Foggy Brain, Hot Flashes, Mood Swings, Oh My!

Sometimes I wonder if I should just rename this blog writes great for 2 weeks and then slacks off.  I am going to discuss a topic that affects only women in the later part of life.  Peri Menopause   Evert woman will go through it, but every woman will not experience it the same.  The Mayo clinic defines “Perimenopause, also called the menopausal transition, is the interval in which a woman’s body makes a natural shift from more-or-less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause.”  This sounds like there is nothing to it.

The symptoms according to the Mayo clinic are irregular periods, hot flashes and sleep issues, mood changes,  vaginal and bladder problems, decreasing fertility, less interest in sex, loss of bone, your cholesterol levels change for the worse.  The average woman going through this may have all symptoms, some symptoms, or none at all and at different times different symptoms.  This stage can last for years.  Two sisters I know have gone through this and one had no symptoms and the other deals with hot flashes and most of the same symptoms I am experiencing .

The funny thing is this stuff sneaks up on you.  You don’t just one day wake up and experience hot flashes or mood changes.  I noticed the changes while I was still working at the dealership.  I didn’t need to wear my sweater all the time in the ac.  In fact I was wanting the ac cranked higher in my office. Those who know me know that would never be the case as I am always cold.  I didn’t even question it.  Then the sweats started near the end of my employment.  I was moody. I would have angry outbursts at my husband. I just attributed them to stress.  By then I started to get scared.  I attributed all symptoms to the fact that I had gained so much weight and was under so much stress the past few years.  This still scared me lots and I made a doctor appointment for the first time in years.  I told her all the things I was going through and she smiled.  She just said “oh, you are going through Peri Menopause”.

Needless to say I ran home and googled that.  I found that brain “fogginess”, mood swings, and sweats were some of the symptoms.  I found comfort in knowing that I was not going crazy.  This gave me hope that one day all of this will end.

I researched alternatives to hormone replacement options.  My doctor is not a big fan of hormone replacement.  She is just not impressed with the research on it.  WebMD states that hormone replacement has a slight increase in chances of getting cancer.  They seem to feel that alternatives are not proven to help. For me I don’t want any increased chance of getting cancer, period.  I want something to help safely.

I am speaking about this for two reasons. One, I have never heard other friends or family members discuss this. Two, the symptoms can affect my life in negative ways.  Let me tell you about my experience with Peri Menopause.  The week or so before my period I start sleeping like the dead.  I’m talking the dog prancing on my hardwood bedroom floor in the middle of the night (this means she needs to go out!) won’t wake me.  The smell of dog poo on the floor won’t wake me.  My husband laying next to me having a coughing fit all night long won’t wake me.  I swear someone could run a jack hammer next to my head and I won’t wake up.  This symptom happens while sleeping at night and during naps.  Oh and I have to take at least one nap a day during this time.  The nap will last at least 2 hours too.  Thankfully I don’t have the night sweats and can sleep normally most of the time.

During this time I have moments where I can’t put a coherent sentence together.  I am so bone tired that I just can’t think straight. I drink coffee up the wazoo to wake up, but this causes the symptoms to get worse despite some relief for a few moments. My house gets messy, my cooking lapses and this column gets ignored.  The sweats can get so bad in the Florida heat that I look as if I am some woman dying of a scary disease.  Back when we had a pool I went to the pool store to pick up chlorine.  I stood there speaking with the owner and out of the blue I started sweating like I had a fever.  The hair at the back of my neck was soaked in about 3 minutes time.   She thought I was contagious.  I explained that I was going through Peri Menopause.  She smiled and said oh I have been going through it too. Just not the sweat part.

There are ways to relieve the symptoms.  Losing weight helps.  Exercise helps.  I take black cohash supplements twice daily to relieve the symptoms.  Eating more naturally helps too.  Since I found out what I have, I have learned ways to make my life more “normal”. I work really hard on not blowing up at my husband and anyone else around me.  I have major relapses when I stop walking, eating right, and taking the black cohash.  WebMD says that Black Cohash has not been proven to work, but it is a life changer for me.

The last week or so has been terrible concerning the symptoms.  Our lives had been Topsy turvy for a few weeks prior.  My exercise has become spiratic, the taking of my vitamins (including black cohash) has not been done on a daily basis, and I am actually craving junk food.  I lost interest even in my most loved activities and I was sad a lot.  I could not even look at this blog.  I just gave up.  Not only do I give up during this time, but I become a recluse.  I don’t want to see or speak to anyone.  This includes my kids, my parents, and my beloved grand kids.

Hopefully this has changed until next month.  I woke up this morning easily.  I went on face book and actually wrote this blog post!  Yippee!  I am thinking clearer and looking forward to the day instead of laying on the couch wrapped in a beautiful afghan my mom made dreading the day.  I have my final exam in the tax course to complete by Monday and I also got a holiday job with Bath and Body Works at the mall.

I plan on getting the ingredients for a menopausal tincture today from the Herb Corner. The recipe is here.  I also want to get some progesterone cream from the health food store.  The nurse at my doctors office said it will get worse before it gets better so I need to prepare.  Wow, I will leave you with that happy thought today!  lol.


4 thoughts on “Foggy Brain, Hot Flashes, Mood Swings, Oh My!”

  1. Well your blog makes me dread getting into my late 40's early 50's. I do feel for you, and your grand kids and kids love you even when you don't want to talk :). It won't be like this forever! Glad your writing again. Love, Heather

  2. Don't because you could take after one of your Grandmothers. Since learning to control it in most ways, life has gotten so much better, just really have to control the junk food (which you don't eat), exercise enough (which you do wickedly well), and keep finding the correct amount of stuff to help ease the symptoms.

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