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Personal Experience Of When I Went Through Change of Life, Otherwise Known as Menopause

Menopause in 2000's

A woman of menopausal age

A woman of menopausal age

Menopause Poll Question asked by awordlover

Take The Menopause Quiz!

What Is Menopause? - researched by awordlover

When I was growing up, mothers and grandmothers of my generation talked about going through "Change of Life" especially when in mixed company. When there were young ears in the vicinity, women referred to Menopause as "going through the Change."

For many women, it was very much looked forward to because it meant the end of painful monthly menstrual cycles and all the baggage that came with that.

For other women, when their menstrual cycle stopped, it was almost like a mini-death because it meant they could no longer bear children.

The clinical definition of menopause is when a woman stops producing eggs and completely stops menstruating for twelve consecutive months, OR when she no longer is capable of reproduction either because of types of hysterectomy surgery, certain kinds of chemotherapy or hormonal medications. Typically menopause occurs between age 45 and 55, with an average age of 51.

There is a considerable drop in estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body putting a woman at risk for heart disease and osteoporosis.

The easy definition is when your periods stop for 12 continuous months and when you exhibit three or more of the following signs and symptoms of menopause:

  • hot flashes
  • moodiness, mood swings
  • sleeplessness, insomnia
  • thinning hair or hair loss
  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • memory problems, forgetfulness
  • loss of energy
  • night sweats
  • painful intercourse (vaginal dryness)
  • frequent urinartion
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • crying jags
  • depression

A woman will probably begin getting some clues that menopause is creeping up when her periods become irregular, start coming closer together (or are farther apart), if bleeding becomes irregular or heavy (or scanty spotting), and when the notorious hot flashes come more frequently. For most women, hot flashes are the first noticeable symptom after cessation of the menstrual cycle.

Funny 1 Minute Clip From "That 70's Show"

Peri-Menopausal Symptoms

Menopausal symptoms

Menopausal symptoms

Stages of Menopause Poll

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The Stages of Menopause - researched by awordlover

Even though the best medical authorities say menopause begins between ages 45 and 55, there are women who will tell you they began menopause long before that age. It is what they knew as menopause, when it was actually a "stage" of menopause.

And even though the best medical authorities say menopause lasts between 10 and 15 years, there are some women who will tell you their menopause lasted way longer than that. Well, at least it seemed longer than that!

Menopause is different for every woman, because every woman is different.

Menopause has different stages and women may pass through each stage or skip over some of them. Here are the highlights:

Perimenopause: when you have many of the signs and symptoms of menopause (see list above) but you are 10 to 15 years younger than the average menopause age of 51.

Premature Menopause: From early 30's to early 40's, a woman is considered in "premature menopause" when menstruation stops before the age of 40.

Early Menopause: Menopause that starts after age 40 but before age 45.

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Natural Menopause: part of the normal aging process and usually occurs "on time" between ages 45 and 55. Natural Menopause is when your ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone on their own without intervention, causing your menstrual cycle to stop for 12 continuous months.

Induced or Surgical Menopause: This is when menopause is brought on by a deliberate plan of action, like surgery, radiation, hormonal or chemotherapy medication. If you undergo a hysterectomy, it is called "surgical menopause." Some women get flooded with lots of symptoms by the time they are discharged from the hospital, if not sooner.

Post-Menopausal: When a woman no longer exhibits any symptoms of menopause.

Symptoms vary from woman to woman, but the uppermost complaint is hot flashes, which are not only a nuisance but some days, they can be downright embarrassing. Second in line is insomnia.

Hot Flashes Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms - Hot Flashes

Signs and Symptoms - Hot Flashes

Slideshow about treatments and side effects

What Are Some Medical Treatments For Menopause? - researched by awordlover

The treatments in the 21st century are very different from the treatments of, say, 30 years ago. This is not your mother's menopause; there are modern treatments to fit every lifestyle, most belief systems and codes of ethics. Click on the links for more information on each topic.

If you want to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), there's a pill or a "patch" for that - in fact, there are many medication choices. Low dose vaginal estrogen for dryness and atrophy yield good results. A daily prescription medication usually covers all the other symptoms. Progesterone creams enjoy a nice popularity for their versatility and ease of use.

If you want to take Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy (BHT) - there are choices for that. See Dr. Oz video for his opinion on Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy.

If you want to take non-hormonal prescription therapy to treat specific symptoms, a physician may offer anti-depressants for depression, moodiness, irritability and to help lower the number of hot flashes per day. Specifically, Clonidine and Gabapentin (Neurotin) have had good success in lowering the number of hot flashes.

If you want to take Natural or Alternative Therapy - there are game plans for that which include acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation techniques.

If you want to take Herbal Alternatives - there are many choices in teas, capsules and creams. I have outlined them in a hub titled "Herbal Remedies for Menopause Symptoms."

Dr. Oz Talks About Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy for Menopause

An original image owned by awordlover

Top 10 Menopause Symptoms as of December 2013

Top 10 Menopause Symptoms as of December 2013

Exit Poll

Conclusion with personal experiences by awordlover

While menopause is a mile-marker in a woman's life, there is no reason in today's world why you should suffer with cumbersome or nuisance symptoms,especially if they impact your quality of life. While the internet is not the most reliable source for information, it can help point you in the right direction so that you are armed with enough knowledge to ask intelligent questions when you visit your doctor.

Click the links in this hub and investigate the various forms of "therapy" and decide which one is to your liking, given your lifestyle, work environment and region where you live (weather).

While hormone replacement therapy comes with side effects and possible long term complications (breast lumps, organ damage, etc.), another form of therapy may be less of a risk. You might have to give several forms of therapy a trial - one at a time - until you are comfortable with what works for you.

I, myself, used hormone replacement therapy after my hysterectomy in 1995. Due to reoccurring endometriosis (diagnosed in 1977), it finally hit stage 4 in 1995, and I opted for a complete hysterectomy instead of a partial, so that I wouldn't have to worry about future cervical cancer or any other kind of reproductive organ cancer.

Four hours after my surgery, I started with the dreaded flushing that led up to overwhelming hot flashes. I started HRT drugs on day two after surgery and continued for three years. By the year 1998, I was tired of the mammogram scares showing frequent and sizable breast lumps, some had to be aspirated. Not fun.

When routine blood work showed abnormal liver panel results, I turned to Black Cohosh capsules (herbal remedy) that I still use for hot flashes, my major complaint. When I was still employed, the fast pace at the hospital made me out and out sweat profusely. You can only peel off so many layers of clothing! So a small ice bag (about 2 inches round) strategically placed in the front of my brassiere (ice refilled every two hours) kept me cool to get through my shift.

For sleeping, no matter if it is winter, summer, spring or fall - I have two fans running and pointed directly at me from two different sides of the room. Plus an overhead ceiling fan. You do what you gotta do! Hubby likes his blankets. ::smile::

Written 1/1/2012

Published 12/20/2013 by awordlover - Anne DiGeorge

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Here is the link for awordlover's other hub on Herbal Remedies for Menopause where you might find alternative non-prescription solutions to your liking.

I hope this hub on Menopause has helped you in your quest for knowledge and comfort. Please visit Anne's other health hubs. Your comments are welcome.

Rachael O'Halloran

Updated 2/2/2014 - to replace pixelated Copyscape logos and correct format issues.

© 2013 awordlover


awordlover (author) on March 19, 2014:

#kidscrafts - thank you. I just read your ladybug hub and left you a message. I'm glad you like awordlover's hubs. I'm almost done uploading the last of her work. I have about 20 more to finish here. That's why I started my own account and followed you from there too. Thanks for the follow back.


kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on March 19, 2014:

What a great article, AwordLover! For sure helpful for those going through that time that can be quite annoying sometimes :-)

I like the vocabulary of the past "Change of Life" and "going through the Change." I like that now we call things by their proper name :-)

Definitely voted up, useful, interesting and awesome!

Have a great day!

awordlover (author) on December 21, 2013:

#Pamela Kinnaird W - since you have been through it already, thank you for the validation! And your comment. I think all women need a little validation when it comes to the symptoms they are feeling at any stage of menopause. When I'm in my own home, my response to those who "diss or tisk," is to announce: Now I'm going to crank up the air and put on all the available fans. Anyone need a sweater? -When in the home of others or public places, I've been known to go out to my car and turn the air conditioner on full blast until I am over the hot flash. Gotta deal with it any way you can! ^8^

Thank you for leaving a comment,


Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on December 20, 2013:

Lots of interesting information you have provided for us here. And I like the part where you say, "You can only peel off so many layers of clothing!" It's true. And as soon as you're down to the t-shirt and you give a panicked sigh about how hot you are, you've got someone commenting who has no idea what it's like! I'm so glad I'm past all that.

Voting up, useful, awesome and interesting.

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