Going through "The Change"

Menopause - how it impacts your health, your sexuality, and your life in general.
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MyWifesMan
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Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:14 pm

DW is now apparently in menopause. And man, is she moody and anxiety ridden. Shes hot and then she's suddenly cold. She seems to be letting everything bug and worry her. This all began to come on just as her already irregular monthlies began to cease. But these hormonal-driven mood swings are now clearly more frequent/more intense. In the past, what might have been a slight disagreement and no big deal, nowadays, gets her really cranked up. A few times I wondered if her head might begin spinning around. Most of the time she is her normal self, and then, out of the blue - BAM! - "incoming!" ("Too late/casualties!").

Questions:
Is the early portion of menopause the most intense period of these mood swings and then they begin to moderate? And how long does the most intense period of such symptoms generally last (A couple of years? More? :shock:)?

As this seems to be a natural transition period - with symptoms typical of most - are supplements or prescriptions helpful and advisable or are they potentially dangerous and best to be avoided? I'm always wary that we may reach for medications when that may not be wise or even needed.

Any thoughts out there? The boys and I are trying to keep our household as stress-free as possible for her, taking care of the vast majority of the housework, etc.

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby Leah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:19 pm

She should visit her doctor.

Again, I'm the anomaly. I went through menopause without any hormones or anything. I don't recommend every woman do that. I just tend to be a rather no-excuses sort of person.
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby seeking perspective » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:27 pm

Many doctors will tell you that some of the scary HRT studies were flawed; most doctors consider HRT beneficial, at least for a time. HRT isn't medication; rather, it is a replacement that helps stabilize the hormone fluctuations.

Some women have very few menopausal symptoms. My mother's symptoms lasted six months. She had a friend whose symptoms lasted twelve years. Your wife should talk with a doctor familiar with women's health and review her current symptoms. If her quality of life is suffering, she will be able to discuss options, including both HRT and supplements.

It is as frustrating to be the person experiencing the fluctuations and mood swings as to be a member of the family.
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby Leah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:30 pm

It should be mandatory if there are outbursts and whatnot. I was pretty deep into my recovery during that time, so I know how much work it was not to give in. It took me about two years to get through menopause. I could have done without the hot flashes and the sleeplessness, that's for sure.
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby mom210 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:52 pm

I am 52.. Last year I had three cycles all year long.. this year ( 6 months in) I have already had 4 cycles... I would say I am in the midst of going through menopause.. but truthfully.. other than the wacky periods.. I don't experience any other symptoms...
I would have her visit her dr .

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:33 pm

Don't get me wrong - she's not terribly different MOST of the time. But she does let things upset her quicker than in the past. Then she'll go for a while and it seems that she's her old self. She's always asking whether I feel cold or "is it hot in here?" It doesn't seem so frequent that she needs meds to tamp thing down a bit. I can see some doc just telling her, "well, that's menopause for you." Either that or him unnecessarily putting her on some hormone replacement. I have just become cynical over there being a pharmaceutical answer for everything malady.

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby Leah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:46 pm

No, but if there is a medical root to her symptoms, then she deserves to make an informed decision.

From your OP, you make it sound like you guys are walking on eggshells. I think it is okay for a husband to gently and lovingly ask a wife to work a little harder on not letting the hormones rule the day.
Leah

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:51 pm

From your OP, you make it sound like you guys are walking on eggshells.

Not typically - but sometimes and more obvious since menopause has settled in. She's always been a bit sensitive. But I can well tell this is hormonal. And I think she mostly agrees but doesn't necessarily recognize it when its actually happening. I greatly doubt she'd accept in pharmaceutical to deal with what she doesn't think is anything but a natural stage in a woman's life (and she might just be right).

I think it is okay for a husband to gently and lovingly ask a wife to work a little harder on not letting the hormones rule the day.


Leah, that is very true. But she never takes that approach well when I point that out - typically because I tend to bring it up when her hormones are on the warpath - and it's hard not to do that as a response in the moment. I think her constant multitasking (a mom thing?) has a good bit to do with her stressing out - as she can't just ever seem to just relax. And to a large extent, she's always been like that. But add in her amped up hormones up and, well, its just not good sometimes. I just wondered what others have experienced. Thanks.

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby Leah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:25 pm

You'd rather keep yourself and your kids walking on eggshells because your wife doesn't handle admonishment well? You could be doing this awhile.
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby eliza1 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:32 pm

My terrible hormonal issues were in the year leading up to my very infrequent periods. But now I get them sporadically and I don't even know when. I'm sleeping again, praise God.

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:18 pm

Leah commented: You'd rather keep yourself and your kids walking on eggshells because your wife doesn't handle admonishment well? You could be doing this awhile.


Absolutely NOT! I'm unsure as to how you came to such a conclusion, as I explained that I HAVE been pressing her, at times even when she is on a "hormone high. " I have also talked to her about this later, in a calm atmosphere. I tend to be very direct and a confronter - and yet have slowly learned that there is a time, place and appropriate approach to do so - and it's not as though she can just command her hormones to "behave!" But she has to recognize for herself when her hormones are affecting her, and what she feels comfortable (medical wise) doing about it.

But, truly, I am simply trying to glean from others what their experiences have been, as this is all rather new to me. Before her menopause had fully settled in, we had fleeting experiences with her hormone swings, but now I can see that there is a pattern that, although not continuous, occasionally reveals hormones strongly at work. Then they will settle down for very long periods (couple of months) of time. Sometimes, I don't immediately recognize what is going on (and it may have been quite some time since a flareup) until I realize that it's nothing that I have done, and yet, unfortunately, that can be AFTER I have already confronted her - which can make things temporarily worse. As in the midst of a hormone spike, she can take things very personally.

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby Leah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:35 pm

I wasn't accusing you of anything or making assumptions.

I'm going to suggest you all have a chat when she's not in the middle of a crisis and ask her to please be aware of her feelings and ask her to use phrases like, "I need a minute. Please excuse me." "I'm sorry, I'm not handling this well." Then everyone move to neutral corners before feelings have a chance to escalate.

That's what worked in my experience.
Leah

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:59 pm

It's all good, Leah - and sounds like sensible advice. I suppose this menopause thing is just a challenge we'll both have to learn how to lovingly navigate. Perhaps it will be mercifully short in duration?

I can remember back when older male friends of mine used to tell me stories about their menopausal wives. I used to laugh and think they were all simply exaggerating. But I've learned to not laugh at hormones, as it's amazing how intensely they can affect someone (everyone :lol: ).

But I AM very wary of pharmaceutical solutions unless shown otherwise. And so one of the things I am curious about is what DWs out there have used medications for menopause symptoms and what their experiences have been? Or is the first year simply more difficult? As I realize this can last a long time.

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby Leah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:09 pm

I hope ledgemoor will weigh in here. He is a huge advocate of bioidentical hormone replacement. He will be able to tell you more than a lot of folks.
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby seeking perspective » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:25 pm

MyWifesMan wrote:
But I AM very wary of pharmaceutical solutions unless shown otherwise. And so one of the things I am curious about is what DWs out there have used medications for menopause symptoms and what their experiences have been? Or is the first year simply more difficult? As I realize this can last a long time.


Although I kept my ovaries after a hysterectomy, the surgery shocked them enough that they didn't completely wake back up. When I began experiencing symptoms of low estrogen, I was placed on a low dose of estradiol. It is a bioidentical HRT, although it is not one that is done at a compounding pharmacy. I've had a wonderful experience. It keeps my estrogen levels stable and normal. The important thing with HRT is that it isn't just about mood swings and hot flashes. Low estrogen can also lead to depression, bone weakness, depression, heart palpitations and general heart problems, yeast infections, memory loss, and more.

Regardless of what option your wife chooses, she should still have a conversation with her doctor, get her hormone levels tested, and discuss all of her options--including the option of just putting up with it all. There are short-term and long-term medical issues worth considering. I have been very happy with my HRT. It doesn't eliminate all my symptoms, but it does make them tolerable in a way that I can function normally at work and at home. It is simply replacing something that had been normal in my body, so it isn't a medication in the same way that an antibiotic is, in my mind.
You turned my wailing into dancing . . .
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:43 pm

Seeking, is it expensive? Did your insurance cover it?

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby seeking perspective » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:45 pm

MyWifesMan wrote:Seeking, is it expensive? Did your insurance cover it?


I have a $0 co-pay. With my previous insurance, it was $10-15 a month. Again, I am not talking about going through a compounding pharmacy where everything is custom-designed for the patient's individual needs.
You turned my wailing into dancing . . .
~Psalm 30:11
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:52 pm

Surprisingly inexpensive. Thanks!

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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby firefly » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:51 am

MyWifesMan, My wife has gone through what your wife is experiencing now. Hot flashes, cold, sweats, irritable, lashes out, my poor DW did this for about 5 years. Sometime is was worse than others. I found that a multivitamin, a B complex, and some natural "menopausal" herbs from the health food store helped. For a while, we (the kids and I) just avoided her like a plague, when she was bad off. Depression, crying, mad at the drop of a hat, no libido, exasperated all the time, feeling like her world was falling apart, wanting to be alone, would be a one of the kids birthday parties, then the next moment in her room with a pillow over her head not wanting to face life. I felt so sorry for her, she knew what it was, but could do little to alleviate the symptoms. She is done now, but it would come and go to the extreme. She is 53 about to be 54 now. Hers started when she was around 45, that is when she first started having a periodic hot flash, sleepless night, night sweats, fits of rage, etc.... Around 47 she was in full tilt boogie, menopause. We just left her alone, like she requested. I searched, read, and did what I could to soften the bad experience. She is one of those females who do not like HRT therapy, believing it causes cancer. Eating better, exercise, and the herbs and vitamins helped, but did not alleviate the problems.
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Re: Going through "The Change"

Postby MyWifesMan » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:31 am

Firefly, good things to know. Thankfully, my DW's episodes are not nearly to the level as you describe. "Five years?" :shock: Wow! But my wife's hormonal episodes seem to come out of nowhere - I think I am having a normal difference in opinion, and then it blows up into her getting very upset - more than would be expected. Next day, everything is back to normal. She is finally realizing/acknowledging that these episodes are hormonal. And, like her, I am extremely wary of hormone replacement and pharmaceuticals approaches. However, multivitamins, quality diet, plentiful rest - these all make good sense. Thanks.


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