Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Menopause and Hot Flashes

My fan...less than 2 dollars at Pier One Imports
It works wonders
Hey Girls,

Hate to tell you this, but it’s inevitable; your period is not going to last forever. Mine left, came back, left, came back, left for fourteen months, and came back again! This time I think it’s gone for good.

My third and last child arrived when I was forty-two years old. Ovulation continued to occur monthly until I was forty-five. During the next year, my signs of ovulation became milder and questionable. “I’m beginning menopause,” I thought. My mother told me her last period was at age forty-six (although she had a surprise two years later, but that’s another story), so surely my last one was just around the corner.

Ha! Not so.

That thing lasted off and on for the next six years. And, I’m still not one hundred percent certain that the last egg is gone - and I’m fifty-one!

My gyno is puzzled. My numbers say “menopause” and my sono looks good, but still, less than a year ago another egg came from out of the woodwork. Hmmmm…

Let’s talk about hot flashes.

“Ohhhh…I’m so hotttt.” Sounds like I'm talking to my husband, but I’m usually taking my hands out of hot dish water to pull my hair off my neck and up into a ponytail.

Seriously and thankfully, my hot flashes are mild and seldom. To some degree, they are controllable. I can always connect a hot flash, aka power surge, to something that I’m doing.

List of possibilities:

- sleeping in too much heat
- flat ironing or curling my hair in a hurry
- blow drying my daughters’ hair when I’m not in the mood
- drinking a hot beverage when overdressed
- being overdressed (sometimes anything more than a bra and panties)
- frustration with my child/children
- driving my car wearing a coat
- the first challenge during my horseback riding or tennis lesson (Sometimes I have to take off my sun glasses and wipe away steam so that I can see. Yes, my hot head caused the steam on the sun glasses.)
- hard candy

Do you see some common threads?

If I can avoid heat, sugar, physical challenges, and frustration, I’ll never have another hot flash.

So far, menopause is not bad. I deal with the glow and the grease that pops out of my facial pores during the flash with a tissue, and the sweat that may occur while sleeping, with a fan. Mentally, I'm actually much calmer and I feel somewhat free. After the irritability of PMS and perimenopause, I could only go up. Or, was it my three stair step toddlers/preschoolers taking me over the edge? Hmmmm…

From what I’m told by various friends, symptoms range from very mild to extreme. Most handle it with a sense of humor. More than once, I've been told that speeding down the highway with your head out of the window is a good remedy for a hot flash.

Regardless of how and when menopause happens to you, keep in mind that many other women share your particular symptoms and emotions. Let’s stop comparing, competing, and whispering. After all, we’re sisters. :)

Anything you want to say about menopause? Any info or suggestions - especially for those that have had surgery or extreme symptoms? Got anything to add to my “cause of a hot flash” list? :)


Lee said...

Well, I got tons to say! I am surgically induced with my menopause. My boobs have inverted, my body has dried up, I am pissed off all the time, except for when I am crying. I get hot flashes every hour or so and I can just be sitting still!! My hair is falling out. The bright spot is that I have lost some weight and seem to have settled back to where I was before babies. Oh, and no bloating.

What do I do?? Well, I am getting ready to start my third kind of hormones.

Keep your fingers crossed. How do I cope...I Blog!!

Menopausal New Mom said...

Anita, what a great post! Of course you know that I can relate BIG TIME! When I read the part about driving down the highway with your head out the window I laughed out loud. I swear, I just did that a couple of weekends ago and even though it was freezing out, it took more than a mile for me to cool off! True story! I swear!

My periods just became inconsistent for about 6 months which had me running and peeing on sticks like crazy and then just stopped all together a year ago last August. Not a sign of my monthly visitor since.

Poor Lee, you sound like you are in worse shape than me but I want to know how you got back your girlish figure! I'm fighting the battle of the bulge big time since the big "M" took over my life!

So far, I'm not considering hormone replacement although if you read my old posts, my flashes over this past summer nearly had me to the point of begging for them. Seem to have settled down with the cooler weather.

Can't wait to hear from the rest of the ladies on this topic!

My Aimless Infatuation said...

Though it has been many years since I went through menopause(I was 45 at the time)I remember it very well. Hot flashes were never one of my problems but I did have a nervous breakdown as a result. Thank goodness for an attentive Dr. that worked with me and found out that my testosterone(yes,testosterone)level was low. She put me on Estratest and I was fine after that. She told me that in many cases in history that there were women who were put in mental hospitals and kept there for years with nothing more than hormone levels gone crazy. So,take care of yourself and see a good Dr. Just thought I would share that with you and I'm hoping you feel better soon.

Unknown said...

I'm 46 and I think I'm in the beginning stages. My twin has been told that her levels are low and she is taking bioidenticals. I'm not sure how much of it is helping. I'm hoping that I feel joy at not having a period ever again but at the moment, they are sporadic. I'm taking notes so keep it coming.

forever lost said...

yea seem to be in a constant wave of hot flashes and pissed off, really pissed off about stupid stuff (husband ordering a snoring machine or getting the colonoscopy)
started wearing short sleeves again, maybe I can wear a long sleeve in a few years. OH and the big one Sex? what is that
I am turning 52 this december and think it has truly done its last...we will see?
love the honesty in this post

Abby said...

Okay, I turn 45 in about a month. I don't think I've actually had a text book hot flash yet, but I know the big M is around the corner.

I just try to avoid talking/thinking about it and maybe the whole thing will just pass me by!

Anita said...

LEE, not good. I'm sorry you're having a bad experience. I hope the new hormone treatment will work. Has anyone recommended anything else - diet changes, vitamins, exercise. I'm guessing that you've already heard lots of recommendations in all those areas. Thanks for telling us your symptoms. By the way, what are inverted boobs? Would that be inverted nipples?

MENO DEB, I was thinking about you and another friend when I wrote about having your head out of the car window. I remembered reading that in your blog. :) My friend Z. told me that it helps to "freeze" her makeup onto her face. :) Glad you appreciate the post. I hope to hear from more people too.

MY AIMLESS INFATUATION, Wow! You had quite an experience - glad it's over. Glad you got the help you needed. Thanks for telling us about your specefic problem - it will make others question those issues too. It'll be good when the time and information comes when women and doctors can stop these problems before they get out of hand.

Anita said...

CHOCOLATE, I don't miss a period at all. It takes a while to get over the feeling that a period is equated to youth, but after awhile, who cares!
I wish you and your twin well.

BOOTS, You made me laugh. By the way, what is a snoring maching? :) Actually, it doesn't matter. Let's just live with the fact that we're (wives and husbands) all gettin' a little quirky. :)
Oh, yeah, and you're right about the sleeves. Short is better. I always have a jacket available for when I'm cold.
One more thing - someone gave me long sleeved, long pants, flannel PJs a couple of years ago. Can you imagine?

ABBY, I know how you feel. When I was 45, I saw no purpose in worryng about something that wasn't a problem. But when I started waking up 3 or 4 times during the night (about age 49), I got mad and tried to figure out solutions. I NEED my sleep!
You're very may coast right through it. I'm thankful to have time and desire for sports and (sometimes) exercise. Don't know if it's the answer or not, but I'm not giving it up to find out! :)

Bernie said...

Just want to say hello and I know you will survive these periods and forget all about them some day. I wont say anything about what the future may hold--- for one thing---I don't know.

Unknown said...

My menopause was surgically induced over ten years ago and I still have hot flashes!!! I am cutting way back on hormones, almost done with them, but every little change brings all the symptoms raging back to deal with. I have found that maca helps a bunch and it is all natural. So hang in there ladies and in the meantime stand naked in the snow!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Anita said...

BERNIE, Glad to hear from you and to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for giving all the readers hope and assurance.

JULIE, thanks for letting everyone know about "maca." Maybe those that searching for relief will research.

I like your advice to stand naked in the snow. Did you hear that everyone! :)


Anonymous said...

We women have one thing after another that ends up being public knowledge! Glad I had no idea of this at 12 :)!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Wow, so this is why we're all nuts. Do we even out somewhere along the line?

I get some of my worse flashes coming out of the shower. Just cleaned my body and then I'm wringing wet with sweat.

Anita said...

THE THINGS WE CARRIED, Yes, I think we are more interesting than the guys. Never a dull moment. :)

MIDLIFE JOB HUNTER, coming out of the shower...that's a new one. :) Once, a friend told me that she had to get in the shower to cool down.


Cindy said...

I had my last child at 37 and menopause was complete by age 49. Now I'm just fat and sassy. And tired. :-)

Anita said...

LETTERS FROM MIDLIFE, Fat and Sassy is good! :) And by the way, we're all tired.
Thanks for visiting and for continuing the conversation. I'm glad to hear from you.


the mom said...

Well, this is not a comment about this menopause post, but I see from your profile we have many other things in common. And yes, it's interesting reading about people from the other side of the world, that in the end, live a quite similar life to yours...
Have you been to Europe?
Are you in the beginning of your tennis career? This is my second 10-week course.

Hilary said...

Oh yes, I have to add alcohol to that list. Inevitably, if I'm drinking something, and that surge of heat rises from within, you can bet I'm sipping on some wine or a cocktail. Great post. Most of us over that certain age can relate. :)

Anita said...

THE MOM, Greetings to you in Italy! Thank you for visiting my blog. I will go to yours and tell you about my tennis lessons.

Anita said...

HILARY, I was wondering when someone would mention alcohol. :) My last sip of champagne caused quite a little rise in temperature.
I'm pretty much a teetotaler, but I know most of you are not.


Cheryl Wooten said...

It's happening to me intense workout in the morning plus a cup of coffee is enough to send me into the walk in freezer at the restaurant next door. Glad to know I'm not alone :-)

Anita said...

CLW, a walk in freezer...that'll definitely lower the thermostat! :) Sometimes we know what will trigger a little warmth, but we still have our hot beverages.:) Thanks for joining the conversation.


Nakamuras on Saipan said...

"If I can avoid heat, sugar, physical challenges, and frustration, I’ll never have another hot flash."
OMG I'm doomed....I live on a tropical island, teach 6th grade, have 18 grandchildren, have to learn Japanese because we are moving to Japan in a year....and if I don't have sugar in my coffee I can't cope....

Anita said...

NAKAMURAS, I think you're're in trouble!
Will you be living by water, able to douse yourself? :)
Or, when you're in the classroom, have an ice pack stored in your insolated lunch bag, ready to put on the back of your neck when the kids drive your batty. :)
No way are you to give up the sugar in your coffee!