Saturday, November 23, 2013

Signs, Symptoms, and the Insanity of Getting Older and Facing Menopause

     Menopause is time in a woman's life when her periods (menstruation) eventually stop and the body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant. It is a natural event that normally occurs in women age 45 - 55.  Naturally occurs?  There is nothing natural about breaking into a sweat while standing still in a cold shower.

     I am a 44 year old woman in what medical experts call peri-menopause.  Which seems to be a test run of menopause.  I kid you not, when I go to bed at night in a room that is kept at a chilly 62 degrees in the winter, I will wake up in a pool of my own sweat having to change my t-shirt and underwear and put a dry blanket down.  This on top of the fact that it took me a good two hours to fall asleep!

      One of my favorite symptoms is the moodiness...I can go from perfectly happy to tears in less than one second.  My two older sons, I believe, may be plotting with my husband to build me a padded room with no sharp instruments and a built in air conditioner (which actually sounds quite peaceful and calming).  Give me a fridge and a TV and I won't come out until menopause is over, unless, of course, I have to pee.  That leads us into the next symptom, urine leakage.  Now I don't believe this is really a symptom of menopause but instead is due to the fact that I have squeezed four melon sized heads out of a very tiny opening.  If I cough - I pee, if I sneeze - I pee, if I laugh - I pee, if we hit a bump in the road - I pee, cry - pee, yell - pee, go upstairs - get the picture.  Just a word of advice have lots of extra underwear on hand or buy stock in panty liners.  You would think that after all the peeing and sweating that women would end up dehydrated - no such luck.
     Let's chat about fatigue or being dog tired, which is kind of a pain because you can be extremely tired and still have an issue falling asleep.  I am not completely convinced that my weariness has anything to do with menopause but more instead due to 9 pets, a husband, and 4 very busy children.  However, I can say that I can be seriously tired and still struggle with falling asleep.  This is why I always have a bottle of melatonin on hand as it is a natural supplement that assists one in sleeping.  Since we are discussing sleep, which normally takes place in the bedroom bringing up sex drive seems to be the next symptom to discuss.  I have not experienced this at all but I do have friends who are dealing with this problem.  My suggestion is to go see your doctor and let them know because there are supplements that you can take to help you get this drive back, that is if you are not too tired to actually go to the doctor.

     The last symptom I am going to discuss is irregular periods and worsening premenstrual syndrome.  I have really never dealt with the latter but the irregular periods are seriously annoying. It is like a practical joke your body plays on you.  You are in your room picking out your clothes for the day; you grab the light colored skinny jeans because there is no bloating and the white lace undies with the matching bra.  You decide against the bulky sweatshirt and go with the form fitting shirt - while looking in the mirror you decide to wear your hair down.  When you go to grab your brush you realize that your "lady drawer" is running worries you feel great and your friend just left a week ago.  Time to hit the mall with your bestie!  As you are walking into your favorite store - IT HITS!  The cramps come and you race to the mall bathrooms, which are clear on the other side.  You shuffle your feet because you are trying to hold it in by squeezing your legs together.  Once in the bathroom you dread what you are going to find.  Your whole demeanor changes as you wash your hands after dropping your undies in the trash.  At home you take off the skinny jeans, put your hair up, find your sweatpants and the bulky sweatshirt.  Let the moodiness begin!!!!


     On top of all of these lovely symptoms you also have to deal with getting older which includes gray hair, whiskers (yes you read correctly) on your chin, difficulty losing weight, having to stop for a break after going up a flight of stairs, making those noises older (face it you are the older) people make when getting out of a chair or bed, choosing the comfortable shoes instead of the stylish ones because your bunions are sore, and straining a muscle while you are sitting absolutely still.

     There are days when I am in my third hot flash, crying at the insurance commercial in front of me - tired and bloated - that I think all of this is due to the fact that Eve just had to take a bite out of that damn apple - if it had been chocolate I would be a tad more understanding but an apple is so not worth it. 


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