about my appearance, obviously I'm vain and we're on camera all the time now, and so we're more aware than ever. But I also am realizing that we don't actually pay that much attention to each other. We're not as scrutinized by others as we think.Stacy:
It's funny too cuz I'll see people that I went to high school with and I'll be like,"Oh wow! She got old." And then I'm like, oh wait, I look just like her. When we're like 75, are we gonna be attracted to like 40 year old guys or are we gonna be attracted to like 70 something year old people? Like, cause now I look and I'm thinking like a 25 year old guy, maybe he's got a great body, but I'm not attracted to that. Because like they're, they're like a baby, they're like a mental baby. So, I'm thinking to myself, do you, do you stay attracted to the age that you're at?Martha:
Yeah, I, I just had this conversation with someone I had dated in my twenties he was nine months younger and that seemed like a big deal. So he used to joke that I was robbing the cradle. So I recently saw him and he said something about,"Well, you always liked younger guys." I said, what are you talking about? I've never dated a guy younger. And he said, me himself. And I'm like, yeah, that doesn't count. But other than that, it's always been guys my age or at most two years older. I'm very in my zone.Stacy:
I like being able to, connect on things and having shared history through pop culture and, perspectives. I like someone to understand my jokesStacy:
Yeah. Or know how to read a map, like, likeMartha:
Well, yeah, those thingsStacy:
read a map or turn a channel on the tv.Martha:
Address an envelope. You know, those sexy, sexy things.Stacy:
Right. Right. Right.Martha:
So my son is in his younger thirties, and guys his age are kind of into me. I just don't understand how they don't know. It's so obvious to me how old I am and that I could be their mother. But then when they find out, they act shocked and I think, oh, how flattering. That's so cute that they are like,"Oh!"Stacy:
You don't really mean that.Martha:
but also they're like making the moves. And I'm like, are they just not realizing that I'm my age? Or do they not care? But there's no way. I'm not even gonna make out with a guy in his thirties. It makes me uncomfortable to even think about it.Stacy:
That would feel really weird to me. Like I would feel like morally wrong, even though they're adults.Martha:
Right! I mean a 30-year-old man is a MAN! B ut it's just too much for me. And I know I have friends who, who insist cuz I am single. They're like, you've gotta try it. You need to, if you're attracted to him, just one of those times just like do it and see how things go. And I just haven't had the guts to do it.Stacy:
I wouldn't wear the things, though.Martha:
Right. Well, this, this always tips them off. The Frownies always tip them off that I might be a little bit older.Stacy:
I cannot wait to see the final product because if that works, I'm gonna be like lathering them ev, you know, like everywhere. Everywhere.Martha:
I've been using them now for, Nine months. They only work here because it's about repetitive muscle. It's basically the poor girls Botox or the anti Botox. Botox because it prevents you from scowling. And so a lot of us I turn out to be one scowl in our sleep. So you just wear'em at night and then you're like saving yourself that seven or eight hours of scowling. So I just left them on for the sight gag! I no longer tell my friends they could benefit from Frownies cause nobody wants to hear that I'm noticing their What-the-fuck? lines. Frownies gave me a discount. And I'm able to pass that discount along to other people. So I think that's an affiliate. Which makes me feel super official. So if you want to try frownies and I do really, truly recommend them. You can use my code MAV 10. So it's M A V for My Aloof Vagina. And you'll get 10% off. I think at some point they may send me a fruit basket or something. Not really sure how all this works, but I'm sure I'll figure it out as I become more professional. There's always now going to be a link in the show notes, Which makes me feel like I'm really, really doing this podcasting thing. Right?Stacy:
I'm really glad that you're talking about this because now that I've started to talk about it, because I'm in it, and people my age are going through it. So like the R B F, when I say like typically, no, this is my face. Resting bitch face, right? Yeah. Can I say the, can I curse on your show?Martha:
Yeah. Didn't I say what the fuck? LinesStacy:
Right now though, although I'm a genuinely positive, happy person, and I'm intentional about that. Um, there are days where I just have unbelievable mood swings and I'm not normally that type of person, and I can only, I can only assume it's the M wordMartha:
I don't even like to say.Martha:
Because it's pre, so it's not the m, You can call it Perry. Like it's a nickname.Stacy:
Okay. Like, like it's a date.Martha:
Yeah. So anyway, so with Perry, I become enraged.Stacy:
And then sometimes two minutes later I'm like crying. You know, it's just like I feel like I'm crazy and I know that typically, I am not, and I feel like I am.Martha:
My PMS I could tell like, oh, if I didn't know, I'd look at the calendar. Oh my gosh, it's day 27, right?Stacy:
Yeah. You could predict it.Martha:
Yeah. Now, who knows? So I was at a conference and I had just had my period So I didn't bring stuff. And I, at this conference, had the heaviest murder scene period I've had in a while I had nothing. I had nothing I'd been very disciplined in the way I packed And so I didn't have any extraneous clothing. So I had to wash, leggings. I had to wash, uh, my jeans, which took days to dry, and of course my underwear. And then also, Somehow I got it on my shirt. I don't know. I felt like a, 13 year old, you know, I don't know. And it got on the outside of my pajamas, just a big splash. So I basically had things hanging all over the hotel room and then I was rinsing out the towels because I didn't wanna leave bloody towels Just, and then, so I called the front desk like, yeah, I called the front desk. I'm like, Hey. I'm having an emergency. And I explained it to her and she said, we don't have any, but I have some in my purse. And I was, I was like, oh my gosh. She said, want me to bring'em up? I'm like, no, I've, I've fashioned something with, with some things I haveStacy:
And then she said, do you want overnight or light day? I'm like, overnight. So I got two. They were still pretty thin cuz she's, you know, in her twenties. I'm like, these were not gonna. These were not really gonna last me. And I thought, oh, I'll go to the C v s. But then I was running around. I went to the next hotel, it got worse. I called downstairs and said, Hey, do you guys have anything? And they sent up an emergency bag. I cannot be the only woman. They had a little bag with a variety of different things in it. So they have a surprise. They have my period bag ready to.Stacy:
Was there? A little Hershey kiss in there? A little piece of chocolateMartha:
that's, what I would've added. Definitely. Definitely. So, that was, so I ended up basically wearing cashmere sweatpants for two days at the conference because I didn't have any dry pants to wear.Stacy:
know no one knew. They just thought I was casual. I was wearing myStacy:
Yeah, right. Yeah. Wow. She's really laid back.Martha:
She's like, oh, look at her. She's like, she's like a middle-aged lady rapper.Stacy:
Now are you getting the mood, the mood fluctuations and like the energy fluctuations?Martha:
N no. And so that, to go back to that, that is first of all, depression in the lead up to this is very common, and women get misdiagnosed all the time with just depression. They get given meds that don't help, and then, People, people get divorced. You know, women are raging and don't know what it's from. And maybe, you know, I, I wanna talk to you about this. So there's this, concept I'm calling Canary in the coal mine because everything I was taught was that. I was gonna get hot flashes and then my periods would become irregular and then stop, I might have insomnia. Those are the things then I would look old, right. And so the, the constellation of symptoms that I had, I did not recognize for years that I was entering into this. And so I imagine if someone is then their mid forties and starts to hate their husband, period. and have some other things that they don't recognize. Then you could maybe think it was your relationship, you.Stacy:
or screaming at your children and you think you've got bad kids. If there's no one to say, oh wait, this is a really common thing, this depression is a really common symptom, and the rage is a really common symptom, also the weeping and that it might come long before the hot flashes. I think that would help. And that's one of the reasons I'm talking about it, because mine of course, was my, I had. Clitoral atrophy. I didn't really have it, but I had, a change in sexual response. That was my, my indicator. And then I went on this research jag, found out about clitoral atrophy and freaked out and told my friends. It turned out that wasn't what the issue was. It is a freak out. It's like, what?Stacy:
What they should. That should be your gynecologist, should be mentioned every year. Fyi, there are hormonal causes, but there's also, your body is very, very efficient. It does not waste resources where it's not used. So if you're not using your clitoris, then you are facing,Stacy:
Gotta take it out for a spinMartha:
you gotta take out for spin. You got show a good time because it slowly will just kind of shrink and slowly all that peripheral circulation. your body will stop expanding the energy to to nourish it. If anyone had told me I would've been doingStacy:
This is a calling, like you need to tell the masses about this.Martha:
Well, we call it ca so that we can speak about it in mixed company and be really open about it. But yeah, so the ca learning about CA led to this and really alarmed me. But then when I looked back and examined, there were a number of symptoms that I had that no one had told me might be this. And if they had, maybe I could have dealt with some of them. so my canary in the coal mine turned out to be this sexual response. What was your canary in the coal mine? What was the thing that happened that made you realize, oh, I might, I might be going through this thing.Stacy:
You know what, this is an interesting thing. So I don't know, it wasn't until like just recently, so I had an app on my phone because we, we got married late. I had kids very late and so I spent my whole adult life trying to not get pregnant so that when I got married and got pregnant, I mean, when I was gonna try, I thought, oh, I'm gonna go off the pill and just get pregnant. You know, like you just have sex and get pregnant. So I started tracking. I use an app, I tracked, so I knew that my periods. Really regular. Cause once I had gone off the pill, like I had no idea if I was regular or regular, nothing. Cause I'd been on the pill forever. so I have this app. I get pregnant at 37, I get pregnant at 39. So like, I'm 40 years old. So I've been, and then I had a miscarriage in between. So from 36 till almost 40 I was pregnant and nursing. So I'm like 41, 42 years old and like everything is like going haywire and like that's when women start to go through things. But I thought, like you said, it's gonna be hot flashes and it's gonna be, I'm not gonna get my period. Well I haven't had a single hot flash at all and have been like the poster child for regularity until last year. My period was like five weeks instead of four, and then, so then I got it, and then same thing, five weeks instead of four, like spread out a little bit then August was my last period, so I didn't even have this like long drawn out irreg, you know, get it, not get it. I haven't had a period since August, and then I'm like, oh, well maybe, maybe it's the. Maybe it's happening, like maybe, and then I was like, I was getting these moods, like I was having pm s but it was worse than PMs. And then I was getting like crazy, like crazy to the point where like I, don't cook like I, I did. I just don't prefer it. I'll do it for survival. But I'm not a baker and I don't really cook. And then back in December, I'm driving home from church and I'm like, I want bread. and I just kept thinking, I want bread. I want bread, like a big like sour doughy thing. And so like I just drove home and then I'm just laying around. I'm just no energy, super low energy. I'm like, I'm gonna bake bread. It was like the weirdest thing. Like I don't, I've never baked bread in my life, so I Google a recipe, I'm like, well, I guess I'll bake bread. So now I'm like, I happen to have yeast who even knew that I had yeast, had flour. So now I'm doing this thing and I'm like, well, this fucking bird better be good because I, I like, I really want it now. And then I'm just like, then it was the most bizarre thing that I'm doing, this whole recipe. And then when I realized I had to put a blanket, like a towel over it and put it in theto in the fridge overnight. I'm, what the fuck is not even gonna be ready today. I was pissed. I was like, I want this bread. And it was like, that is just, if you know me, you know I don't cook, which is like, and, and Bill wakes up cuz he works nights and he is been sleeping all day. He wakes up and he, he's like, whatcha doing? I'm like, I'll bread. And he was like, what? Then the next day, like, it like got it Rose like it like it's supposed. Thank God. It turned out that it came out and was delicious and amazing and my son and I ate the entire loaf in like maybe two hours it was, but I was that crazy that I baked bread like that is so beyond my personality or whatever. But that was the kind of weird stuff for me, you know?Martha:
that's your canary inStacy:
it was, I bake, I was baking bread and then this, and then just the low energy like I have, um, I, I exercise every day. I, I have a high energy and I literally don't wanna do anything. Like, and I just would lay, I just would lay in bed and I'm laying there because everything was an effort and I really wanted to. but it was an effort. Like even crying was an effort. And that's not my nature. You know what I mean? That's not me normally. And then poof, it's over.Martha:
One of the things I think that's hard about that, about the depression and the low energy, so I've lost a lot of ambition, frankly, like I was a very ambitious person. I'm just not as ambitious anymore. But what I am finding as I'm talking to people, I think it's gonna be pretty hard. For those of us who are of a certain age, we're all, you and I are in the very close age group. and the women I'm talking to are kind of in this bubble of, of age, and we're, that means a lot of us are entering into this and entered into this during that three year pandemic. And I,Stacy:
I was chalking it up to that, like I was chalking it up to like And um, so yeah, so I thought that I just was, I thought I was chalking everything up. the pandemic. And I think a lot of people are, I don't think they realize, or women at our of our age that it's not the pandemic. And I remember was probably about seven years ago. I think it was the beginnings of it. I remember thinking, I'm gonna go to my doctor. Cause I was like, I'm gonna get on meds. Like I'm gonna get on meds. I think I should get on meds. And I had gone to my doctor and said, is there something you can give me for my p m s symptoms for the maybe 20 days a year that I felt really bad. And the only thing that he offered me was a prozay type of pill. And I was like, I don't wanna change my entire brain chemistry for like the 20 days that I don't feel good. So well, he goes, well, if you're having a rough day, take Xanax. And I was like, okay. So the next time I felt like I needed it. I don't know if you've ever taken Xanax. Okay. I took it and I fell asleep. I'm like, I can't drive a car on this. I, and I'm sure people take a therapeutic level, but I had never taken it, so it made me fall. And then I was like, well, I, this isn't gonna work. So there was literally nothing. There was no solution. And then this one, this last time he said, you're definitely starting. I'm like, you're some kind of lining. I don't even remember what he said. Do you know what that is?Martha:
Um, I. Yeah, it depends. But yes, as your estrogen declines, you will have less of a lining in your uterus. That's kind of why you stop having a period. Progesterone can also do that. So you can take progesterone in case you're having heavy periods, and that will help, um, reduce the lining. But ultimately you get to the point where you're, you're just not collecting blood and lining and your uterus need more, and that's why periods stop.Stacy:
Isn't it crazy that I don't even know these things that are happening to my body?,I don't even know. And I'm an educated person. Like I don't know these simple things, but he said to me, we were talking about libido and I said, I don't have as much interest, he goes, yeah, that's gonna happen. There's nothing you can do about it. And I'm like, what? Wait, you guys have Viagra? Like, can I have something? Like, there's nothing. And I was like, gee, whizz too bad.Martha:
It's, yeah. I mean, part of the, the whole thing, like I went on the hunt. for a doctor who specialized in menopause because of the sexual thing and cuz I was very motivated, I wanted to have a good time and I wanted to be responsive and right. And I wanted this relationship and I don't know that I would've found any solutions if I had just been going to my regular doctor because I mention it to them. And even my gynecologist, something came up and she said, oh, you know, well if, if that happened again, we would just, we just give you a hysterectomy. And I didn't react to what she had to say, but in my head I thought, thank God, thank God I have found additional healthcare support because a lot of my friends had hysterectomies prematurely they're surgeons, they're not endocrinologists, they're not hormone specialists, they are surgeons. So, you know, to a hammer, every problem looks like a nail to a surgeon. Every problem that you can fix with surgery. And so the solution, the instant solutions, we'll just take it. You don't need it. And my menopause doctor would never just off the cuff knowing nothing about my life or my plans suggest a hysterectomy for a non-pathological problem.Stacy:
Why don't we find the cause and address that instead of just masking symptoms? So taking out your uterus, is that gonna solve your problem?Martha:
Well, it would solve that problem cuz I have had fibroids in the past and they had a major surgery for my fibroids years ago, which by the way, Now I realize all of the stuff around that was perimenopause, but no one mentioned it to me. I was with the best surgeon in the country and no one ever said, oh yeah, this all is related to perimenopause. Oh, and the fact that you have heavy periods even after that related to perimenopause. No one ever said a word. The reason we need to get, have you taken iron and you're bleeding so much perimenopause. Right. What she was saying is, I said, I want an ultrasound just to make sure the, the fibroids haven't come. And she said, well, if they did, we would just give you a hysterectomy because I mean, it's a a much easier surgery. It's much less bloody. You don't need your uterus. And this is a very good doctor, and even a really good doctor was saying that, and I. I, you know what your uterus does? And by the way, many people have had to have hysterectomies for good reason, and some people have had them for no good reason because it's such an easy thing to recommend am some people want them. But your uterus holds all your stuff up,Stacy:
so it does have a purpose. Yeah, like a shelf My, my uterus has more purpose than just making babies. It turns out, and there are probably things we won't know for 10 or 20 more years because they don't study us closely enough, but there are indicators that your uterus does things that, that it helps release certain hormones and certain things that support you through this. That someone just yank it out cuz it's easy and it's covered by insurance with basically no argument is upsetting to me. And so I sat in that room liking her for a lot of reasons, and also thinking, oh my God, this is why I have a podcast. Because even though I'm like, yuck, yuck, yuck, Hardy, hard, hard, like it's a comedy podcast. I do also want to be able to provide another outlet for women to learn things and learn from each other because. several of my friends who had hysterectomies, it was because they had heavy periods and their doctor said, well, we can just take it out. And they had them. And now when we talk, they say, I can't believe that my doctor ordered a hysterectomy when I could have just taken progesterone. I could have gotten an i u. that progesterone would have reduced my bleeding and made my boobs stop hurting, cuz a lot in the house I had like serious breast pain from the estrogen level. So the fact that they went in complaining of breast pain and heavy bleeding for that to be just remove you the uterus instead of saying, oh, we have to balance out your progesterone with your estrogen. You're obviously a high estrogen is insane.Stacy:
Yep. And I think if we don't know to advocate for ourselves, cause we don't even know those other options. We're not talking about it. And so I'm hoping Martha, with your podcast and raising awareness that more women will talk cuz there's things I don't even know that are gonna happen to me, or the fact that I didn't get a hot flash and up until like three months ago, I was still getting a period. I didn't realize I was in it. I feel like it's really important because it's this taboo subject, at least in my mind, it's this taboo subject that no, because nobody I know is talking about it.Martha:
I mean, it's, well, it's, it's taboo. People are talking about it privately. Some people are talking about it widely. And of course now I've plugged myself in the algorithms surfing up every, everyone who wants to talk about their vagina is like showing up in my feed. right? So, so my worldview has shifted, but it's one-on-one and it's with friends or girlfriends. And even in groups, I have three Group chats in my life that are girlfriends from different stages in life. And even in those, I know that some people are suffering and not talking, even if we're being open and joking but I definitely feel. Like we are restricted and not talking about it. Maybe cuz it's sexually related. Maybe because we live in a youth culture where youth is so valued. You don't wanna tip anyone off. Like, I'm single. Do I want men to know that I, you know, I'm not having this one. But when I have vaginal dryness, am I gonna wanna talk about that in public? How about itchy? Itchy vagina? Which apparently is a very common symptom. So all of these things, there are reasons why you don't wanna talk about it. I'm like very open. Listen, if I, I'm pretty sure if I went up to one of those 32 year olds I'm older and I need someone to scratch my vagina with their young penis. That yeah, I'm sure you could find they could use their fingers, they could do whatever they needed. I, in fact, I am not picky. They can use whatever they want, but, um, so I think that there are reasons cuz you can't unlink it from sex. And sex is taboo. In our culture, aging is kind of taboo In our culture, mental illness is kind of taboo. These are things that are start, people start to talk about, but they didn't talk about before. So I think that's why it's such a thing.Stacy:
and I would think with the, it's funny about the sex being taboo part. It's that everything, if you look at like TV or ads or movies or whatever, they're using sex for everything there. But yet over here, it's not the thing. And I feel like for people who have. Had a healthy sex life after you've been married a while, it's super comfortable and it's fun and all of a sudden now there's like no interest. And I I want that part back. Like where'd it go and how do I get it back? And that is really something that sucks.Martha:
come back? Can we talk it is definitely a thing. Before we end, I do wanna you of the things the things that have changed that you're actually kind of happy about? The things that haveStacy:
I mean I do like the not getting a period part so that's one good thing. What's your thing?Martha:
Um, the kind of the it don't give a fuck stuff.Stacy:
more, I don't give a fuck than I used to be because I think I was so ambitious before. And so wanting to be a good brand representation for other people, that there were things I didn't do cuz they just weren't becoming. Now I, listen, I did a lot of things that people would think aren't becoming, and people who know me would say, what, what didn't you do? Cuz we've seen what you've done. right Right, But the, there's a level of, there's just something, and I don't, I can't even put my finger on it, but it's shifted and I thought it was just the pandemic, right? Because we, we were all gonna die and then we lived. But I, I actually now recognize it's kind of the shift in, in me, and I'm happy. So I Also on a mission, my P s A track periods for a while and they say, oh, maybe I'm in menopause. And they don't know. the date of their last period and then they don't know what day. Cuz menopause is just one day. your perimenopause and then your postmenopausal menopause is just the day, that is one year since your last period. So um, track it so they know whenStacy:
app right now. I'm gonna tell you when. If I didn't have an app, it says I'm 148. Days late. I should have gotten a period I'm a little late. I'm either pregnant or I'm inMartha:
right. Right, right. So, um, that you, cuz I want, I don't wanna lose that because a lot of my friends preferences in their life in different stages. You guys got married, but you also got married later and I think for a woman to be. married a long time, and, and their relationship is one where they're like, if he doesn't really wanna, I don't really wanna do it anymore. I, I, I'm glad to be past that. I'm, I wanna be Grandma Moses and focus my attention. I, on the other hand, had all that celibacy and kind of felt like ripped vag Winkle. Like I woke up at 50 and I hadn't had sex and. Almost a decade. And I don't, I don't wanna have missed out on great sex. And so I'm still like, I, like if we, this is the Golden Girls, I'm Blanche like out hot to trot, trying to find a man except I'm not really trying to find a man. I just really wanna have a healthy sex life.Stacy:
Right, right, right.Martha:
a man for that kind of, but, um, it's, it's a, it's a different, it's like a very self-serving desire.Stacy:
So I was a little nervous. I thought you were gonna ask me to actually talk about my vagina. So thank you for not doing that.Martha:
You know what? I really that into the guest email that I never sent you and say, Hey, your vagina.Stacy:
yes, But you know, who knows? I'm so comfortable. Maybe next time,Martha:
Who knows? Listen, we're only talking about my vagina. It's my, my vagina's the star.Stacy:
I have oneMartha:
Okay, well oc listen, I can make this competition. You'll come on and you'll spill all the vagina details. SoStacy:
I don't know. You'll totally winMartha: