Menopause - Let's talk about it
Are you a woman between the ages of 30 and 60? Let's talk, shall we?
Menopause .. we're all going to go through it, or are, or have. It's the natural progression of our bodies. First, a definition, from the authorities:
According to the Mayo Clinic ( http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/basics/definition/con-20019726 ): "Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States."
Perimenopause is the months or years that precede it. Oh .. well .. that's helpful, huh? Basically, it's when our hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone (yeah, we have it), start going wacky. It means we start experiencing a bunch of new health issues. At Healthlinedotcom, I found a list of 35 symptoms typical to women experiencing that lovely 2 to 12 years prior to menopause, not the least of which is:
Hot flashes and night sweats, etc
Irregular heart beat
Mood swings, sudden tears, major changes in emotional well-being
Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
Irregular periods and cycles
A number of other physical changes, including weight gain/loss
Disturbing memory lapses
The question, of course, is what can be done about it.
**You can go to your doctor, (again from the Mayo Clinic):
"In some cases further evaluation may be recommended.
Tests typically aren't needed to diagnose menopause. But under certain circumstances, your doctor may recommend blood tests to check your level of:
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen (estradiol), because your FSH levels increase and estradiol levels decrease as menopause occurs
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), because hypothyroidism can cause symptoms similar to those of menopause"
The problem there, is often they end up waiting until you're almost through the symptomatic stages. In my humble opinion, from my own experience and what I've researched, it's never too early to know about and expect any or many of the perimenopausal symptoms. They can be completely debilitating.
There are alternative resources:
* The Mayo Clinic site offers some alternative resources worth reviewing
* My personal experience (I'll say more about it in a separate post) derived from a book by Dr. John Lee, entitled 'What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause', published in 1996. It started a storm of controversy, since it flew in the face of traditional western medical practices. I can only suggest: read it for yourself and make an informed decision
* There are many alternative routes to relieving your symptoms.
You can't cure this, lol. It's part of the nature's process. We have a finite number of eggs and once we've dropped that last little life maker, our bodies change to accommodate it and we all experience it differently.
So ... let's talk: tell your story. What worked for you? What didn't? When did you first begin to suspect that you were 'going through the change?' Was it awful? or did you just sail through it? And, of course, how is it effecting your ability to caregive?