Our Alternative Midlife Glossary

A close up of some hands holding an open book against the backdrop of a field.

The words we use to talk about menopause and the related symptoms often have negative connotations, and can actually make us feel worse about our experience because of the stigma associated with terms like “hot flush”.  Here we've collated some common, and also some alternative terms that we can use to empower (and also talk in code!)


Brain fog – this is how we describe the cognitive challenges of menopause.  Also called cog fog (which is quite pleasing to say) it really does explain how it's like a thick fog descends on our thought processes, often out of nowhere.  See also: Mentalpause.

Flash period – as the name suggests, like a flash flood, this is a period that sneaks up on you.  Many women experience these after several months of no bleeding and they can be a bit of surprise, especially if you thought it was safe to wear white. 

Herring sweats – when we try to blame a hot flush on a certain food, the weather, or literally any red herring to avoid admitting it's the menopause.

Internal furnace – a way to describe a hot flush, as it's a bit like a fire being stoked inside.  See also: Power surge and Private summer.

Mentalpause – the experience of brain fog, especially when it strikes mid-sentence and it's like someone hit the pause button.

Mojo – we love this term as a way to refer to our sex drive as well as our general energy levels – it's the “mo” in our name!  With menopause often seen as an ending, we think it's important to boost our mojo to keep us winning well into the next phase of life.

Nightcrawlers – the sweaty, itchy feeling that strikes at night and keeps us awake, or wakes us up midway through a decent sleep.

Oops moment – popularised by Tena as a euphemism for incontinence, this describes a momentary lapse of the pelvic floor muscles in response to sneezing, laughing, weight bearing or anything that initiates a urine leak.  See also: Trampoline ban

Ovarian retirement – sadly we don't get an extra pension for each ovary, but that's effectively what they are doing; our ovaries are downing tools and going to the metaphorical garden centre and we can't wait to join them!

Power surge – another term for hot flush. You’re not hot, you’re simply surging with power!

Private summer – another term for hot flush. Essentially experiencing a Summer all to yourself!

Reverse puberty – given that our hormone levels drop and we stop menstruating, reverse puberty is a great way to describe menopause.  Although puberty may be a distant memory, we can all certainly remember the mood swings, the confusing feelings, and the struggle to adapt to our changing bodies.  At least this time around, we're older and hopefully wiser!

Second spring – we love this positive term as another way of making this next phase of life something to look forward to, rather than something that implies we're on the scrapheap.

Super soaker event – coined by gynaecologist Dr Jen Hunter, this refers to the heavy bleeding that some women experience as their cycles become erratic.  It can happen even if your regular cycle was light, and some women find they bleed through pads and tampons in a very short amount of time.  This term can also be used to describe intense night sweats.

Trampoline ban – this is a way to describe incontinence without saying the word in public, or around easily-embarrassed teenage children.  While we long for a day when the taboo is totally broken around menopause and childbirth related incontinence, it's a topic that often inspires blushes and sniggers.  This term is understood by those in the know, but won't tip off any eavesdroppers.


We hope this has given you a good laugh (and apologies for any oops moments we may have inadvertently caused!) and some new ways to talk about menopause that put the power and the humour back in our hands.  If you've got alternative names for menopause and symptoms we'd love to hear them.

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