Social Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What information would you like to share with someone fast approaching menopause?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (22662 points ) July 13th, 2012

Menopause is just around the corner. I’ve read enough clinical information on it to understand the basics of what to expect.

What I’m really interested in hearing from others is about their own experiences from either going through it personally or from their partner’s perspective.

What tips do you have? For example, does taking sage pills really help control night sweats?

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33 Answers

janbb's avatar

Everyone’s experience is different so don’t count on it being horrible. I had some hot flashes and some night sweats but nothing intolerable and no particular mood swings (that I couldn’t account for.) Also, for me, I had a physical condition that it ended so it was a blessing. My brain did seem a bit fuzzier and I feel sharper again but that might just be due to life changes.

Coloma's avatar

I’m 3 years done now. I was a bit on the early side, stopped completely just before I turned 49, within a month or two. Things started getting strange around 44. Irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, then slowly the gap started widening. Every other month, every 3rd month, a return to “normal” for a few months, then 4 months would go by. Then, one day I realized it had been over 4 months, and sure enough, it was the end.

I did not take hormones, I did not have any depression, just wacky periods and hot flashes.
Of course I live alone, divorced at 43 soooo, nobody around to actually gauge IF I WAS a bitch! You can’t be a bitch is nobody is around, but…I never had any arguments with my pets. lol

I can say that, sexually speaking, my orgasms have become weaker, but…also more multi-orgasmic. Instead of one big one it is now two little ones, the sizzle and fizzle effect. haha
Some trade off, what’s up with this?
I feel fine and it is GREAT to no longer worry about periods, cramps, accidents, PMS.
I still fond the odd tampon or pad in an old purse from time to time, oh memories. ;-P

Sunny2's avatar

Plan to dress with layers you can strip off or put back on easily in front of people. I did a modified strip tease almost daily for my 6th grade class.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@janbb Thanks friend. I don’t expect it to be that bad, considering that my sisters breezed through it. After hearing the horror stories from women at work, I wasn’t sure how common it was from a heredity perspective.

@Coloma While recently cleaning out 86 year old Mom’s linen closet, I found a box of pads that dated back to probably the 60’s or 70’s based upon the picture on the front. :)

@Sunny2 Excellent tip. So far, the worst seems to be at night. The SO and I sleep with the windows open even in the dead of England’s winter, and we even set up an electric fan. Gad!

The other evil thing so far is the half dozen coarse hairs sprouting from my chin.

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Haha…vintage kotex. Yes, the night sweats are the worst, and I have a memory foam bed that really holds in your body heat…gah! I am SO gald to be done with all that…from 12 to almost 50, jesus, what was nature thinking? We begin waay before we should ever conceive children and go on until it would be our worst nightmare to become pregnant at 40–50. Eeee!

I told a man I was dating during the peri-phase, which they say puts you at the same risk as a teen again for accidental pregnancy what with the wacky cycles that if I was to become pregnant there would be no need for any discussion, he would be completely off the hook and I would just tie a boulder around my neck and take a swan dive off the nearest bridge. lol

I’ve always said women should be like dogs, come into heat twice a year, more than enough! haha
The night sweats still show up once or twice a week even now. I have heard women say they still get them in their 60’s and later. Oh joy! But the worst of the fire storm of hormonal insanity is but a vague memory. :-)

trailsillustrated's avatar

I had a real bad time for about a year I took a thing called amberen for abut a year and everything cleared up- when it started I didn’t know what to expect and wondered if I was being poisoned haha. It didn’t last very long for me at all. My sex drive completely disappeared, I use a natural progesterone cream that you rub on your inner arm. I saved a pair of stained knickers as a souvenir. lol.

Coloma's avatar

@trailsillustrated Yeah. my sex drive is not in the sports car league anymore either, more like a vintage sedan. Then of course, being single all these 50 something yr. old guys that still have the drive of 14 yr. old boys. Jesus….I truly believe in “men-o-PAUSE! It’s natures way of giving us poor old mares a rest after years of servicing the stallions. lol

trailsillustrated's avatar

@Coloma now that’s a thing I don’t understand- I remember men’s dicks being hard just brushing against my leg- now these old guys have to pull on it etc etc, to get it working, but still claim/seem to be super horny? Is it a mental thing?

JLeslie's avatar

I have not been through menopause, but my advice is if yours winds up being very difficult seek a doctor who specializes in menopause, I wish I had a name for you.

Also, assume yours will be fairly easy. I know so many women that more or less sailed through the change with barely any difficulty.

For myself, having talked to and spent time with many many women who were going through or already done with menopauseI have not been through menopause, but my advice is if yours winds up being very difficult seek a doctor who specializes in menopause, I wish I had a name for you. Most OBGYN’s are best at delivering babies in my opinion. Also, at your regular check up have them do a thyroid test. Something like 25% of women over 45 are hypothyroid (I don’t have a link for the exact stat) and, symptoms for that can be the same as typical menopause symptoms and so sometimes they are dismissed.

Also, assume yours will be fairly easy. I know so many women that more or less sailed through the change with barely any difficulty. Some women are much better off.

For myself, having talked to and spent time with many many women who were going through or already done with menopause I plan to not take any hormone medication for at least a couple years if I am not very uncomfortable. The women I know on HRT, even 15+ years later when they stop their hormones get full blown hot flashes. I can’t figure out if they would be flashing forever naturally and that is why they seek the drugs, or if they have hampered the body from completing the process and so they continue to flash for years and years. I don’t want to have to guess if I screwed myself up worse, it would torment me wondering.

Coloma's avatar

@trailsillustrated I think men have a “harder” time letting go of their youthful sexploits. So many guys I meet are extremely “hung” up on performance still and have a lot of really, what I consider, unrealistic ideas of sexuality at this time of life. The penis dies a hard death.
Oh my, I could run with these puns forever.

Coloma's avatar

midlife dementia, double posting, lol

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Coloma Gracious. We have a foam mattress on the bed in the guest room. I cannot fathom sleeping on that while in the midst of a night sweat episode.

@trailsillustrated Thanks for the heads up on the medications. This is where I am at a loss. I really don’t want to take anything if necessary. I’ll look into both in case they might help or be recommended. As for the penis question, that would be a good one to ask on a separate thread. I’d be interested in hearing the responses.

@JLeslie I suspect that it will be a fairly smooth sailing as well considering that my older sisters did. Probably Mom as well. I’ve got a doctor lined up in England, should I make the move before menopause officially sets in. Health services and medication there is different than here in the US, so it has become a whole new learning curve.

Coloma's avatar

I have never tried the progesterone cream but I did buy hundreds of dollars worth of menopause herbs, pills, remedies etc. None made a difference in my opinion. Evening Primrose, Black Cohash, various other notions and potions. Just a crammed medicine chest and money down the drain IMO.
If you’re going to go for any HRT consider the synthetics, not the Premarin which is produced from a cruelty based industry using the urine of pregnant mares.

trailsillustrated's avatar

@Coloma the progesterone cream is made from wild yams. I found amberen to be really helpful and not expensive. My best friend did the bio identical hormones and she still had to have the air con set on advanced base camp everest wherever she went. And it’s been that way for her for 7 years. Some people have a really difficult time, I guess.

JLeslie's avatar

Somehow I copy pasted instead of cut paste. Oy. If that is a sign of things to come I am going to need a lot of help once I get to menopause. LOL.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie Nah, it’s a sign that you missed out on another Perfecto Fish Award. I do the same thing. I’m really trying to get into the habit of proofing before hitting that darn Answer button. You are still as sharp as a tack.

Coloma's avatar

Shit..I lose my car all the time now. Come out of a store and just stand there scanning the parking lot and aimlessly wandering. lol

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Coloma I expect memory loss as I age, but would prefer that it kicks into high gear years from now. Please tell me that it isn’t linked to menopause.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma When I first moved to Florida a lot of the cars had ribbons and things on the antennas. Now most cars don’t have antennas, but I guess now you can push the button on the key thingy and make the car beep. Hahahaha.

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes, some slight short term memory fritz is normal in menopause.
@JLeslie I deactivated my sensor as it was SO sensitive my trunk would pop open or alarm would go off from my keys jostling around in my purse or pocket.

Once I was mid-cycle in a carwash and my display dinged saying ” trunk ajar.”
Oh, it was “ajar” alright, it was completely up and my trunk was flooded, just from my knee bumping my keyring in the ignition!
God damn new fangled cars! LOL

bkcunningham's avatar

About three or four years ago, I started becoming so exhausted at around 2 in the afternoon, I had to take a nap in order to have supper ready when my husband got home from work. I have NEVER taken naps. Never. I didn’t say anything to him and thought I was just over-tired from a recent move from Rhode Island to North Carolina. It got so bad, I would sit on the couch and wake-up later only to realize I’d fallen asleep sitting up.

I was becoming so forgetful, I broke down and confessed my afternoon naps to my husband. I told him my memory was so poor that I was honestly afraid I may have Pick’s disease or a brain tumor or worse. Since we had just moved, I found a GP and had an entire gambit of tests run. In the meantime, I started having shortness of breath and chest pains. I had every kind of test that is known to man performed and everything came back normal.

We were in the process of scheduling an appointment with Duke Medical Center when I read something on the Internet about menopause. My symptoms were exactly what was described on this blog or forum or whatever it was, I can’t remember now. On my next appointment with the GP, he basically said, ‘Oh, yes. That could be what is causing the symptoms. You haven’t been through menopause yet?’

I haven’t taken anything. My hot flashes are worst at night. My head and neck sweat like someone poured water on my head and pillow at night. The absolute worst part is my memory. I can’t remember anything. I use to have the patients of Job. Not so much anymore.

I’ve stepped up my exercise routine recently and I’m starting Tai Chi Monday to see if I can get focused and not get so irritated by stupid ass people. Good luck.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I have one car that only has one button on the key. Push it and it unlocks, push again, locks. No beep. That was some idiot male German engineer who thought that was a good idea dn all the other men around him agreeing. If I push it again to make sure I locked it as I walk away from the car, I might have just unlocked it. Ridiculous. Not to mention if someone suspicious was near you, all the door open with the one click. The service guy at the dealership said tons of women complained and they don’t make them like that anymore.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@bkcunningham Thank you for providing your experiences. I suspect that exercise is key in controlling not only some of the symptoms but just good health practices on its own. I definitely need more of that.

Osteoporosis is what scares me the most. Mom has it and has fractured vertebrae on two separate occasions, as well as a broken hip. I wonder if this is a factor of just general old age and genetics or if it is related to menopause.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie and @Coloma Okay kids. I realize that posting this question in Social runs the risk of getting off-topic, but…

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Duly noted but you must allow for woman to babble, it’s what we do best after all lol Okay, lets this move this menopause party to my cold hot tub, wine coming up! haha

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Sorry mom. :)

About the osteoporosis. I think it has to do with genes, age, and general health more than hormones. Just my completely non medical opinion. Petite people are more at risk, my FIL has osteoporsis from a relatively young age and he is a small man.

My mom has it, and she also has calcium laying around all over her body. The theory is if it does not get into the bone it lays in our arteries and soft tissues and hardens and occludes what should be open and pliable. What I have read is vitamin K2 is very important along with D to get the calcium into the bone and not in the wrong places. My mom in fact was prescribed a drug that has a combinations od vitamin D and calcium and she had to lower her dose because her blood level of calcium went too high. So I take some K2 and my D is rock bottom without huge supplements and I have my calcium checked 3 or 4 times a year.

I was thinking about doing a bone density, but since I was in that very bad accident and nothing broke, I figure I’m good.

gailcalled's avatar

I had hot flashes and carried around a little portable fan. I always wore layers of clothing when I went out in order to shed at will.

During the winters, I used to dance outside in the cold wearing only my underwear. I too have some mush brain residual, but find that if I slow down and stay mindful, it’s all fine.

Osteoporosis does not single out the small of stature.

bewailknot's avatar

I didn’t have hot flashes but I slept with nothing but a sheet for about 2 years, my normal is lots of covers even when its hot.

For those of you who can’t find your car when you come out of the store – the main reason is you probably didn’t pay attention to where you parked in the first place. I heard this years ago and made it a habit to notice where I park. To make it easy at really big malls I always park outside the same entrance, so I know I want to leave past my favorite shoe store.

rooeytoo's avatar

I read somewhere that it is a process not an illness and I have stuck with that idea. I think some women do have a really rough time but most find it to be an annoyance more than anything else. I started later not until my late 50’s and now at 67 I still have hot flashes and night sweats. I was never a good sleeper so the main difference is that now when I wake up I am hot instead of cold. I have never taken anything natural or otherwise. The main change for me is in my body. I am still strong but have lost muscle mass and I have belly fat which I hate. My bmi is low normal and my weight is low normal, I eat well and exercise fairly strenuously but I can’t get rid of the damned belly fat! I never had much difference between waist and hips but now the difference is even less, very annoying to me, but at the same time I am grateful that is my only complaint.

rooeytoo's avatar

PS there are a lot of apps for your smart phone that lead you back to where you parked your car. That leads me to believe that menopausal women are not the only ones who forget where they parked at the mall!!!

gailcalled's avatar

In the old days, my former father-in-law parked his car at Fenway Park; after the game he forgot where. We had to wait until the hordes went home and left the area nearly empty before we reclaimed the car.

After that, we gave him an orange day-glow pennant to attach to the car, making it easy to spot.

For years I had recurring anxiety dreams about exams and term papers…being unprepared, having lost the notes, not able to find the exam hall, never having taken the course, etc.

Recently that theme has changed to forgetting where I parked my car and roaming around familiar spots looking for it. I rarely remember dreaming now but I do recall those. Odd.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled I have the unprepared for a class dreams or late to something dreams usually a night or two before a flight.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ It is, apparently, a universal theme. Years ago The Harvard Alumni Magazine did a short essay on the recurring anxiety dream centered around academic performance. The letters to the editor poured in for six months until the magazine said, “Enough, already,” and refused to publish any more.

They concluded that there didn’t seem to be anyone who did not have them.

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