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Menopause: What Your Doctor Might Not Tell You! Doctor Video Included

Updated on February 17, 2012

menopause symptoms

I know menopause. I suffered through it with my mother, and I’m just now coming out of it on the other side, myself. I’m writing this in an effort to help other women who might be going through what my mom and I went through to hopefully offer them some comfort – to let them know menopause symptoms they might be experiencing are not unusual. Just consider this my menopause blog or my menopause journal. fortunately, I never had to turn to hormone therapy to treat my menopause symptoms. Some women, however, do find much needed relief with hormone replacement therapy.

I had symptoms that I couldn't learn about through research. I finally gained knowledge through a wonderful female doctor. She told me things about menopause symptoms that no other physician or website addressed.

For my male readers, you might want to skip this one! It’s brutally honest and pretty graphic.

Periods and menopause

Okay, you already know menopause is the cessation of ovulation and monthly periods, right? But these don’t just stop all of a sudden. It’s a gradual process, and I was more than ready for it, or so I thought. I began having periods at the tender age of eight, and I always hated them. I couldn’t wait to go through menopause! That was before I discovered that I would endure almost two years of hell in the process.

When I was in my late forties, my periods began to get increasingly heavy. They were still regular, unfortunately, but they were very scary. My flow was unbelievable. For two or three days every month, I was practically incapacitated. The blood was often like water. Sometimes I would pass huge blood clots. I had to sleep with two towels underneath me. I ended up having to wear adult diapers plus super overnight pads on these days. Even so, I usually had to leave work to shower and change my clothes. I was losing so much blood that I was suffering from anemia. My doctor was shocked to find that my hemoglobin often dropped to seven. He put me on iron tablets and liquid iron, but they didn’t help.

My friends were very concerned, convinced that I had some form of cancer or another serious condition. Luckily, I knew about periods and menopause. My mother had experienced the same exact thing. At the time, I rarely saw a doctor. The only reason the anemia was discovered was because I went in for another problem, which I discuss below.

Back to periods and menopause. After sharing my experience with other women, I discovered that the heavy flow Mom and I had experienced was not that unusual. Of course, I researched periods and menopause online, but couldn’t find anything about torrential flows. Even top medical websites mentioned only irregular periods and a heavier than usual period. I wanted to read that a river was just a normal part of the process! These articles must have been written by men.

I finally discussed this with a female physician who assured me that she had many patients who had experienced the same thing. This made me feel better, but it didn’t really help me deal with the harsh reality. Someone at work told me about her experience with heavy periods and menopause. She finally had a hysterectomy – she couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t want to do that. I figured I could hang on for a while longer. Surely they’d stop soon!


What sent me to the first doctor was arrhythmia. What is arrhythmia? It’s an irregular heartbeat. I could feel my heart pounding sometimes, and it felt like it was skipping a beat. It was so bad one night that I was convinced I was about to have a heart attack. I got my husband to take me to the emergency room.

After they hooked me up to machines, I was told that I was having preventricular contractions, or PVCs. They had no idea why I was having them, but they said a few, like three a minute, were probably nothing to worry about. I wasn’t having a few. I was having thousands. They were so bad that the doctor kept me in the hospital for two nights to monitor my heart. This was a male doctor, and never once did he mention menopause or perimenopause.

Even after I was released from the hospital, I had to wear a heart monitor. Of course, I asked about arrhythmia treatment, but the doctor more or less just scratched his head and mumbled something about ablation. So I was still clueless about the cause of the PVCs and about arrhythmia treatment.

I returned to the female doctor who immediately told me about the association between arrhythmia and menopause. I had researched it on the internet and couldn’t find anything about it, but the doctor assured me that it was most likely due to the hormonal changes that come with menopause and perimenopause. I felt very relieved!

Sweats and menopause

When the heavy periods and the PVCs began to abate, I was practically delirious. I felt that a huge burden had been lifted. I no longer had to worry about bloody clothing or having a heart failure from PVCs. I still have them occasionally, but they’re nothing like the arrhythmia I was experiencing before. Just as my life started to get back to normal, however, a new menopause monster emerged: hot flashes and sweats.

Back to the internet. Unlike the arrhythmia and the uber-heavy flow, sweats and menopause were discussed on many sites. Before, I had never been much of a sweater, but for a year or so, it seemed like I was always sweating. Even in the middle of winter, I might break out in a sweat at any time. It was aggravating, but I knew that sweats and menopause went hand in hand.

Night sweats and hot flashes

I also discovered the sister to the day sweats of menopause – night sweats and hot flashes. Actually, mine were never as bad as my mom’s. Her night sweats and hot flashes were so bad that her sheets would often be dripping wet. She would often have to get up in the middle of the night and change her pajamas and her sheets.

Night sweats and hot flashes associated with menopause are discussed ad nauseam on many websites. Of course, some serious conditions can also cause night sweats, but I knew mine were almost assuredly a normal part of menopause. I still have them occasionally, and in fact, I wrote an article about the causes of night sweats. The link is found below, if you want to read it.

With my personal experience and what I learned from research and from my female doctor, I feel that I know menopause on a first-name basis. For a couple of years, she was my sworn enemy, but now I see her as a friend! For the first time in my adult like, other than when I was pregnant, I’m not saddled with periods or PMS. It’s wonderful!

Information about menopause:

Sweats with menopause, night sweats and hot flashes are normal!
Sweats with menopause, night sweats and hot flashes are normal!

Hormone therapy for menopause:


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    • profile image

      Maria Jasmine Freeman 2 years ago

      Oh I wish my menopause was so "simple"!! To add to ur " dictionary", I had multiple daily repeated seizures, and literal gasping with Opisthotonus position like u see in strychnine poisoning or rabies, for already thirteen years. That would otherwise alternate with stupor or electrifying pain, monstrous headaches, n repeated vomiting. Over one year at the outset of my symptoms, I turned from a 4 outfit size, to around 14 size woman, bed-ridden, n isolated away from my children n the outside world n my work.

      Only after so long that I have markedly healed.

    • profile image

      Holly 4 years ago

      I had a particial hesterectomy in 1989, never went through menopause! In 2002, I had my ovaries removed with bladder repair, no menopause! Now after 12 years I am gaining weight, hot flashes and lots of irribility. I do a high intensity workout for 45 minutes once to twice a day, eat healthy and take care of myself, but nothing is changing. Doctor will dismiss menopause. No one has any answers! NO ONE! Glad you had a great experience, but the rest of us are suffering.

    • Jen Pearson profile image

      Jen Pearson 4 years ago from Alabama

      As I make my way toward/through menopause, it has amazed me how little women share about their experiences. All you hear about is hot flashes but there's so much more. I too had the flooding, though not quite as severe as you (I was beginning to wonder about using depends and had started using a towel at night when, very very thankfully, my periods ceased). I'll probably write my own hub about my experience. I now suffer primarily from hot flashes and I'm happy to have them since they signal I'm approaching a point when I can be confident I won't bleed anymore!

    • profile image

      Lilly 6 years ago

      Quite interesting hub..I am impressed by your well researched, informative and well written hub.Thanks a lot for sharing..Useful stuff..


    • christin53 profile image

      Ann-Christin 6 years ago from UK

      Its always good to read other women's experiences as we are all different.I haven't had a period for over a year now which is great. I do get the hot flushes some weeks really bad some weeks hardly any. I'm now getting tender breasts again like I used to which I'm not happy about. I guess its hormone related.

    • rutley profile image

      rutley 6 years ago from South Jersey

      This was awesome! Thank you! Havn't had a period in 5 months...hope it's over! The hot flashes occur every hour or less....all day all night! I too had the pour on for a few years before this possible shut off. Voted up and thanks again!

    • beadreamer247 profile image

      beadreamer247 6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hi Holly, while your symptoms don't apply to me that much, except for the clots and one day with heavy bleeding (1st day heavy uncontrollable bleeding and afterwards the rest of the days nearly unnoticeable - always asking myself why it cannot be leveled)- I greatly enjoyed reading your article. You wrote it well with personal experience instead of listing all the well known stuff (at least by all those woman who do some research because they are affected in one way or another). My experience with all this started off with hot flashed for about 2 yrs and extremely mild periods (almost disappearing). Periods returned flashes went away. Weight control is a big problem - also having celiac disease doesn't make it easier)some water retention and now I have been hit very hard with emotional inbalance - I know I could go to a dr to get medication, but I don't want to get that. I am trying some herbals stuff to get me back on track. Right now it is not the right time for me and I am suffering so badly from this episode that I might have to consider to quit working for a while until I gained control over it and me again.

    • profile image

      karen 6 years ago

      i have been in peri menapause for 9 yrs. symptoms that r debilitating , drs. don't understand or r just stupid....i am 4 months no period age 54.....haven't worked in 9 yrs.....due to debilitating symptoms....uncommon symptoms.....dizziness, off balance , muscle tension , back pain. leg weakness. headaches. insomnia, depression, anxiety, shakiness. weight gain. ect....i cannot tolerate hormones, or anxiety meds. or even bio- identical meds....drs. suck ,,,,,they cannot understand so many symptoms. menapause is very complex. an every women experiences it different , no two women alike...drs. do not understand , an blow off many unhelped myself....suffered for 9 years still no relief ,,,,many outside holistic stuff also . i also got lung cancer along the way, had surgery, an did not do chemo or radiation ,,,due to the fact medications do not agree with me ,,,an drs. cannot help me with this and they don't understand my quality of life the last 9 yrs. still going to drs......yet they do not listen ,,,an they read previous records from drs u went to before them ,,,an say the same thing as previous dr......becareful to most women out there....u will get labeled if u continue to complain.....i am living proof of the inperfections of drs.....just because they have a degree does not make them right....they misdiagnose more people an account for more deaths than well your own advocate an do not let them tell u how u feel.......

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Dolores, you are too funny, girlfriend! I'm actually enjoying most things about menopause!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Holly - my sister used to bleed so bad, she wound up anemic in a real bad way. It can be pretty scary. The think I like best about menopause is that I don't have those hormone induced ups and downs as before. Of course the lack of estrogen leads to an old and ugly face, but the body still looks good. Maybe I ought to let myself go, sit around and watch TV while eating junk food to let my sleek bod catch up with my face. haha.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Afzal, thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      afzal koa 7 years ago you may want to head on over there now and get it and before someone or "something" gets it forever yanked out of ever getting in YOUR hand at least.

      It's in a very easily readable format and is quickly and readily understood and mastered by anyone with even a 4th grade reading level.

      While you're there, why not scroll down and review for yourself the huge successes others are now having with this incredible breakthrough in rapid, massive weight loss and extremely improved and enhanced health, now made freely available to the rest of us?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Jane, if only men could go thru just a year of it!

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

      I had premature menopause that started at the age of 39 and now I am 46 and have not had a period in over a year and I have the night sweats the hot flashes like someone stuck my head in an oven at any given moment during the day and night and I sleep with the air conditioner on all the time and a fan right next to my bed, my poor husband who is only at the ripe old age of 32 (oh what was I thinking lol) doesn't entirely understand the lack of sex drive because like the average 32 year old male he is always up and at em if you know what I mean. Anyway, I think I will have him read this so he knows what I am going through and doesn't just think that its all in my head. Thanks so much for this info it was a great read, rated you up and Cheers.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Case, I hope you are like your mom here!

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      just starting out on this not looking forward to it but mum says she didn't experience anything so hey this is one time i want to be exactly like mum

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I so agree, Dolores! I think menopause is wonderful!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Habee, both flooding and hot flashes can be just miserable and I was suffering both. After a hysterectomy, I went through several night sweats but then...the crazy ups and downs of monthly hormone changes was gone. No more puffing up, no more headaches, constipation, blue moods, grouchiness, depression, or borderline mania. I am suddenly normal. Feeling normal is really not that bad!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Anita, thanks so much for this information and for reading!

    • profile image

      Anita 8 years ago

      The worst part of menopause for most of my clients are the night sweats , hot flashes and sleep issues and when you don't sleep well, we all get a bit cranky. A few things my clients say helps combat these symptoms are boosting soy, omega 3's and wearing wicking pajamas at night.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much for your kind words, joinphp!

    • joinphp profile image

      joinphp 8 years ago from Tunisia

      Thanks for the help you forwarded towomen from your experience.

      That's really great feelings from a wise woman in the wisdom age such as menopause. Great. Thanks

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      So true, girlfriend! If I have a headache, Johnny has a brain tumor. If I have a stomach virus, he has food poisoning. If I have a sprained ankle, he's sure his is broken. You get the picture. lol!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Yep - you're probably right - but I'd just love the opportunity ONCE to see how they handled it - Bob bless his heart is always having a SINUS INFECTION when I just roll my eyes and go 'grow up - it's a COLD!' - God - I should have been a nurse! har har

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Audrey, you know that if men had to have babies, the population growth would be zero - humans would become extinct!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Ehern, you were brave to read this!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Laurel, you were lucky, indeed!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for your kind words, HH!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Too hilarious but I think y'all don't know what you are missing! Truly it is an uplifting experience - the childbirth that is...not the other....maybe one of these days, we'll see it yet - men giving birth - like I said -just once...that should about do it!

    • ehern33 profile image

      ehern33 8 years ago

      akirchner, I think that is where I draw the line. We pretty much have a period anyway, except for the messy part, but giving birth.. NO thanks. You know we guys are total loosers and wimps when it comes to pain.. God gave us tolerance to support women with periods and child birth, that is good enough for me.. LOL

      Glad you overcame your troubles

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Ehern33 is too hilarious but I can understand it as many women do really have a hard time. I had many of those same symptoms but actually about bled to death - needed transfusions but refused, etc. I went ahead and had a hysterectomy just because of that and the fibroids that were gigantor which I did not even know I had...but my doc tried to talk me into oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) which I flat out refused (unless they were diseased, etc). I've been great ever since and at 56, no symptoms, no hormones but I exercise regularly and try and make sure I do a healthy diet, etc. I know I'm one of the LUCKY ones though as I have a lot of friends who have not been so lucky - so great info and a 'crappy' thing we women have to endure I guess but just part of life's 'cycle' so to speak. I still wish men had to have periods - and bear at LEAST one child....seems only fair to me!!!! A

    • ehern33 profile image

      ehern33 8 years ago

      How about the pains men go through while next to a woman going through menopause.. LOL In all seriousness, great information even for guys so that they can be supportive.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      This is a fantastic hub about women, and I certainly thank you, habee. Thing is, I sailed through menopause without a single symptom. My mother's experience was horrid, so I expected the same, but I was a very lucky lass!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Why do we, women, have to have it all? You shouldn't spare the men reading it. Great hub, habee, congratulation.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Rochelle. You're exactly right about doctors - most of them, anyway.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      I'm sure many women will be glad to hear what you have shared. I'm thinking there is no "normal" when it comes to women's menstrual histories.

      Doctors who think there is-- and are using medications to make people normal, are just not taking the time to find out individual truths.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Jerilee! I am so thankful that I found a woman doctor who shared great information with me! I dunno, it's like male doctors just don't understand how devastating the symptoms of menopause can be. Thanks for reading!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

      You have to wonder about all the things they (doctors) don't bother to mention or know if it's not their area of expertise. For those of us who had hysterectomies (mine at age 27), I've met a number of women who like me found there was never a mention that we would still go through menopause. Not the first thing you'd think of years after no longer periods cease. Had the exact thing happen with the heart arrthymia and spent a week undergoing tests ($27,000 bill as I had no insurance).


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