Tevia’s Perimenopause: Welcoming Change & Self Care

By Christina Hanna, MPH, CHES • Published 5/6/2024

headshot of Tevia, a Versalie Ambassador going through perimenopause

The Versalie Ambassadors are a group of everyday people who are currently experiencing the ups and downs of the menopausal transition. They’ve been working with us to help build Versalie. Their experience and insights help us test our ideas, learn, and improve what we're creating. Their stories have the power to create real change.

We hope you see yourself in their stories — their symptoms, their highs and lows — and find that you’re not alone in this beautiful (but sometimes chaotic) phase of life.

Versalie Ambassador – Tevia, 44

Perimenopause, started at age 41

7+ symptoms, including itchy and dry skin, achy joints, hot flashes, anxious feelings, irritability, and trouble sleeping

When and how did you first realize you were in perimenopause?

I decided to become a mother later in life and had my daughter at 39. After breastfeeding for a year, I noticed those “weird pregnancy symptoms” never really went away including the “baby weight”. I have also noticed the days of my cycle are getting longer. I have always been that girl whose cycles came every 28 days, now my body is just wigging out!

Overall, I have experienced a number of symptoms — the itchy dry skin, the aching of the joints, the anxiety, as well as the hot flashes. After a Google search, I found out online that itchy skin was a symptom of menopause. I thought it was odd, because in my mind when I think of “menopause”, I am thinking of someone ages 50 and beyond. Menopause has nothing to do with me at age 41! Then I discovered the different stages of menopause, and I realized I could be perimenopausal (insert my face in shock).

You mentioned a few of your symptoms. Can you talk more about them and how they’ve affected you?

At the age of 44, I am a full-time wife, mother and employee. I feel like I live in overdrive! I find myself physically run down as well as mentally exhausted on most days. I just hold my head up, power through it, and pray at the end of the night that I get some sleep. However, it seems like my worse days are when my insomnia shows up unannounced. I find myself awake for hours playing on my cell phone or simply staring into space at 3:00 AM.

Next up is the anxiety and irritability. I honestly do not feel like myself. My personality is changing. I am usually the “happy bubbly” person in the room but during the week of my cycle, I can become a snapping turtle!

selfie of Tevia, a Versalie Ambassador, who is navigating the ups and downs of perimenopause

What have you tried to do so far to manage your symptoms? Is there anything you’d like to try?

I have tried diet and exercise to manage my symptoms and would love to try herbal supplements to help me manage my hot flashes, mood swings, and when I have trouble sleeping.

Have you talked to a medical professional about your perimenopause symptoms? How’d that go?

About a year after giving birth to my daughter, I saw my gynecologist to discuss my menopausal symptoms. She felt that I might be entering the “premenopausal stage”. My doctor provided me with an oral medication to help with weight loss hoping that once I lost some of the “baby weight” my symptoms would “level out”. If my symptoms continued or became worse, she would request for me to have blood tests performed to help determine where I am in the menopause process. 

Did anyone talk about menopause growing up? Did anyone talk to you about menopause before it happened?

We tell young girls about their periods, but no one EVER told me about menopause. Why wasn’t this topic covered in sexual education? Where is the Menopause Manual? Lol. I was totally caught off guard! The women in my family are more traditional and private about their experiences. Sadly, I saw a lot of them suffer in silence. Thank goodness it's 2024 and we have menopause specialists as well as the internet.

Tevia, a Versalie Ambassador, discusses the taboo of menopause and how we should be changing that

What role have your family, friends, and partner played in your menopause journey? Have you seen any changes in those relationships?

I discuss menopause with my friends all the time! As we age, we are now more open with our conversations and share our stories about what we are experiencing. Some of my friends are in the early stages of menopause and are surprised with their symptoms while others are done with their menopause journey and jumping for joy! These women all have different experiences, and we all support each other. Being more vocal about what I am experiencing has helped strengthen my relationship with my family and friends. It helps when people understand what you are going through and can provide you with the support you need.

What I wish I knew: What would you tell your younger self about menopause if you could go back in time?

I would have never imagined having perimenopausal symptoms in my early 40s! I wish I had known about the different stages of menopause as well as the approximate age I would start to experience symptoms.

Are there any misconceptions, myths, or stigmas about menopause that you want to debunk or clarify?

Women going through menopause have been labeled as “crazy” for years. We, as women, need to be more vocal about our symptoms and I want men to understand what we are going through. It is no longer a joke. Women have real challenges and big changes during menopause. I want people to be more sympathetic.

Illustration by Naomi Likayi of Tevia’s perimenopause experience

What advice would you give to others starting or going through the menopausal transition?

It is important to pay attention to your menopausal symptoms, document those symptoms, talk with your doctor, and be an advocate for yourself. You will survive. You are not alone.

What's an unexpected improvement in life now, as you’re aging and going through perimenopause?

An unexpected improvement in my life right now has to be how I view my personal health. Now that I know I am experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, I can handle my moods and emotions better. I know when I start to get overwhelmed with stress and my body starts to go haywire. I know when it is time for me to slow down and start to implement more “self-care” into my schedule.

I have also learned to say “no”. Before I would agree to anything and everything from others and have excessively too many tasks on my plate. Now I simply weigh out my options. I decide what is best for me and decline those tasks/events that I feel have no value. My “balanced life” is more important to me now than anything, which means sometimes an evening on the sofa watching my favorite movie is more beneficial to me than going out to dinner with friends. I have learned to be more vocal and open about what is physically going on with me so that people understand and do not judge me.

Why did you want to become a Versalie Ambassador?

I wanted to become a Versalie Ambassador to learn more about menopause. I wanted to represent women of color and share my personal story. I also want to be a role model for my daughter. My goal is to educate her about menopause and teach her how to manage her symptoms in the future.

This has been such a unique opportunity for me, and I am extremely grateful for the other women I have met along my menopause journey. I am excited to see the impact Versalie will make, and I am honored to play a part in it.

Tevia feels proud to be a Versalie Ambassador and be able to help others and share her personal experiences

What’s your favorite part about being an Ambassador?

I am honored to represent the Versalie brand and to have been selected as an Ambassador. The Versalie journey has been nothing short of amazing! I meet women all the time that are experiencing different stages of menopause and it still shocks me how there are slim to no conversations being had about the topic. Versalie is such a unique website that is built for and by women. I love being able to educate and help others with the details of the website and its features as well as share my own personal experiences.

The cherry on top has been meeting the other Ambassadors. We are all so different (age, race, location, etc.) but have one thing in common…MENOPAUSE! I instantly connected with each of the women I met. It was so refreshing to be able to openly share my own personal journey with others as well as hear their stories. 

What’s the biggest change you’ve made since joining as an Ambassador?

Since becoming a Versalie Ambassador, I have learned to put myself first. Taking care of “me” helps to control my perimenopause symptoms. For example, I recently decided to join the gym to help lose weight. I even went a step further and obtained a personal trainer that I see once a week to help me meet my goals. Working out and eating right helps me to control my stress levels, quality of sleep, and hot flashes. I also get massages once a month and implement “rest days” on my calendar to relax and decompress.

What’s one thing you’ve learned about menopause that you think is critical to share with others?

The one thing that I learned about menopause that I want to share with others is that the transition lasts much longer than most people expect. Women should consider the factors that affect how long menopause last depending on your race and ethnicity.

Last Updated 5/6/2024

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