Signs and Symptoms Stories
For many women the signs and symptoms that signify the beginning of the midlife transition may begin 4 or even 5 years prior to menopause (which is defined as the cessation of menstruation for 12 months). This period of life is called “Peri-menopause”.
During this time there may be a whole range of physical, emotional and psychological changes that affect a woman’s life both in her private and her public roles. It is often at this time that women feel confused about what is happening to them. Sometimes, it is only in retrospect, either post-menopause or at the start of a well known sign eg; hot flushes or missed period, that women may begin to consider the reason for these changes.
” I was confused about what was going on. There were all sorts of changes in my relationship but I couldn’t tell if the problem was “mine” or “ours”.
“I noticed my behaviour changing but I didn’t know why. Naming it as the beginning of menopause really helped me feel that I had some control back”.
“Often when women present with a symptom picture made up of a number of peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms, health care professionals may not attribute these changes to this life stage transition.”
“I am in my mid 40’s. My periods had become irregular for 4 or 5 months and I was suffering from quite severe depression. I went to my doctor and asked could it be menopause. He said, ” You just need more exercise”. I went through a period of great uncertainty not knowing if I was falling apart.”
For other women the transition through to menopause is less confusing.
“I hit 50 and for the next 18 months my periods became lighter and lighter. It happened just like the text book and therefore I was expecting it and knew what was happening.”
While some women are able to easily recognise that they have entered the menopausal transition, the physical symptoms still cause them discomfort.
“I found the hot flushes the hardest thing to deal with. I would be looking around to see if anyone else was hot and then realise it was just me. Then I would try and act as if everything was normal.”
“I found at work, under pressure, the hot flushes would come on.”
“The sleeplessness was a difficult thing to deal with. I found it set up an expectation of not being able to sleep and I ended up feeling utterly tired all the time.”
“I would wake in the middle of the night. I would find this time my blackest time. I would feel really alone”
Other women come to menopause prematurely because of surgery.
“The Doctor had told me what to expect in regards to signs and symptoms. But I still felt total confusion, loneliness and depression. None of my friends wanted to really talk about it and they couldn’t really understand because they weren’t going through it.
Premature menopause was more than just a set of signs and symptoms. It really affected the way I thought about myself as a woman in society.
Over the years I have learnt acceptance and learnt that I can feel like a woman again.”
Please note: these stories are of a personal nature written by individuals experiencing menopasue and with their express permission. The Foundation takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the content, or any of the actions, experiences or concepts described by the writer; nor does it necessarily endorse or recommend any of the treatments, products or services that may be referred to. If you are concerned about your health in any way it is advisable that you speak to a health practitioner.
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