Menopause: The Sybil Syndrome
The Menopause Hell
How could a normally gentle, witty, generous, loving woman become the modern day female version of Jekyll and Hyde? Menopause, that's how! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING I could have read would have prepared me for this. For Ten months I suffered through the Night sweats, the mood swings, the discomfort...only to start another freaking period. Oh, not any ordinary period, but one from HELL. The cramping is unbearable, the bloating, well, we won't even go there, and my demeanor~Watch out! So this is how it's been going since then; Two or three months without a period, then BAM, all out estrogen warfare! I go from being "Ma" to all of my grown children's friends to having a sign on my door that reads "Enter at own Risk."
I decided to pay my doctor a visit. It's a good thing my Doc and I have a good relationship. Of course, he HAD to use his favorite phrase first; "Well, you know, you're not getting any younger." Yeah, Doc, and you're not getting any funnier! He said since I seemed to be "going with the flow" (He's a freaking comedian I tell ya!) that I should just ride it out. Well, I didn't want HRT anyway, but thanks for the meaningless, patronizing pat on the head, Doc. I can only hope I see him when his wife is going through this!
My Children's reaction? Let's just say that it is true that if you are looking for sympathy, you'll find it in the dictionary, after Sh*t and suicide. Of course they don't understand, how could they? Being the helpful girl she is, my daughter once commented on my mood swings; "Well, you are being a little bit crazy, Ma." Oh, thank you dear daughter...I knew I should have beaten you when you were little!
Some of my friends understand. Unfortunately, not my best friend. She had a hysterectomy 20+ years ago, and was spared this female frenzy. She doesn't hesitate to remind me of that either. God bless her! I'll start complaining about menopause and she will give me her best "in your face" grin and say "I'm glad I don't have to go through that!" I've been friends with this woman for 30 years WHY?
So, that is my story. Now let me try to bring you some information that may actually help.
Menopause signs and symptoms
It is my hope that this information will be of aid to any woman actually experiencing menopause, or any family or friends who may have questions.
Warning! Do not confront a menopausal woman, it could be hazardous to your health! Simply back away slowly as you smile and nod
You may be menopausal if:
- You spend more time in the bathroom than does your pregnant daughter
- You consider having your hair dyed...3 different colors
- You're response to "When is dinner" becomes "Whenever the hell you make it, moron!"
- Your dog doesn't even want to be around you at times.
- Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Ala Mode becomes a dinner choice.
- You hang a sign on your wall that says "Good Morning; Let the Stress begin"
- Instead of answering the phone with your usual upbeat "Hello!" You scream "What do YOU want?"
- Your mood can change in the time it takes you to walk from the kitchen to the living room.
- You feel like you are in labor for 3-7 days on any given month.
- You set your Air conditioner as low as it will go...even in the winter.
- You alternate feminine hygene products between Kotex, and Poise
Now that we have decided that you may indeed be in menopause, let's discuss what to do about it.
HRT: Hormone Replacement Therapy.
- Therapy my right ear! It's a treatment option. Therapy comes later
- It is designed to artificially boost hormone levels
- Increases chances of Breast Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke: Discuss in detail with your doctor if he/she suggests it.
- HRT is considered a "short term" relief from symptoms such as Hot Flashes, Irregular and painful Menstruation, Fat redistribution. (NOTE: Doctors consider "Short term" to be less than 5 years.
Dietary changes: Just in case your doctor isn't already lecturing you about your high cholesterol or high blood pressure, here is another reason to change your eating habits:
- *Try eating more foods with Soy: Soy products are high in phytoestrogens that help fight night sweats and hot flashes for some women.
- At this time your diet should have less fat, more fruits, Calcium and Vitamin D
Herbal Remedies: consult with your doctor first. *Changes during menopause are occuring in the adrenal, pancreas, thyroid, pineal and pituitary glands. There are herbs which could possibly ease the symptoms of menopause.
- Nutritional herbs normally do not have many side effects. They include: Fennel, Chamomile, berries, oatstraw, lemon balm, Red Clover, and slippery elm. These herbs can commonly be found in herbal teas.
- Herbs with more side effects, but can still be useful in moderation: Blackstrap Molasses, birch, dandelion, echinacea, motherwort, horsetail and yellowdock. (The more bitter the herb, the less you need)
- Sedating/stimulating herbs (USE WITH CAUTION); ginger, catnip, cinnamon, licorice, hops, willow and wintergreen
- Toxic Herbs: They do have a place in healing, but should never be taken without Doctor supervision; Cayenne, cottonroot, goldenseal and poke root, among others.
Ride the Tide: First, simply sit your family down and explain to them that Mommy is experiencing menopause, and is going to be kind of crazy for a little while. Explain to them that it is a natural process, and that as much as you love them, you are all going to have to deal with it!
- Buy fans: You will need these. Small one's for your desk, your side table, night stand. Large one's for every room in the house.
- Make your crock-pot your friend; You are NOT going to want to heat up the oven, even in the winter.
- Try to reach for a handful of grapes or cherries instead of that cake. Realize, however, there are times you WILL need that cake, accept it.
- Learn to be a creature of the night. You won't be sleeping well anyway, what with the night sweats and vivid dreams. Become a Night Owl!
- Drink Teas. Herbal teas, as mentioned above, can help a lot. Especially teas with Chamomile. This is very helpful when going through a "High Stress Mode" (for example; breaking a nail)
- Realize that you are not alone. Join groups for women your age who will understand. There are even online groups that can be of help. Your Grandmother survived this, your Mother survived this, and so will you.
- Try to laugh. C'mon, it's funny! You're acting like a raving lunatic who is thoughtful and loving one moment and Screaming for no reason the next.
- Don't be ashamed to cry; It's tough. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Cry.
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