Women speak out about how menopause really feels: here are the 35 issues women can experience during "the change." One or more may be your experience.
An electronic mailing list created by Judy Bayliss and Lucy L. Brown, Ph.D. at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been used to collect information about the true experience of menopause. From information given by the mailing list’s perimenopausal and menopausal subscribers, these women have compiled a list of 35 menopause issues– many of which have not yet been recognized by the medical mainstream.
If you’ve had menopausal issues that you’ve never been told to expect, and that your doctor can’t explain, you’ll be relieved to find that other women have had similar experiences. All of the challenges were reported to be cyclical or were relieved by therapies known to remedy hormone imbalances – the root cause of all menopause and perimenopause problems. (Many of these can be classified as perimenopausal, occurring in the months or years prior to the complete cessation of menstruation.)
Some Little Known Menopause Issues
- Bouts of rapid heartbeat
- Mental Confusion
- Itchy skin
- Memory lapses
Judy Bayliss and Lucy L. Brown, Ph.D.
Here are the 35 most seen menopause issues compiled by Judy Bayliss and Dr. Brown:
- Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
- Bouts of rapid heartbeat
- Mood swings, sudden tears
- Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
- Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
- Partial or complete loss of libido
- Dry vagina, resulting in painful intercourse; a general drying-out that can include eyes, mouth, joints, skin
- Crashing fatigue
- Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
- Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom – thoughts of one’s own death, picturing one’s own death
- Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
- Disturbing memory lapses
- Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence, where leakage occurs when one needs to urinate
- Itchy, crawly skin – feeling of ants crawling under the skin
- Aching, sore joints, possible carpal tunnel syndrome
- Increased muscle tension
- Breast tenderness
- Headaches increase or decrease
- Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
- Sudden bouts of bloat
- Depression that can become overwhelming; feeling of loss of self that has been dramatically relieved with hormone therapy
- Exacerbation of existing conditions
- Increase in allergies
- Weight gain, especially around waist and thighs, resulting in ‘the disappearing waistline’
- Hair loss or thinning on head, in pubic area, or on whole body; increase in facial hair
- Dizziness, light headedness, episodes of loss of balance
- Changes in body odor
- Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head – "the feeling of a rubber band snapping in the layer of tissue between skin and muscle…the precursor to a hot flash."
- Tingling in extremities, which can also be a symptom of B-12 deficiency, diabetes, or depletion of potassium or calcium
- Gum problems, increased gum bleeding
- Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, dry mouth, change in breath odor
- Osteoporosis (after several years)
- Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break more easily
- An additional symptom some report: tinnitus, a ringing in the ears or sounds of whooshing, bells, or buzzing.
Unfortunately, the 35 menopause issues listed above are often attributed to estrogen lack, and many doctors think that HRT is the best treatment. While HRT usually does work to relieve many of these menopausal concerns, there are better options – natural ones that present far less risk and equal benefit. (Recent research on conventional HRT drugs has shown that it increases breast cancer risk and does little to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.) Some of the 35 menopause challenges are the result of estrogen lack, but the majority are actually due to lack of progesterone and the resulting condition of estrogen dominance. Read more about low progesterone, estrogen dominance, and the use of natural hormones for challenges women face in additional articles on this site.
©Alternative Medicine Network 2009
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