I remember when my mom was in her mid 50s. The family was so devastated because we thought she was going crazy or that she might have a serious illness that was getting into the terminal stage. She was constantly crying over the small and big things. She would sweat profusely and she was always angry. And when you can’t hear her calling, she would shout and say, “Does anybody listen to me anymore?”
It went on for about a month before we got to ask dad to practically drag her to the doctor and have her evaluated – not to a shrink but to her primary physician. We were crossing our fingers that whatever it was she was going through, it would be something that was not malignant and longstanding. After a tiring discussion (which was just depressing because she was crying until she had difficulty breathing), her primary physician referred her to her obstetrician. She was undergoing menopause.
I couldn’t quite absorb it initially, and so I took it upon myself to learn more about menopause through the web. I joined communities like stranger chat rooms, which were surprisingly very helpful. Depression and emotional outbursts, I gathered, were among the most common menopausal symptoms; in some cases when they’re critical, it might be a good time to search for a therapist for some professional help. Mood swings were also present in almost all women who go into the menopausal stage.
When a woman goes into the perimenopausal and menopausal stage, the rise and fall of her estrogen and progesterone levels in the body become erratic in its attempt to normalize hormonal function. Other relevant symptoms will be discussed below, along with the corresponding ways to deal with them.
Symptoms and Ways to Deal with Them
Having an abnormally warm body temperature is one of the first manifestations of menopause. The fluctuation of estrogen in the body causes sweating and intermittent waves of heat that last for minutes but may occur more than ten times a day.
A proven technique to help decrease hot flashes is hypnotic relaxation, which involves a professional guiding you through a hypnotic state and looking into mental images of snow or a very cold mountainous area. Other remedies include yoga, acupuncture, hydration, and avoiding spicy food.
Disrupted sleep patterns
Insomnia is very common especially right before entering menopause. This may be because of the night sweats that can be uncomfortable and disturbing. Additionally, sleep cycles may also be affected by the fluctuation of estrogen, which is why doctors usually recommend women aged 50 and above to take estrogen pills for about a year.
Keeping yourself busy during the day is one way of starting a regular sleep pattern. According to menopausal women, they don’t take short naps during the day so they get tired and sleepy in the late afternoon. Thus, they are able to sleep as early as 8 in the evening. However, if natural remedies don’t help, taking sedatives is recommended, although the matter has yet to be discussed with your doctor, as this solution should not be for long-term.
Stress and anxiety
Stress is inevitable, and the stress that is related to menopause is often associated with lack of sleep, fatigue and estrogen depletion. Exercise is one of the best remedies to counteract stress. It releases toxins from the body and promotes physical and mental wellness. Asking help from family, friends and support groups are also beneficial for the menopausal woman.
Decreased sex drive
Menopause often causes women to avoid having sex with their partners. Sometimes this is intentional (due to sleeplessness and fatigue) but most probably it is due to the decrease in testosterone, a hormone that is responsible for increasing sex drive or libido.
Though it is difficult, it would be best for the woman to discuss the situation with her partner so he would hopefully understand why the desire to have sex is lost. If you would like, you can also attend relationship counseling to help you and your partner get through this difficult time together. Therapy, massage, and use of lubricants are some of the other strategies that can be used to manage this negative symptom.