Thursday, March 3, 2011

That Dreaded Word...Menopause

So, before I start on the subject of Menopause I should tell you a little pet peeve of mine. I hate labels. I hate being diagnosed. And most of all I hate going to the doctors. Why does all that bother me? I don't know. Maybe it started when I was a kid and had to have multiple skin graphing surgeries. When you grow up  scarred or deformed in some way, no matter how minor, you get tired of having to explain to people what happened and why. You get tired of giving them the technical term and seeing the pity/horror on their faces. I'm just me. My scars don't make me who I am. They're just another part of me. They're no different than my eyes or my fingernails.

So, lately, I've been contemplating going to my doctor because I suspect I've started going through menopause. The hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, fluctuations in weight, it's all there and then some. I dread going to the doctor though. I dread hearing her tell me that I'm going through menopause. And not just because doctors make me break out in a cold sweat, but because once she labels me I'm going to feel every bit my age. I'm going to feel labeled. That bothers me.

Let me clear something up though. I'm not concerned about being 43 necessarily. I'm happy with where I'm at in my life. I'm happy with the things I've accomplished. You couldn't pay me to be in my twenties again, lol! I was a mess in my twenties. :P

So, yes, I'm truly excited about where my life is headed. I don't wish to be younger than what I am. But, again, slapping that menopause label on me makes me want to just sit and cry. It's mind over matter and I know that. I guess it just upsets me because it feels like I'm no longer on the uphill climb, but more the downhill slide. Does that make sense? I think I'm rambling. LOL I don't know, it's like my youth is now a thing of the past.

Still, burying my head in the sand will not take care of these hot flashes and mood swings. Only researching and exploring my different options can do that. I'm trying to look at this like any other project. The more I know about it, the more I can help my daughters when they hit this age. The easier it'll be on the both of us.

So, I turn to you ladies. Have you been where I'm at? Did you dread it? Got any good tips on getting through it? I'm all eyes! :)


Tess MacKall said...

43 is a little young to be pre-menopausal--although it does happen. So yes, see your doc. But I doubt it's the onset of menopause.

But just in case it is????

Go to Wal-Mart and invest in a lot of fans. I have one for every room in my house. It's the only way you'll survive, honey.

Oh and btw...I've been doing mennypaws commando style--no meds. Refuse to take them. And, it's been going on for several years now. Sometimes it can take up to fifteen years to finish up with it. Very encouraging, isn't it? LOL

Good luck, Anne. And trust me. You'll be happy that month you wake up and the red flow does not arrive. It's the ONLY perk of mennypaws. LOL

Marie Dees said...

I've discovered I'm part of a forgotten knowledge generation when it comes to menopause. I'm right on the edge of 50. But my mother had a hysterectomy and didn't go through a natural menopause. I've discovered the same happened with many women of my generation. So, I've no real idea of when menopause starts for the women in my family or even how to recognize symptoms other than what I've read. It's great to see the subject discussed!

Harlie Williams said...

I've been battling this for a couple of years now and I'm only 44 years old. My doctor and I have been working on this for the last year and a half and its not getting any better. I was told years ago that since my mom went through menopause twice that I would too. Well, so far I'm just showing the signs.

In a couple of weeks, I will have to go back and have BC put in the control most it. I'm a little sad because hubby and I have been trying to have another child and it looks like it won't happen. On the plus side, most of my symptoms will go away.......for the time being.

Good luck and I would invest in fans, too.

Regina Carlysle said...

I began menopause very young, Anne. Right around your age. My dr. said it wasn't menopause but he was mistaken. Women in my family tend to start young so it's very much a matter of genetics. Went on for ten years until I finally finished. Like Tess, I didn't do meds but just toughed it out. Black Cohosh (cheap and comes in huge bottles) helped me during the worst of the hot flashes and I tended to carry a small dish towel with me at all times. Keep fans everywhere. I like the small, cheap ones you can get at walmart for about ten bucks and set them up to blow right on my face. Summertime is worse, so be prepared for misery. Felt like a dang sweat-bucket just about every day.

Anne Rainey said...

From all I've read it seeems it's normal to deal with perimenopause in your forties, but maybe I'm looking on the wrong sites.

Yeah, I'm going to check with my doctor, for sure. :)

One thing I'm tired of reading is that you'll follow a similar pattern as your mother (I just ran along a medical site that stated that). That's never been true for me. I've never had the same type of cycle as my mom. Never. Nor have I had similar pregnancies/deliveries either. Her cycle and pregnancies were much MUCH worse. Menopause for her was a huge blessing!

I aslo remember her saying she didn't have a lot of the hot flashes either. I'm waking up wet with sweat and it's getting REALLY annoying!

Anne Rainey said...

Regina--You and Tess are tough cookies, for sure!

I'm still in the exploring stages really. I'm not going to suffer if I don't have to, but I'm looking less at prescription meds and more at herbal remedies.

Evie Balos said...

Hi Anne,

My mom's menopause came early too, but like Tess said, it's good to get a diagnosis. I wouldn't feel labeled if I were you. If it is menopause, it's just a natural stage in a woman's life.

As for negative social labels, I detest those too. I think the most common one is "divorced". Even with such a high divorce rate, the word carries a load of stigma. The way I see it, I was married once,and now I'm happily single. I removed that label from my forehead a long time ago.

And I feel so much better.


Mary said...

Those symptoms could be caused by something besides menopause. Please get them checked out. I started going through it in my thirties. I had a hyst at thirty eight and was never so glad to get that over with.
I ask my doctor if he could leave my ovaries so I wouldn't have to take meds. He said that they had joined the other team and had to come out LOL. I had all the symptoms as anyone else has going through menopause. Yes I slept with a fan and a jug of ice water. I took Hormone replacement meds - and still do thirty odd years later. I haven't had one problem from them. I have had friends that went through "the change" just fine without them. Just do what is right for YOU. Listen to your body. You are the only one that really knows it. I felt much younger and enjoyed life much more after all that was over than I did in my thirties. I even look younger than I did then.

Delaney Diamond said...

Anne, I'm in my late thirties, but I'm looking forward to menopause--only because it means I will no longer have a period. I hate having a period and being at the mercy of it every month.

Menopause will mean that I'm entering the stage where I will no longer have to worry about that.

Also, if you're going through menopause, I say milk it. I worked with a woman who was going through menopause, and she basically controlled the thermostat in the office. Think of all the power you'll have! Who will mess with you about the temp? Everyone knows that you can't help it.

Okay, so I'm being a bit facetious, but on a serious note, don't look at it as a negative label. It's a rite of passage as you enter another stage in your life. As these other fine ladies have suggested, consult with your doctor about what's best for you. Millions of women go through it every year, so I've no doubt you'll be fine.

Anne Rainey said...

it's just a natural stage in a woman's life

I like that!! I'm keeping that in mind, Evie!

Anne Rainey said...

Mamaw--I'll definitely make an appt. with my doc. :)

Anne Rainey said...

Delaney--My mom looked forward to it too. She had a horrible time with her periods. I think she smiled all the way through menopause. LOL

Jen B. said...

I was lucky and got a total hysterectomy. I was sick for a year before the surgery so I figure I paid my dues other ways. Definitely see your doctor AND don't take anything for granted. My SIL was diagnosed with perimenopause and THEN got pregnant. Not to scare you or anything. I did have an adjustment period after my surgery and a friend of mine recommended a product called Remifemin. She said it helped her. Good luck and remember you aren't defined by your individual parts but by all of you.

Unknown said...

I'm 48 & I'm actually praying for it. The last year has been nasty female problems. I did the peri-menopause thing a few years ago so I know the basics and yep, a fan in every room is a must. I once we've done 6 months of the medication I'm currently on. If my body isn't starting menopause I'll probably have to do the hysterectomy thing.

Unknown said...

Oops, this got deleted...I just look at menopause as getting rid of a very annoying monthly problem. LOL

Wendy A said...

I'm 39 I just all thee female stuff taking out so I'm in full menopause but the pills I'm on help.See your doc he or she can help.

Jacqueline said...

There's a lot you can do to ease your way through this transition (in other words, just don't sit there in a pool of sweat!) Read Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and check out the Women to Women site. Here's a good article: Relief tips for the top 5 symptoms of menopause

anny cook said...

*Snicker* Hysterectomy at 28. But they left the ovaries in. So regular mennypaws later when I had four teens in the house. Yum. Did the HRT for two years. After that...changed doctors because of a move and discovered the bloodwork for HRT is the same as for thyroid! The doc removed me from HRT and put me on thyroid meds. And the hot flashes and insanity went away. So ask about that...just in case.

Sixty one now. Still have hot flashes early in the morning. That's because of wonky SUGAR levels!

Moral? Hot flashes could be from a lot of different stuff.