A few weeks, ago I was contacted by a producer from a new television show scheduled to air this fall and specifically geared to women. They’re planning to do a full hour on menopause (Yes, I know, we could use a full week or a year but who has the time?)
At any rate, the producer wanted recommendations for specific topics. I called and emailed but somehow we never connected. So it’s a mystery what might be those topics.
Here’s my hope, though. I hope that this program will break new ground – and cover some of the menopausal symptoms, problems, and heartaches that we never discuss in articles or interviews.
The Big Five topics that we always seem to hear about are these:
1. Hot flashes and night sweats.
2. Loss of sex drive
3. Depression and anger
4. Hormone replacement therapy: pros and cons; bioidentical vs synthetic
5. Natural remedies.
These are important issues and it’s wonderful that they have been addressed. Still, the topics about which Menopause Goddess Blog gets the most correspondence consist of another Five: the Forgotten Five. And there is more angst and desperation about each of these life altering manifestations than we hear about the aforementioned Big Five combined. It’s time to bring them out into the open.
The Forgotten Five: The Worst Menopause Symptoms You Never Heard About
1. Brain Fog This isn’t simply a memory problem. Our very ability to think, problem solve, and process information is compromised. It feels like we are literally losing our minds. And we don’t know if we will ever get them back. It is quite literally terrifying. Which brings us to:
2. Anxiety Whether we suddenly suffer from the night terrors, generalized anxiousness, or a sense of impending doom, anxiety can pervade our everyday life during perimenopause and menopause. Worse, those of us who have rarely been scared or jittery may suddenly worry about almost everything. Again, causing us to doubt our very sanity.
3. Hair Loss Women often associate hair with femininity. I know I did. So when my hair began thinning and falling out, I was panicked. And so many of our Menopause Goddess sisters have suffered the same condition. Dermatologists and hairdressers often tell us “It’s just hormonal.” Which is about as helpful as saying that Hurricane Katrina was “just a weather phenomenon.”
4. Fatigue A bone crushing fatigue can overtake you during perimenopause and menopause. I don’t know why – perhaps Changing on a molecular level (that’s how it feels) takes a lot out of us. Whatever the reason, it is a normal, common, miserable part of the menopause experience for many women.
5. Immune Dysfunction While menopause is a normal transition for a woman, it seems to take a toll. This may be the time that a woman has her first outbreak of Shingles (a herpes infection related to chicken pox). Or an illness comes out of nowhere like Rheumatoid Arthritis or a serious infection. (Half of our Menopause Goddess Group, a very healthy, active subset had this happen to them.)
So perhaps this new TV show will cover more than the Big Five when they air the menopause hour. Ideally, they’ll address some or all of the Forgotten Five. I certainly hope so. Now that would be a show worth watching!
So yes, I’ll e-mail a link to this blog entry to the producer and maybe, just maybe, we won’t cover the same ground again and again that’s already been covered.
(Even if the show doesn’t expand on these topics, we will. Right here. Stay tuned for ideas and help – women sharing wisdom, that’s what we are about.)
I’ve thinking about your message since the 8th of Feb. I’m sorry you are having a hard time of it. I said a prayer for you (since you mentioned you “don’t hardly feel like praying”).
I have low blood sugar issues as well. I’m not diabetic either. But I decided to plan ahead like I have diabetes. That is; eat “low burning” carbs, keep away from thinks that spike blood sugar, eat low fat proteins, watch my sugars (avoid artificial sugars–with all the changes going on in my body, it doesn’t need the extra confusion). Eat at regular intervals. I’ve noticed I use up more sugar when I am upset (as menopause set in, it seems like I am upset about EVERYTHING). Of course, needing to keep my blood sugar level is at odds with weight loss–Ha!
As for hanging in there: when I first started, I had little support. No one wanted to tell me “it’s menopause”. No one said,”your weight will make it difficult for the various hormones to do their job”. Now, 16 years later, I’ve had days when I’m normal again! I’m able to do the crafts I’ve always enjoyed, I’ve been feeling more social. I never thought I’d be that way again. Having these blogs and places to ask questions and get support . . . wow.
Good luck, exercise and make sure you get sleep!
Thank you so much. Your message is right on time. I am in the hospital now. I have been here for 3 days. I came in with heart palpitations and stomach pain. They ran every test they could think of and everything is normal. Two weeks ago the gyno gave me a depo shot to even put the perimenopause “syndrome.” I have been feeling worse. I can’t take estrogen because of my family breast cancer history. I think I even had my first hot flash. They are supposed to send me home tomorrow but for me the diagnosis is “menopause.” It is nice to hear that there is the other side of the story. Thank you so much.
I am so sorry you landed in the hospital! I did too, early on. I was kept in for heart concerns. I have breast cancer history as well. I’m not sure what one can do about heart palpitations (except getting medical help). It is best to be safe.
I’ve never tried a depo shot, it sounds terrible!
I’ve been told: menopause is a process. We use to be able to bring life into the world. Now, it’s winding down. We made it through puberty and child birth and menstrual cycles. They were all processes. Things we have to go through. With that said, it may be rough, but it will be over. Remember: you are not alone.
I live in city that is approximately 160,000 people. The percentage of the population that is female is 50.1%. So, out of 80,000 females how many are menopausal? Say if half are 35-60 years old then, that is a lot of spinning, angry, crying, hurting women. It maybe odd, but I felt better knowing that I was not alone.
I said a prayer for you when read your message. I hope the support you find will give you strength.
Hello, I wanted to honor powerful words that Rose wrote:”If there is one thing I’ve been blessed with, it’s that I understand why is happening, and reading about it on this site has been marvelous.” Those words resonated something profound in me. It felt like I had turned a corner. Very, very cool.
Can’t believe this is so bad.
I hope you’re doing better Mary. It sounds like you’re in the throws of it. Hang in there, it will pass.
My mother never talked about menopause but when I look back, she must have suffered with it silently. I remember her looking distant and anxious. My sister said she herself got bitchy. I have had numerous symptoms such as anger, loneliness, anxiety, no sense of purpose, no desire to connect with friends, and even road rage!
My Mom didn’t say much about menopause either. At the time she also went through chemo (breast cancer). I can’t imagine going through menopause and chemo at the same time! She became impatient, said mean things, became frustrated when she couldn’t do her crafting . . . then she broke her pelvis. Spent the last two years of her life with all three of these awful things.
We are going to have to get over our squeamish view on menopause. We have to stop telling each other “I’m not using it as excuse”. The younger women are listening and they are getting the message to keep it under wraps. It is a fact of life that effects everyone. Everyone. Husbands, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers.
Basic quality of life.
Menopause is stormy and chaotic and we end up pushing away our support system! We need hugs, love and to be listened to. My symptoms of ailments include the ones you’ve listed (except road rage). Vertigo, off and on head spins, fatigue (I feel like a sack of wet cement–blah). All very tiring. Emotional and physical.
We are women. We are smart. We will figure this out.
It’s so hard to believe that we go through this on average 4 years. My mother hit menopause at 54, so I may have another 4 to go. The fatigue is unreal.
Reading this article and the comments has been great!! I believe I have been in the perimenopausal stage for a year or two (I’m 43) and now seems I’m in the full swing of things. I have all things listed as well as fiber cysts out of nowhere in my breasts as well as my first 2 week long period. Ugh. My only hope is that all this means I’m getting close to the end.
The past year I’ve been down with crippling anxiety between periods.. i only get relief for the 2-3 days during my period then i’m so afraid – i jump at the slightest noise… this is driving me crazy..
Dear Patty, I always wondered why this wasn’t listed as one of the most prevalent (and distressing) symptoms of the Pause. It sucks, to put it bluntly! I will say this: it is temporary – the worst will pass but it might take a year or more. Ugh! Put anxiety in the search box on the blog for more ideas of how to cope with it. Good luck and keep us posted. I promise that it gets better eventually.
I wish. Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes can last 30 years or more. Some women still have them in to their 80’s
Patty, I feel the same. My anxiety is so bad that I dont even like to answer the phone in case Im going to hear bad news from someone. Right now I dont even like living.
I came across this blog desperate to find answers. I am 45 years old and this last month has been hell. I started out having light palpations and my period for last month was twice. I went to the gynecologist for her to do labs( all came back normal). The palpitations have got worse, with increase in blood pressure, my face gets so hot due these episodes , fatigue , and I am worrying about everything, no sex drive. I have been in and out of the hospital so many times this month and everything has came back normal. I am losing my mind! I will be sitting watching TV and this feeling of something bad it’s about to happen comes over my body, then my BP and HR go high this is going on every day several times a day. They have put me on low dose Beta blocker to control the Heartrate, but this does not help the jitterness/sense of not feeling well inside of me. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Dear Mae, Everything you describe is sadly “normal”. I suffered the same symptoms as you. Best is to tackle each one on its own (put hot flashes, anxiety, and so on in the search box on the blog to get info. Quick question: are you on hormones? Or taking soy isoflavones like Estroven? Soy can accelerate your thyroid leading to rapid heart rate and increased bp, as well. This will not show up on lab results. Second: you may benefit from a short course of hormone therapy – best is to find yourself a holistic or integrative health care practitioner who can help suss out what would be best course. Good luck and keep us posted. Here’s a link to find a practitioner in your area: http://ahha.org/holistic-practitioners/
Thanks to eacheck of you lovely ladies for sharing. Writing from Kenya and it’s been hell for over 7 years. In my 40s😯
Hi. My name is Rene. I had a TVH on 14th July 2016 but I kept my ovaries. My recovery has not been all that well. I recently started feeling very weird upon waking up in the mornings. Severe anxiety, brain fog, feeling nervous for no reason, very emotional (cry for nothing). Then as the day goes on I normally start feeling a bit better by lunch time. I have for the past 3 nights experienced night sweats. I am not too sure what hot flashes feels like so I don’t know whether I have them. I just want to know, is it possible to start menopause 5 months after hysterectomy when I still have my ovaries. I also have tender breast that burns every now and again. I also seem to get very moody at time.
It is indeed possible – the best way to find out for sure is to have your hormones tested. And there is an over-the-counter kit you can buy to test them, but the most comprehensive way is to have your MD or trusted healthcare practitioner test them. Good luck and keep us posted, Rene! Happy Holidays.
Invasion of the Menopause Body Snatchers.
Every evening I am possessed. Anxiety that creeps under my skin. Feel so alone, and frightened. Started taking Lorivan ( Lorazapam). Its WONDERFUL. I’m 57, just starting all the fun, if I get addicted to the stuff for 30 years….who cares. I am a Yoga/Pilates instructor. For 30 years. Eat clean!! Low carb, health fat. I put in all those years only to end up here. Unmotivated, and apathetic. Not fair….
You’re right, Shelley. NOt fair. It totally sucks. I will say that the worst of it is temporary. Yes, I too exercised, ate healthy, all the right things and the Pause just hit me upside the head. I will say as I mentioned to so many readers – the most important help to get you through this is the support of like afflicted women. Put creating your own group in the search box on the blog and it should help get you started. We all agree that this is the #1 thing that got us through. Menopause – it’ll set you free, but first it’ll really piss you off. Hang in there – and keep us posted.
I am so happy to have found this thread and that it is active. I think I might be in the very beginning stages of perimenopause. I am 37 years old. I am normally a forgetful person, but now it’s down right ridiculous. I am still having monthly periods but the are either a week early or a week late, last month it was a week late and only 4 days long. I have had no sex drive (which is the exact opposite of my norm). Not to mention that I feel as though my husband is constantly irritating me. Which is not our norm either. I yo-yo in between being so pissed at him for the silliest of things or crying uncontrollably thinking that he is going to leave me. I seriously feel like I am loosing my mind. Did anyone else have anything like this? Do you think it could be perimenopause or am I just loosing my mind???
Loni, you are not losing your mind – we have all been there. I can tell you this: It’s normal and it’s temporary. That said, you might want to read the rest of the blog with your husband – or our book – when I was writing the book which really is a compilation of our menopause group wisdom – we read it to our husbands. It helped not only for them to know what was going on – but also that it went on for all of us and wasn’t personal. Then they all became much more supportive. Just a thought – if we think we are going crazy, imagine how they feel. It helps to be in it together. Also, do start your own Menopause Goddess Group (put creating your own group in the search box if you want help in how-to). We all agree that the most important remedy we had was each other. Can’t stress that one enough. And I feel for you – I went from highly sexed to no sex drive seemingly overnight. I have a sex drive again, not as much as it was, but thankfully it does return. Hang in there, darlin’! Oh, and to be sure, get your hormones tested – but it sure sounds like what we all went through. Keep us posted.
Hi I have been having terrible symptoms to find I was in menpause 2 years ago. I decided to look into the homopathic route done by my local pharmacy, I have found I have got.my life back using the natural product and believe me I thought I was going mad. My gp wasn’t convinced it would work but was open minded. I can’t take hrt as I had a bad reaction to.it in the early days.
What homeopathic route did you take….I’m looking for all options.
It was so nice to find this blog. I didn’t read through all the responses but I wonder if there are any younger peri sufferers out there. I’m 38 and started going through this last year. It all started with a sudden autoimmune disorder and then everything came tumbling down after that…the brain fog, exhaustion, hot flashes, palpitations, anxiety. Part of me feels like this is SO unfair because I’m still in my 30s and what the hell?? But it’s wonderful to know that there are others out there…and I’m not going crazy!! Love to all you WARRIORS.
Thank you for this article. I realise it was posted some time ago but it has been very helpful. The feelings of impending doom have been driving me crazy. I’ve especially enjoyed reading through the comments. It is so good to know that these ‘uncommon’ symptoms are seemingly quite common after all. It helps tremendously to know I am not alone. Thank you very much.
You’re so welcome, Michelle. Believe me, we know how it can be, sheesh. It does get better! Hang in there! Hugs, Lynette
Wow – read all your replies – I’ve been through so much crap because of menopause – I’m now 54 and I am sure I have been going through it since 45 – having read all the replies- I’ve been on disability because I cannot focus or rationalize my thought processes – I am on BHRT but I am still getting the sense of doom and gloom almost continuously – I’m active, I even ride a dirt bike. I can relate to everyone of you! When my thought processes was going I thought I was having a nervous breakdown! God bless you all! And thank god for all of you. May you all get through this phase with dignity and hope. I will keep hanging on and know that I’m not alone!!!
Good Morning Ladies, I have truly enjoyed reading all your comments. They are very inspiring and gives me the strength knowing I am not alone with this. I always say to myself “there are worse things to deal with”. I do not take hormone but would like to know if anyone knows of reliable nature product that is available for our systems.
Thank you … Johanne
I’m 55 and since the onset of peri/men I have become a hypochondriac… anybody else feel like this?… I have suffered from anxiety and panic since I was 13 and consider myself a strong individual since I’ve NEVER medicated, I self talk to and with the help of my family I have gotten through it. Not the case now…I feel like I have a new medical issue each week. My latest complaint is I’ve had a couple of episodes of hypoglycemia-like symptoms, gonna talk to my Dr this week, I have physicals every year and my blood work has always come back normal. Don’t know what it can be. Glad I found this blog today!!
I am 46 and last year I became a hypochondriac practically overnight!! That and horrible periods were what caused me to look up perimenopause and realize this was probably what it was..I also have had some bouts of depression and moments of anxiety when starting something new but have never been this panicked about thinking I have some horrible disease..every darn day!! It does from me thinking I have every disease in the book..I try to walk most days for a half hour, eat decently and tell myself it’s “only” these stupid hormones..ugh..I wish I could be more help but at least I know I’m not alone..here’s hoping we can help each other along and not lose our minds!😊
Hello Ladies, I’ve never posted anything. but this is one time I feel I should, I pray it helps someone.. I have had and still have most of them, the hot flashes have let up mainly, I still get them on occasions. ALL of the above symptoms is what I have experienced. I’m 54 years on FSH was 79.3 last it was checked. My gyno said I’m in full blown menopause and it is kicking my butt,her very words. I don’t feel like myself anymore, feel spacy, it is so hard to explain, but it is not normal, ears feel full and head heavy at times. Feel disconnected from the word, as if I’m no longer a part of. Nervousness is off the chart, eye problems, bowel problems, stomach problems, shortness of breath, heart pap, neck and back pains, the list go on and on. Think the worse is wrong with me, had every test known to man, all came back negative, praise the Lord!!! I pray the Lord will take this from me, real soon.. I pray for all women who are going thru this to be healed. God Bless…
Hello Ladies, again.. I left some things out, I wanted to see if anyone has experienced a feeling of the lightheadness along with the detachment. I have felt like I was disconnected for a moment, can’t breath and my vision get distorted for about a few seconds. This has happened on a few occasions at work, I had to grab my desk, feel like I was going to pass out. When I breath in I can feel a since of cold air in my throat and chest. Lots of head and neck pain, with body ache constantly. Eyes seem to take time to adjust to light, unsteadiness, unable to focus. Okay, I guess I’m done for now.. so many others, could go on and on. This blog has been a blessing to me.. thanks
Oh yes, lightheadedness definitely afflicted me from time to time – still does every once in a while. The eye things too – got those. Still, it’s a good idea to get it checked out – and it sounds like you have. A baseline set of blood work and an EKG are a good idea. Hang in there! Hugs to you, Jodi.
Yes I have had all those symptoms started with panic attack. Then I had unexplained double vision which lasted 9 days. I was diagnosed hypothyroid 2 years ago. My last period was 17 months ago and I am 55 years old. I have had sleep problems of waking up in night hot 3-4 times. I had nausea, dry mouth, rash on hands, acid resulting in gastritis. Lost 2 stone and I was skinny to begin with. Hair loss though this seems to have got better. Dry eye syndrome, stabbing pains in eyes. Pain in left side of back. Had to take early retirement and now work 2 days. The anxiety is the worst. Feeling of impending doom just before hot flush. Worry about my grown up kids, worry about my health thinking I have cancers that I will be dead by next summer and so on. Oh forgot tinnitus which I’ve had for 8 months. Dread each morning as not sure how anxiety will be. Some days are good others not good. Have not gone on anti depressants or HRT.
Having CBT, do yoga, walk herbal teas etc. I became social phobic decline invites I was never like this in fact total opposite. Had a rotten 8 months of anxiety wish it would go away. Helps to read similar posts
Hi Sharon. I feel like you with the anxiety and worry! Since I started perimenapause I’ve become a hypochondriac! I’m afraid of going out because I’m afraid I’ll get the flu but I didn’t get a flu shot because I’m afraid of that too! I’ve always had anxiety but this is way over the top. I don’t think there’d a symptom I haven’t had. Headaches, tingling in my lips, shock pains in my head, night sweats, palpatations, irregular beats, fatigue, waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety, dizziness, you name it! I feel like I can’t take this and it’s caused me to become so depressed that I never want to go out! Not to mention the weight gain and how ugly I feel. This group helps at least knowing I’m not alone. I know it’s part of life and we’ll all get through it but does it have to be so hard??
I am so glad I found this site, last year had to have a coil fitted as was bleeding constantly.I am 50 years old just, and it was either this or a hysterectomy.It sorted the periods out and I no longer have them but the menopause has hit me like a hurricane. My family keep telling me i need to see a doctor as I am so low and angry over stupid things all the time and am hard to live with. I hate myself too and have on numerous occasions found myself running to the local graveyard for hours at a time as its one place you can sit and cry and no one thinks anything about it. I like many of you have all the above symptoms the latest ones feeling like I’ve been drinking, I have foggy headaches for days and spates of dizziness which sometimes have me stumbling around. I would say that periods, PMT, post natal depression from which I have suffered from in the past are nothing compared tp this horrendous out of control feeling. My daughter is getting married this year and i should be so excited but I feel no joy about anything just flat and exhausted, she’s my only child and its breaking my heart that I have become this morose unhappy person. I am going to see a doctor and will try anything to feel like me again. I will never get the chance to do this again with my daughter, and feel so angry that it has come and stripped me of happiness. I have also told my husband of 25 years to leave me as I doubt i will ever be the woman he needs. This Menopause thing is cruel and the only way I think II can cope with it is to live alone so I don’t destroy anyone else in the process.The thought of years of this make me doubt the point of living,what did we women due to deserve this!!!!!
Hi Julie, Have you tried bioidentical HRT? it might help get you over the worst of it – as long as you don’t have contraindications such as a personal history of blood clots or history of reproductive cancers in your immediate family. The latest research shows no increase in risk from HRT for 3 years, so short term HRT might be a viable (and very helpful) option. See a holistic or integrative practitioner and they can also check your hormone status, recommend dietary, supplement, and lifestyle changes to help as well. Good luck – keep us posted. I swear it gets better but when you are right in the thick of it, that’s no solace. Let us know how it goes! You are not alone! Virtual hugs, Lynette