Monday, June 16, 2014

The truth about the menopause

Do you really want to know the truth?

The menopause is a bit like childbirth, but without the possibility of a baby once you're done    Some sail through it with no symptoms and no problems.  Some stoical women just get on with life.  Some are saved by HRT.  Some swear by this potion, or that regime.  The rest of us just drink wine.  Even though we know it makes our symptoms worse.

Let me tell you a bit about my experience..

For me the menopause began eight long years ago.  Yes, eight.  So much for all those comforting articles saying that symptoms usually last for 2-3 years and some people don't notice any at all.  My mother was one of those lucky ladies and I stupidly assumed that I would be the same.

Possible Symptoms


(These are just mine, I'm sure there are many, many more.  One of my friends just blames everything on the menopause.  It's easier that way)

...Severe headaches

...Aching joints

...Night sweats

...Exhaustion

...Confusion

...Irritability

...Anxiety

...Depression

...Memory Loss

...Wrinkles

...Weight Gain

...The Hot Flash.  Queen of all the symptoms.

They will remind you of labour contractions, as they build like a wave...

1. You start to feel irritable.

2. Your ailments become ten times worse.

3. You begin to feel dizzy.

4. You have to stop or slow what you are doing.

5.  You can't think, you just have to try and breathe through it.

6. You start to heat up, it prickles and burns.  Then you start to sweat.  A scarlet flush may creep up from your chest.

7. Just when you think you can't take any more, it all fades away.  Until the next one.  Which might be 10 minutes later.

The pluses


It took me a long time to think of these...

...Bigger boobs (whether you want them or not!)

...No more periods.

...A final farewell to spot cream.

...No more fiddling around with bits of rubber.  Or whatever it is you use.  Except you can't do that immediately, or you could end up with a 'change of life' baby.  It does happen apparently.

...You can do as you please, and dress as you like.  Believe me, unless you're Sharon Stone no-one will care any more (with the possible exception of any kids you may have), and there's a certain freedom in that.  Time to embrace your inner eccentric!

What you can do


Well I tried everything.  HRT was wonderful, but did not agree with me.  I spent a small fortune on fancy supplements and special foods, none of which made any difference at all.  In desperation I even bought a 'magic' magnet that you put in your knickers....what was I thinking?



What does help


HRT: a miracle for some.

Exercise: even though you won't feel much like it.

A healthy diet: sounds boring, but you'll probably want to eat more healthily - munch on a burger and it will sit like a rock in your stomach, weighing you down and making you feel worse.

Friends: more important than ever.

Laughter: check out this fab page from Cate P and laugh at it all.

A little of what you fancy: whether that's wine, chocolate or crochet.  Anything to keep sane and provide a little distraction.

The great outdoors: perhaps that is why gardening is so popular with older women?  More than ever I crave fresh air and sunshine.

Antidepressants: Sometimes these really do make a difference.

There are many people who harp on about the menopause being natural.  So are lots of other horrible things: it doesn't mean that we have to put up with them.  

And the final truth about the menopause?  Just like childbirth, every woman's experience is different. Hopefully yours will be easy.


18 comments:

  1. Oh my word, it is bloody awful. All I can say is, YAY for HRT! Sorry that it didn't agree with you.

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  2. I was thinking of covering this same topic on my blog! Girl, I think we are kindred sisters!! Hot flashes are my most pronounced symptom only I have hot floods! I am just ALWAYS hot. It stinks. Especially in the summer. If I could, I would hibernate in the basement from May to September ... oh wait, my craft room is down there, maybe I just want to escape! :-)

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    1. Oh you should cover it! There's still this stupid silence about it, and the more of us who write about it the better ..

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  3. Yay for no periods. Hopefully I have a bit of time before this but I know from other women in my family that it wasn't easy....will get wine-drinking practice in just to be ready!!!!

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  4. I'm definitely pre-menopausal. I only say pre because I am still getting my periods although many of the other symptoms you listed also come visiting. Thanks for your honest account - I'll look forward to the full effect soonest. :)

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  5. I am in my 59th year perhaps I am one of the lucky ones but the menopause was not that bad. Having had years of misery with heavy and painful periods the fact that I was no longer getting them was a bonus in itself. Sure I went through the irritability stage (but then I used to every month anyway), yes I still get hot flushes but it can be a bonus in winter! Some of my friends swear by HRT but I have never felt the need for it. I lead a very busy and active life, helping care for my Granddaughter who has additional needs, plus working at a SN Nursery and I can honestly say that life is good. It is great to be able to do things without having to worry about heavy periods and the pain that went with them.
    I have even taken up running and hope to run 5k which is something I never had the energy for before. I am very intrigued by knicker magnets did you have to avoid getting to close to the fridge door lol !

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    1. I'm hoping that my energy will return when I come out the other side - good to hear that all is going well for you now.

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  6. I want to know about the magnets...

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  7. The magnet thing really really really made me laugh...I have to google this now! Thank you for making me laugh...and maybe worry a little? I'll just go stock up on chocolate and wait for my own show to begin-or end...:)

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  8. Wasn't there someone famous who said they wear a magnet in their knickers? Can't remember who it was now. Anyway, great post. I'm perimenopausal, and waiting for the full onslaught, I have lots of symptoms but my method of trying to ignore them isn't working. I'm going to have to try something else.

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    1. Good luck, looking forward to reading about what works for you :)

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  9. My mum had really heavy painful periods - she was overjoyed to go through the menopause! She didn't have too much trouble though. She did get REALLY irritable, but after ranting at the doctor he sent her for blood tests and discovered a low thyroid problem. Which can apparently go hand in hand with that stage in life (along with tiredness and thick, dry skin). As soon as she started the medication she was a million times better, lost weight, and got so much energy back. Not many women know irritability is a symptom of low thyroid, or even that it's common in middle-age women, but definitely worth the test as it has improved not just her life, but the whole family's!

    She did use to joke however, that if myself or my sister came to stay for a while she would pick up on our hormones and periods would start up again, so she now has to keep some sanitary items around in case we come to stay!

    My mother in law has just started her menopause. She's not dealing well with getting older, and this isn't helping. She's got so many raging hormones that after one day of being in her company I had PMT (despite being on a pill that means I don't have periods). We're trying to broach the subject with her, and get her to see the good side of it. Hopefully if more people talk about it like this then women will realise it's just a part of life, not the end of it!

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    1. That's the thing - the first of my friends to go through it never mentioned it ONCE until afterwards! It really is one of the last taboos, which is annoying because I could do with more information and definitely more laughter :)

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