Peri-menopause and Menopause

Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 09:42 am
I want a general thread on the subject where people can discuss these stages.

I hesitate to call the effects on women's bodies 'symptoms' because that implies disease, but I can't think of a better word. The following are all reactions women I know have experienced with menopause:

Feeling emotional
Feeling anxious
Anxiety attacks
Feeling stressed out
Hot flashes
Irregular menstruation
Dry skin
Dry eye
Loss of muscle tone
Weight gain
Weight loss
Am I missing any?

Reputably helpful remedies:
Progesterone cream
Black Cohosh
Soy products
Anything else?

Between hot flashes, is there often a period of unusual coldness?
What are the major differences between peri- and full-on menopause?
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Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 09:47 am
peri-menopause is everything leading up to full on menopause which, according to my gynie, doesn't mean cessation of menses but cessation of producing hormones. That can be a year, or more, after the final period.

We say someone is "going through menopause" when in reality it's going toward menopause via peri-menopause until it's a done deal.
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 10:22 am
Now I'm interested in the etymology: 1872, from Fr. ménopause, from Gk. men (gen. menos) "month" + pausis "a cessation, a pause," from pauein "to cause to cease."
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 10:39 am
I think we have two regularly used definitions. The one most people use in routine discussion and the one used by medical folks in their "diagnosis". I don't think that's a good word in the same vein as "symptom" relating to a disease.

From wiki
Menopause is a term used to describe the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries: the ripening and release of ova and the release of hormones that cause both the creation of the uterine lining and the subsequent shedding of the uterine lining (a.k.a. the menses). Menopause typically (but not always) occurs in women in midlife, during their late 40s or early 50s, and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman's life.

The word "menopause" literally means the "end of monthly cycles" from the Greek word pausis (cessation) and the root men- (month), because the word "menopause" was created to describe this change in human females, where the end of fertility is traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of monthly menstruation or menses. However, menopause also exists in some other animals, many of which do not have monthly menstruation[1]; in this case, the term is synonymous with "end of fertility". Source
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Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 12:28 pm
littlek wrote:

Am I missing any?

Night sweats
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Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 12:34 pm
* Hot flashes, night sweats, coldness
* Irregular periods that can be heavy, light, shorter or longer cycles
* Difficulty sleeping either getting to sleep or staying asleep
* Mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability
* Heart palpitations (if you experience any heart disturbances, consult a physician)
* Dry skin and/or hair loss
* Loss of or decreased sexual desire
* Vaginal dryness
* Incontinence -- the inability to hold your urine

Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 05:00 pm
Listening. Symptoms are actually better now than they had been, but I suspect that's also due to there being less weight on the bones. But definitely dry skin, dry mouth, that sorta thing.
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Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 05:20 pm
Unusual anger
those hot flashes that come with anxiety, nervousness
increased sexual desire
Sweating red face, anytime, anywhere
Helpful: Vitamin A, B,E., exercise, eat healthy and don't gain weight (I didn't)

Believe me, it's a test in just being a woman. You'll emerge from it smarter and more in control. Hopefully, you'll learn much about patience.

There are two positions in Yoga exercises called The Triangle. Very, very helpful. All our muscles need stretching. Yoga is good, period.
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Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 08:00 pm
Yoga! I dropped yoga years ago and have been trying to get myself to start doing it again......
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Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 09:11 pm
* Incontinence -- the inability to hold your urine

Does this happen to every woman? Is it caused or made worse by childbirth?

Do some women sail thru this period without any symptoms at all?
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 04:10 am
I thought this was interesting:
Do all women experience menopause in the same way?

There are many possible signs of menopause and each woman feels them differently. Most women have no or few menopausal symptoms while some women have many moderate or severe symptoms
Menopause experiences are different among individual women, and also among women in different cultures and in different parts of the world.

Research has shown that women’s experience of menopause can be related to many things, including genetics, diet, lifestyle and social and cultural attitudes toward older women.

For example:

Japanese women report fewer hot flashes and other symptoms.
Thai women record a high incidence of headaches.
Scottish women record fewer severe symptoms.
Greek women report a high rate of hot flashes.
Mayan women report no symptoms.

Some scholars wonder if the North American emphasis on youth and lack of respect for older people contributes to a more difficult menopausal transition here.

The typical North American diet, high in saturated fats and sugars, along with our in-active lifestyle and low childbirth rate, may also contribute to the physical complaints common to many North American women at menopause.

The article in its entirety is here:http://www.cwhn.ca/node/40801

JTT asked:
Incontinence -- the inability to hold your urine

Does this happen to every woman? Is it caused or made worse by childbirth?

It hasn't happened to me - but I only gave birth to one child.
I think it might be an ancillary or possible effect from how many children a woman carries and delivers, as there is quite a lot of stress on the bladder (by the growing fetus) during and/or with each pregnancy.

In terms of sailing through without symptoms - I think that's happening to me - except for the irrational anger part.-but it's hard to tell because I've always been quite expressive of my emotions -including anger- and for a couple of years I broke quite a lot of plates and things - but it was at the same time that my son was a teenager and putting me through a lot of worry.

I wouldn't hit HIM when I found pot in his room or in my car - but if I was in the kitchen - any dish within my reach ended up broken - even teacups with the tea still in them. I can't tell you how many time (during this period) I was wiping tea off the ceiling and walls and I kept asking myself, 'What the heck is going on with you?' as I cleaned up the mess I made. I'd never been THAT bad before.

Then suddenly it was all gone - that urge to break things and scream. And even though my daughter is the teenager now and doing the same sort of stuff - I'm cool as a cucumber.

I said to their father - who's in the medical profession - 'You should have TOLD me that I wasn't going permanently insane and it was just a stage!'

Because I wasn't/didn't/have never experienced any of the other symptoms - I had no idea - I just thought I wasn't a good mother to teenagers or something.

But I think it does have to do with diet, exercise and general health-maybe. My sister who's three years younger than me and is overweight and smokes and doesn't exercise is having a hell of a time.
But her menstrual cycle has always been a little whacky - whereas mine was like clockwork....maybe that indicates a tendency to experience hormonal shifts less easily. Maybe that plays a part too.

Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 09:34 am
There are apparently 35 symptoms of peri-menopause that one could have:


The 35 Symptoms of Menopause

This list of common symptoms that occur during perimenopause and menopause was developed from the real-life experiences of hundreds of women. All symptoms were experienced by numerous women and were either cyclical in nature, or responded to treatments (both traditional and alternative) known to address hormonal imbalances.

Click HERE for the credits to the women who developed this list.

Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling (see note)
Irregular heart beat
Mood swings, sudden tears
Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
Loss of libido (see note)
Dry vagina (see note)
Crashing fatigue
Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom (see note)
Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
Disturbing memory lapses
Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence (see note)
Itchy, crawly skin (see note)
Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons (see note)
Increased tension in muscles
Breast tenderness
Headache change: increase or decrease
Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
Sudden bouts of bloat
Depression (see note)
Exacerbation of existing conditions
Increase in allergies
Weight gain (see note)
Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
Changes in body odor
Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head (see note)
Tingling in the extremities (see note)
Gum problems, increased bleeding
Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
Osteoporosis (after several years)
Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, 'whooshing,' buzzing etc. (see note)
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 09:57 am

I have most of those symptoms right now.

thank you Mame, at least now I know what is wrong with me...

How long before it passes?
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 11:47 am
Never, you poor sod.
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Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 04:44 pm
Mame - have many of those over the last few years. The most extreme are hot/cold flashes and increased anxiety/stress. Sort of major are weird allergies and nausea.
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 05:39 pm
I had/have about 9 of them - most major are the hot flashes - I'll just be sitting there, nice and comfortable, then all of a sudden, I'm HOT. Inside and out. Just a heatilator! Ugh. It's bearable, but man, it's not nice. Sheet's off, then on, fan's off, then on, windows open, then shut... yuck.

Apparently, according to some friends, some stuff stays... like I have a memory now like a sieve and that might last Sad If I don't write it down, it didn't happen. I don't remember anything. Even when I go upstairs to get something, I get there and forget what I was going to get. It's a 1 minute walk, for Pete's sake. That's bad and it's also scary. I might be an Alzheimer's candidate.
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 05:54 pm
Everyone forgets things they go to another room for.
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 06:04 pm
No, they don't! Alex doesn't, Kelly didn't, my younger sisters still have all synapses working Smile
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Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 06:04 pm
Names. I can't remember people's names. I can be in the middle of a conversation with someone I know well and suddenly forget their name. It used to bother me, but I've stopped apologizing and now say that I'm happy I remember my own name.
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 06:14 pm
Me, too. I used to have a memory like an elephant but now it's pathetic. And inconvenient.

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