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4 Real-Life Menopause Experiences

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Francine Filion, 54
Director of communications, Canadian Teachersí Federation, Ottawa, ON

ďMy mother died from breast cancer when she was 39, and my sister had her uterus removed in her 40s, so neither really had a Ďnaturalí menopause that I could relate to. Before I stopped menstruating, I was waking up at 3 a.m. every night for no reason at all. When I began menopause, I stopped drinking coffee, stopped eating processed foods and started taking a mild anti-depressant. Something worked, because my mind-racing 3 a.m. wake-ups have stopped. Iím also loving the money Iím saving from not having my period (Tampax, pads, etc.) and not having the huge pimples I used to get, even at 50 years old. Iíve even been pleasantly surprised by my hot flashes. I thought they would be massive tropical vacations that would interfere with my life and work, but instead theyíve been more like very occasional short heat waves. Overall, Iíve been lucky. Every woman is different, but menopause isnít a nightmare stage in life, and itís not the end of femininity as defined by society, at least not for the French-Canadian gal.Ē

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Barbara Kellam-Scott, 58
Writer, Sussex, NJ

ďI canít imagine how my motherís generation got through menopause alone. The best part about going through menopause now is how my generation is beginning to open up and share our experiences. This process has taught me how to trust my sisters-in-body for anything, accept their care for me and know that itís a shared experience thatís just our amazing systemís last hurrah. Menopause is in no way predictable, and every woman is different, but what we can rely on are our friends.Ē

 

 

Read more on† menopause in The Meaning of Menopause, Still on the Journey and ďMenopause is a wake-up callĒ. Join the conversation by attending OdeNowís menopause course. For a free digital copy of Odeís entire Menopause Series, email engage@odenow.com.

Read more: Health, Menopause, Spirit, Women's Health

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25 comments

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2:02PM PDT on May 31, 2012

Thank you

2:28AM PDT on May 14, 2012

Hi - just wanted to ask whether anyone had tried any natural supplements to help with the skin issues from Menopause? Any comments about Perricone's Skin Clear or BioCorrex's Anti-Ageing Skin Caps??? I'd be intrigued to find out more....

2:22AM PDT on May 14, 2012

These stories were interesting - also the ones in the comments. Thanks for sharing them all.
One thing I've noticed is the increased need for sleep. There will be 4-7 nights in a month where I'm wide awake in the middle of the night for no reason and 12-15 days where 8 hours sleep is just not enough. I'm still at the beginning of the journey.

12:52AM PDT on May 14, 2012

I thought it was horrible-like adolescence without the excitement of looking forward to being a grown up. I wish I'd gone to my doctor and demanded HRT. You have to be "on the ball" teaching in high school (they are merciless,) and I just wasn't.

8:25PM PDT on May 13, 2012

Ignored it.

7:45PM PDT on May 13, 2012

Good article to share with the younger ladies. Menopause is not something to dread, just a process of moving forward.

4:44PM PDT on May 13, 2012

I've been going through menopause for over 20 years. For me it will never end. I still get hot flashes and night sweats. I was glad for the periods to end as they were very painful and I had nausea with them. I was stuck in bed for a day or two with a heating pad on my abdomen.
A shame women have to suffer through this.

4:38PM PDT on May 13, 2012

I WENT TO THE GYNECOLOGIST FOR AN EXCESSIVE BLEEDING PROBLEM AND SHE CAUGHT ME DURING THE PREMENOPAUSEL STAGE. I WAS PUT ON HORMONES AND HAVE BEEN TAKING THEM EVER SINCE. I SEE NO REASON TO SUFFER IF YOU DO NOT HAVE TO.

4:33PM PDT on May 13, 2012

A symptom that is not mentioned often are cold flashes. I had mild hot flashes, usually during the day, and cold flashes when I was trying to sleep. The cold made me shiver and it came from the inside as when I would check the temp of my skin or feet they felt normal. I also had anxiety episodes. I learned to get up and moving and busy when anxiety hit during the day. For nighttime anxiety episodes I played soothing sounds (thunder, waves, etc) and kept a small fan going for white noise. I added soy milk to my diet (maybe 1/2 to 1 cup per day) and I slept better and the anxiety lessened.

1:32PM PDT on May 13, 2012

I am 53 and have not yet entered menopause. I have been on the pill since age 17 which not only is great as a contraceptive but also helps with endometrium and ovarian problems. My mom went into menopause at around age 59. Since I started menstruating at age 9 1/2, I have had a lot of years of periods. I was talking to my doctor recently about the birth control pill and a family history of ovarian cancer. My grandmother and her sisters never took the pill and they all got it. My mother was the only one of her 4 sisters who was on the pill and she is the only one who did get ovarian cancer. In my generation, of the 5 of us who are female (ranging from 50-63), one cousin and I (both have been on the pill for years) are the only ones who have not had ovarian cancer.

Looking at the research, the pill can be very protective of many things. I looked closely at the statistics of that study that ran many women off of HRT and found two things interesting- (1) The HRT taken was NOT the same as the birth control pill and (2) the difference between those who did and did not have a problem was not that huge.

I choose a medicated menopause for comfort, convenience, quality of daily life, and because I think it is the healthiest for women like myself. I think back to the difference in my own mom's medicated menopause compared to what her sisters faced and feel said they didn't just avoid it (and ovarian cancer).

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