Peri-menopause and Menopause – Part 1

middle aged woman

This is an email from a dear sister in Christ who has been through peri-menopause and menopause.  I’m thankful for the wisdom she is willing to share with us!

FATIQUE AND WEEPINESS

I began to experience huge fatigue that had never been a problem for me at age 52.  It was getting more and more difficult to get out of bed in the morning, even though I loved what my job.  The fatigue began to be accompanied by an on again off again low grade depression. I would weep at the drop of a hat, and along with the fatigue it was getting more and more difficult to continue to work.

A client who was familiar with thyroid disease  suggested that my cold and low body temperature , hair loss, thinning eyebrows, etc might be a strong indication of hypothyroidism. I went to my family doctor, had a TSH blood test, and yes, I did have Hypothyroidism. I have since found out through my own reading and research that it can be common in women who have Estrogen Dominance.

URINARY TRACT AND VAGINAL ISSUES

The other thing that happened at Peri-menopause is that in my late 40’s , I began to get many bladder infections, after intercourse. This was a new thing for me. My family physician suggested I make sure I voided after intercourse as soon as possible and that would help to eliminate this issue of infections. (From Peacefulwife – at any age, drinking a glass of water before sex and going IMMEDIATELY to the restroom afterwards helps prevent bladder infections.)  That worked!

As women age, the vaginal wall is thinner.  Also intercourse became just slightly painful at times. This was also due to the fact, that as estrogen begins to diminish, it cause less ‘plumping’ of the skin in the vagina and hence intercourse can become painful. (From Peacefulwife – there is also less lubricant produced as estrogen levels decline – using additional lubricant helps A LOT! i.e.: KY Jelly)

This was puzzling and slightly alarming to me. My husband and I had always enjoyed and delighted in our sex life, and for this to be happening was a real worry and concern for me.  I learned from my doctor, that the reason that my vaginal wall was thinning, my natural vaginal lubrication was lessening, and my moods were  bouncing all around (hence the weepiness) was because I was entering the phase called “Peri Menopause” – the beginning of the cessation of menstrual periods.

SPORADIC PERIODS

Some months I had very heavy bleeding , so intense that nothing seemed to keep me protected for more than an hour without the possibility of leaking! Other months, my period barely made an appearance. It was very difficult to chart my period on a calendar and to predict when it would arrive, something I had done for years, since I needed to know when I would become “PMS” .. at our house that meant Pretty Much Homicidal. I can laugh about it now , but at the time the three wonderful men in my life , my husband and two teenaged sons, didn’t think there was much to laugh at about PMS.

At the times I remembered, I would wear a pink or red ball cap when I knew my period was coming to let my sons and husband know I’d need some understanding and TLC at that time of the month.  They were amazingly kind and supportive and it helped them to have a ‘heads up’ that PMS mood swings were about to make a monthly appearance.

PMS can intensify for women entering PeriMenopause. (From Peacefulwife- YES! emotions can get very rocky during this time).  It seemed to me like a pretty nasty time.  I wondered what God had planned in all of this. I really worried about what was happening to our sex life, yet my husband was so tender and sweet and patient! I am very blessed.

HOT FLASHES

So… bedtime, there were many times, that all I wanted was sleep, due to the fatigue that persisted  because now hot flushes woke me up in the middle of the night! I would be soaking wet with sweat, and push the quilt off me, and open the windows wide. In a Canadian winter, at -10degrees , that is not the kindest thing to do to your spouse!

Then an hour later, I’d be cold…but soon after that, hot again. I compared notes with friends the same age, and this was typical of all of us. When we talked we would laugh hard at all of this and it really helped to know I wasn’t alone, but it was common to us all. (From Peacefulwife – I will be talking about some treatment options in the next post!)

LOWER LIBIDO

The other thing that came, was a diminished libido. Many nights, I would rather sleep, than have sexual relations with my husband. He is a very sensitive man and never demanded of me if he sensed that I would rather sleep.  I was also just not interested like I used to be:

  • partly because of the diminished libido
  • partly because I felt ashamed of what my body was doing.

I felt I was physically aging, but my wonderfully fit and active husband, was as desirable as ever. Even though we are very much in love, and are committed  Christians and I don’t believe either of us would ever defile our vows, I felt so bad that this part of our life together was taking a beating and not as satisfying because of me. I know how important sex is to men.

 I was afraid my husband would be disappointed and not satisfied with me .

For me, and my girlfriends who I could talk with about it, we found the physical changes to our bodies that menopause brought , difficult to adjust to. Our husbands’ bodies change too at this age, but for women our appearance seems to matter so much more.

We experienced the following:
1. Diminished libido
2. Thinning hair
3. Wrinkles!!!
4. Loss of collagen, and plumping, in the skin
5. Thinning lips
6. less colour in the skin
7. Peach fuzz hair on the sides of the cheeks
8. a little tummy appeared where there had never been one!
9.Vaginal dryness, I’m talking the Sahara desert!
10. Hot flushes that can appear at will , at awkward moments too!
11.Sentimental weepiness…
12. This one I am ashamed to admit, but fewer admiring glances from men. I know as a Christian that this is not something I EVER encouraged, but I was used to it, and when the looks from men began to stop, I noticed it.  April I’m being really honest and transparent here. I heard this same thing from other attractive Christian women friends as well. For us it meant they could tell we were no longer reproductive, and hence not desirable. Of course this is in error, and I soon learned to see it differently.

*****All the symptoms above, were not experienced equally or in the same way or amount by myself and my friends –   some came later…

Ladies, I don’t say the list to alarm you but to prepare you. I had no idea what PeriMenopause was about, or Menopause. My mothers generation DID NOT talk about these things amongst themselves or to their daughters.
If we can change that, these changes don’t have to be frightening, catch us unawares, OR be viewed as negative.

I believe that we are here, through God’s grace, on earth to learn. We are here such a very short time! As I grow older , the time goes faster! and at 62, although I consider myself young , healthy and vital, I CAN see the end of the road, a ways up ahead.

Life is not, nor did God ever mean it to be about how much stuff I own, how big and beautiful my house is, or how important other people think I am. It matters what God thinks of me…How faithful I am to what He calls me daily to do, and How I love those He puts in my life and how I love Him.  So in that perspective, I now view the physical changes  as me getting closer to the completion of my time here on earth and closer to the fullfilment of my life and Heaven!  That… is exciting!!!

I also think truly and honestly, that a woman who is committed to God, who lives a Godly life, and learns as she goes along, and has reached a rich older age, and accepts the physical changes that come, is absolutely beautiful !!!!

 

My husband still adores me, and tells me weekly and sometimes daily how beautiful I am! At 62!!

Now he’s not necessarily talking about physical beauty, although sometimes he is, but about the whole package. He and I both celebrate and are thrilled with the growth we have seen and the maturity in Christ that has developed in one another over our 41 year journey of marriage. One of the special joys that comes with a commited long term marriage is that you find yourself waking up every day with your best friend, who has witnessed your whole life! wow! What a treasure it truly is.

THE GOOD STUFF

oops , I got carried away! back to Menopause…. .

One of the wonderful emotional changes that comes is that .. you don’t worry so much about things. I truly don’t sweat the small stuff so much anymore. I have let go of my sons , their wives and their children, as I trust God with them now in ways I didn’t when they were under our roof.

I have learned over the years, that ‘this too shall pass’ and God’s way’s are not my ways.. thank goodness!  He sees the end of things where I only see the immediate moment. Someone told me once that when I worry about the future , it’s because when I imagine the scenarios that could happen in the future, I don’t usually worry ‘in the positive’ with God in the picture. But I worry the disaster scenarios! How true is that!?  (From Peacefulwife -God showed me that too!)

The wonderful thing is that as our skin slackens at menopause, so does our worry, it just isn’t the same.. there is a wonderful emotional ‘relaxing’ as well.

And…. the wonderful things in life, such as grandchildren , beautiful skies, the fragrance of flowers, and on and on, somehow become sweeter!  Life takes on a wonderful richness, that I just didn’t quite see when I was so busy working and raising my family the same way.

This isn’t just my experience of the 50’s and 60’s but also my girlfriends’.  My husband and I now joke and laugh more … I learned to ride a motorcycle, at 55. It shocked a few people who know me as a ladylike woman from the ‘nice side’ of town :)!  But I did it so I could be with my husband as he is passionate about riding . It is something I would not ever have considered when I was younger and took myself way more seriously.

So like my list above of the physical changes/challenges of Perimenopause and Menopause
here is my emotional list of changes…
1. Weepiness
2. More faith
3. Less worry
4. richer appreciation for all things beautiful and tender
5. more laughter
6. Don’t take myself or others so seriously
7. Generosity of heart and spirit
8. Forgiveness for myself and others
9. Risk taking, in an adventurous way.. :)
10. Joy
11. Peace in my heart.

If you can embrace the changes as part of God’s plan for women and not something to be dreaded or feared, it is a wonderful season of life.

Women become the rich full bodied, choice wine in the wine cellar... I so admired Audrey Hepburn for the grace she epitomized. She became the spokeswoman for a large charity later in life.  I like to think that God wants ‘older women’ to be living the “Titus 2 woman” experience. We have lived and loved, and have much to share to help younger women face life with courage, because we’ve been there, and we know with God as our Father and the Holy Spirit as our guide comforter and helper, we can live a life that will enable us to hear the words ‘Well done , thou good and Faithful servant. ‘ one day.

Oh this story would not be complete if I didn’t say that sex now is even more fun.. we take a bit longer, and cuddle more! At times maybe just have to be a bit more creative. I hope we still enjoy this wonderful part of our married life as long as God gives my husband and I time together on earth.

About these ads

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 Comments on “Peri-menopause and Menopause – Part 1”

  1. becwillmylife
    June 23, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    I would love to know how long it took for your guest writer to get from how she felt at 52 to how she feels now at 62. I am on the very symptomatic phase of all of this and to be honest, it doesn’t seem like a feat season of life presently. Due to migraines and dizziness I had to postpone a trip my husband had planned for us to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I too feel sad and blue when I am having all of these symptoms. I feel overwhelmed and anxious at times….feel

    • peacefulwife
      June 23, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      I will ask! But I can tell you as a pharmacist this phase can last for over a year or several years many times.

  2. becwillmylife
    June 23, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Sorry about the typos…I was on my iPhone- presently it doesn’t seem like a great season of life. I hope looking back it will. My hormones seem to stabilized somewhat and I get along fine for about two or three months and then I am hit with a very difficult week where I miss work due to headaches (sometimes migraines), dizziness, weak and achey body, off balance, slight depression and anxiety, and vision changes. My mom and one of my sister’s had breast cancer so I have been told by them not to get on hormones….both were estrogen fed cancers. Anyway, I am hopeful that I will get to the other side of this but it is very challenging when you are in the middle of it all.

    • peacefulwife
      June 23, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Becwillmylife,
      Please see your MD. There are treatments available to prevent migraines – certain blood pressure meds and anti-convulsants. Also, there are meds you can take when a migraine hits that can help a great deal.

      Some women find that taking B6 or a B complex helps. I will be talking more about treatments tomorrow. But you can definitely check with your MD also. :)

      Praying for wisdom and God’s glory in this season of life! That it will be a time of depending on Him not your feelings. :)

  3. lindagreeneyes
    June 23, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Hi becmywillmylife,
    Everywoman’s journey through menopause is as unique as the woman herself. It took me almost 5 years to get through the emotional part of menoapause, but that doesn’t necessarily hold true for everyone else. In the middle of all of it, came my diagnosis of Thyroid Disease, so that changed things up for me as well. Also

  4. lindagreeneyes
    June 23, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    oops, posted too soon :)
    also during ‘perimenopause/menopause was ‘empty nest syndrome’ which blindsided me. I did not expect that I would ever experience anything like that! I couldn’t wait for my sons to marry as I thought I would then have the daughters that I always wanted! :) well, you know what they say about ‘expectations’? A disappointment/resentment in waiting.. That statement has nothing to do with my wonderful DIL ( daughters in law) and everything about me. I had to learn to let go… and to love, accept, and keep my advice and expectations to myself. It was a difficult but good lesson. My DIL are doing a wonderful job as wives of my sons, and mothers to my grandsons.. I am blessed. Neither of these two wonderful women, needed or wanted a new ‘mother.’ They did want, my love, support and prayers, and that is what I do now. God wanted me to learn new lessons about humility and being a servant. I am stubborn and often learn the ‘hard way.’ So that all got thrown in the mix of menopause, and slowed down my emotional journey thru it all. The physical part of menopause, probably took 5 years. I missed my period and that was shock!!! I always thought ,’whew , what a relief it will be when that is over.’ But it meant I could never have any more children… and I had to ‘grieve’ that . Another surprise. Be gentle with yourself, find something you LOVE to do, try new things, embrace your life, and LISTEN to God. I found He spoke and is speaking loudly once I slowed down enough to listen. Every stage of life is important for women, our bodies can be our guides along with God… there are times and seasons put in place for a reason I think,…. I have learned to knit , and spin wool, taken art lessons, took my dog through dog obedience, dog therapy, and agility training! Learned new computer skills, and started to write music again, something I had long abandoned. I found new passion(s) and learned that after many years of child raising, it was good and healthy to put the focus somewhat back on me again. New plans, include maybe completing my university degree after all! Find yourself a prayer partner if you don’t already have one.. someone to listen and support you, for whom you can do the same.
    I don’t want to sound preachy, just love yourself thru this.. let God and your husband love you too. Be gentle..

  5. nina
    June 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Oh my! O have been told by my ob that I am perimenopausal over the last few months. My body has been going thru major changes and I couldn’t stand it. I am going to be 37 this Sept and felt like its to early lol. I noticed a change in Feb this year went to dr in April and its just weird for me. I even asked my husband last night if he is still attracted to me. I am not feeling pretty lately and my sex drive is gone! My moods are all over and its hard to deal
    with. I’m a cry baby for everything and oh so sensitive

  6. nina
    June 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Oops cut off to soon. I have had bad headaches can’t get out of bed some mornings lots of anxiety sweaty pig yuk. I have off the wall periods and when its that time I feel like I’m.possessed! I can’t stand it I have just finished up intensive therapy last year for a bad child hood and some free time and.now this.

  7. lindagreeneyes
    June 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Hi Nina, I typed a long reply post to you and then , zip, gone! So here is a shorter reply. I’m so glad I happened to be home from church this morning and can answer your post. April gave some great advice in an earlier reply here about listening to your doctor. There are things you can do, with your doctor,that may help. That said, there are also other things you can do yourself to help cope with this change. First of all , it’s not something you can avoid :) I sure hoped that I could sneak thru it, but that didn’t happen. The challenges you describe are common to many, and something I had to accept. I’m stubborn and a bit of a fighter, and don’t go easily to the place of acceptance. I try to bargain with God and don’t always like His plans for me…but I’m learning that if I don’t fight, but cooperate, I don’t feel so victimized :)I missed my period when it finally was gone, and that was a huge surprise to me! My Mom’s generation called this time of life ..’the change’ and that’s what it is. Your sex drive WILL return, but it all may look a bit different. We ( my husband and I ) take it slower, cuddle more, and have had to be more sensitive to one another’s need for sleep etc. But it’s still great! I got my hormone levels checked , several times over the years,and at one point my doctor told me I had the testosterone levels of a pre pubescent girl! That meant I had none…so no wonder I had no NONE libido. I took testosterone, under his closely watched supervision for a short time and things improved. You are quite a bit younger that I was, but menopause does happen to young women. There is a lady who is a world renowned speaker on hormone’s who has a website, and went thru menopause at a very young age as well. I am not sure here is where I should post that link.. April that’s up to you. However, you can find all sorts of things to help, but you’ll need to do your research. And Pray. Find a girlfriend to talk to , who you can pray with , and for, who can support you. Its a bit of a steam roller, menopause, .. You can’t stop it , so you get out of the way, wave as it goes by, and find the good in it. I read something earlier today I really liked,..” Forgive the past, focus on the present, and embrace the future. That sounds like God to me.

  8. Ann
    June 24, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I am56 and think I may be having some menopause symptoms. I had a hysterectomy but kept my ovaries so it is hard to tell.

    My symptoms are lethargy and body aches. I have a very hard time getting up in the morning. I have more sinus issues and sometimes blurry vision when on thermometer a long time.

    I have seen weight gain and even preprocessing is weight shifting.I look in the mirror andseemymother.

    Observational dryness antitrust I use Estracecream. Lately I notice I do not have internet in sex anymore. I do not exercise, I am too tired.

    Does this sound like menopause? Ifeelguiltybecause I am so much less productive than I used to be.

    • peacefulwife
      June 24, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Ann,

      I think you have multiple things going on. As a pharmacist, I wonder if your vitamin D Might be low, that can cause body aches. Although that can also be a side effect of some cholesterol meds and it can accompany fever if you have the flu.

      I would like you to have a checkup and have blood work done to check vitamin D, thyroid, blood sugar, etc.

      Lethargy can also be caused by lack of sleep or as a side effect of medications, there are many causes of lethargy.

      So check with your MD and let me know how you are doing!

      And you can talk to your pharmacist about what you can take for your sinuses.

  9. Ann
    June 24, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Sorry for the typos, my tablet likes to incorrect!

  10. amberdover
    June 30, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    Thank you for this! My mom is going through this phase in life. I’ll definitely share this post with her. I can understand a couple things on here because I have Endometriosis and my hormones are rather wacky. I think too much estrogen causes it. So I’m taking natural progesterone in cream form. I pray it will help because the fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms are frustrating…especially excessive itchiness on my wrists….a week before my period. That’s probably the strangest symptom I have. Happens every month as my Endometriosis gets worse (can’t be lasered out because of where it is).

    • peacefulwife
      June 30, 2013 at 6:57 am #

      Amberdover,
      I’m glad it is helpful!

      I have seen women, during pregnancy, have rashes on their hands and wrists – it has to do with the changes in hormones. That is interesting, and frustrating! Do you break out in a rash? Do anti-histamines help?

      • amberdover
        June 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

        it does get red from scratching or maybe I never noticed it was already red? I’ve never tried antihistamines since I figured the cause was from within not on the outside like a bug bite. I’ll have to try that. Thanks! :)

  11. daughter
    October 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Not looking forward to the menopause ‘adventure’ but I have to be thankful that I have lived this long and God willing will live through that. The ‘let’s have babies’ stage of life was an exciting time. I thank God for allowing me to enjoy and accomplish things in my life that I enjoyed.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Peri-Menopause and Menopause – Part 2 | Peacefulwife's Blog - June 24, 2013

    […] we looked at a fellow sister-in-Christ’s experience with peri-menopause and menopause and gleaned wisdom from her […]

  2. Understanding Men, Testosterone and Temptation – Part 1 | Peacefulwife's Blog - June 25, 2013

    […] have looked at PMS  (Part 1 and Part 2) and peri-menopause and menopause (Part 1 and Part 2) and how EASY it is for us as women to become hateful, easily angered, depressed, […]

  3. Understanding Men, Testosterone and Temptation – Part 1 | Peaceful Single Girl - June 25, 2013

    […] we  have looked at PMS  (Part 1 and Part 2) and peri-menopause and menopause (Part 1 and Part 2) and how EASY it is for us as women to become hateful, easily angered, depressed, […]

  4. “I Don’t Feel Loved.” | Peacefulwife's Blog - October 11, 2013

    […] Peri-menopause and Menopause Part 1 […]

  5. Getting Back on Track | Peacefulwife's Blog - November 12, 2013

    […] going through peri-menopause or menopause […]

You are welcome to leave constructive, edifying comments or sincere questions. I do have some restrictions on what comments I am able to accept, you may find my comment policy at the top of my home page)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,543 other followers

%d bloggers like this: