Yes – The 2nd Talk. The one about menopause.
Perimenopause is the time (that can last from just a few months to 10 years) during a woman’s reproductive years, before the onset of menopause. Going 12 consecutive months without a period is when you’ve officially reached menopause. According to the Mayo Clinic some of the symptoms of perimenopause are:
- Menstrual Irregularity
- Hot Flashes and Sleep Problems
- Mood Changes
- Vaginal and Bladder Problems
- Decreasing Fertility
- Changes in Sexual Function
- Bone Loss
- Changing Cholesterol Level
Woo-Hoo, what fun!
For me, symptoms first started when I was 35. I had to have an emergency hysterectomy when my youngest daughter was just a week old. Although my ovaries were left intact, I began my slow journey through perimenopause.
13 years later, it was a very very different story. During a routine exam, my doctor found a large mass on my left ovary. Blood tests were done, I had a sonogram, and was placed on medication to try to shrink it. I was seen a week later, and he thought that the mass seemed to be larger. After another sonogram, and it was determined that is was indeed larger. Surgery was scheduled for the next week. A tumor the size of a cantaloupe was growing on the ovary and was attached to, and being fed by, the main femoral artery in my left leg. A short relatively routine surgery turned into a very long complex operation. Not only was the tumor and left ovary removed, but so was the right ovary. It had a tumor too, but not nearly so large – just the size of a large plum. Since he was already in the vicinity, my doctor decided that it might be wise to remove my appendix too. To his surprise, I didn’t have one. (Yes, my body is weird.)
I have to say that I was very very fortunate to have two wonderful highly skilled surgeons taking care of me, and I so grateful to them. I’m also grateful that the tumors were benign. (My OB-GYN commented a couple of years later, when my ENT found a tumor on my thyroid – that I was just a growing machine – that I grew babies and tumors at warp speed and in large quantities:-) Due to the fact that I have not been able to have hormone replacement therapy – I still have the occasional hot flash, and some of the other “party favors”, but hey – life is still good.
I asked my husband if he wanted to chime in – thinking that he would right a couple of lines to the tune of “Oh my wife is just wonderful, you would never know that she had so many surgeries or that she had any menopause symptoms!” Well the joke was on me. Here is what he wrote:
Immediate Menopause – The Husband’s view
We all grow up hearing stories about older women going through menopause with hot flashes and mood swings. Nothing I heard or read about prepared me for the experience of immediate menopause. Well – almost immediate menopause, it did take a few days.
The first shock of the surgery to remove her ovaries (Oophorectomy) was with the hot flashes. She had her surgery in January when the weather in Central Florida was actually a little cool. A day or so after coming home the hospital she got her first major hot flash. It came on quickly and she got very hot to the touch and her face turned bright red. I had to help her hobble (remember she just had surgery and she moved very slowly) out to the front porch and to sit down in the cold so she could physically cool off. No one had ever explained to me that hot flashes meant that the person actually got physically hot. All of the descriptions I had heard implied that it was just a perceived temperature increase. Of course, the speed with which the hot flashes could come on was also amazing. Sometimes it seemed that she could heat up in less than a minute and she could heat a small room.
The second shock was the mood changes and anxiety attacks, again with little to no warning. I had seen some mood changes during her nine pregnancies, but they were nothing compared to this. The anxiety attacks started almost as soon as she got home from the surgery. She became agoraphobic the first week home. It took some time – months after she healed – before she was able to leave the house, even after physically healing. The anxiety attacks were the most amazing as they would come up quickly and she would usually be very worried about some very small issue. In our family we have had significant issues with children, grandchildren etc., so there was always some significant issues to worry about. However, the anxiety attacks would almost always focus on trivial items. This took a while to adjust to as she had not worried about trivial items before this, just the major issues.
Even now almost twelve years later she still can surprise me with an anxiety attack where she worries about sometime that is just not important.
So there ya have it – Hot Flashes, Anxiety, all sorts of physical changes…but it really isn’t that bad – after all think about the alternative to NOT aging! Everyone has different degrees of how these symptoms affect them. There are a lot of choices when it comes to treatment options, if needed. AND – we can talk about it now. It’s not a taboo. It just a part of life. Poise recognizes the need for a little help, and they’ve come up with 5 Poise Feminine Wellness products, that can make life a lot easier.
I went to Walmart the other day to pick some up. WOW – they are flying off the shelves.
I was able to get the last 2 packages of the Body Cooling Towelettes.
They smell fresh and they really really WORK!
Come join in the fun at the Poise Fab Five Twitter party on 9/20/12
1-2 PM EST