The Forgotten Five: The Worst Menopause Symptoms You Never Heard About

Femininity © lynette sheppard

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.)

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142 Responses to The Forgotten Five: The Worst Menopause Symptoms You Never Heard About

  1. rose February 7, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

    Yes, all of that and more. The anxiety is the worse. I’ve never been afraid about flying, driving alone, or even going to the movies, etc. Unfortunately, I now have to make a great effort. It has been 10 years since the change, and it is a little better. I’m getting used to it. I take xanax only when I go on a trip. I feel I’m still young and I don’t want to waste my vacation or my family’s, just sitting around because I can’t take a plane. 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. Oh, my blood pressure goes up now when I go to my doctor: “The white coat syndrome.” That has been happening ever since menopause. The only good thing about the change, is that I’m not afraid of getting pregnant, and that has been wonderful. My weight went up 10 pounds, mainly around my waste and tummy, and I can’t get rid of it. So I do yoga, light exercises, eat well, try to look pretty for myself and family, dance while I do housework, read spiritual or inspirational books for women. And, for those who believe in a Superior Being, praying is wonderful. Menopause is very unpleasant, sometimes horrible, but it’s part of being a woman, the key is how to handle it. Getting the right doctor, I have a woman doctor, has been a very good idea because she understand my complains. She’s now 57. I hope my experiences helps.

    And thank you Lynette, you have been a blessing too!

  2. Shelli February 8, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    Thank you rose,
    I was just sitting here wallowing in my misery wondering if this ever ends. I am a very spiritual person, but I feel so miserable right now, I don’t hardly feel like praying. Last week, I had all the symptoms on the list but hot flashes. I get a hot hand and leg. I ended up in ER again,third month in a row, because my blood sugars are dropping to the floor at will. (I’m not diabetic) I went to my male doctor whom I’ve had since college and he told me to “lay low for a few days and it will go away.” Yes. I’m looking for a female doctor. You have encouraged me not to give up on life and try to hang in there one more day.

  3. Edee February 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

    Dear Shelli,
    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!
    Edee

  4. Shelli February 28, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    Edee,
    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.
    Shelli

  5. Edee February 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    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.

  6. Mary March 1, 2016 at 5:14 am #

    Can’t believe this is so bad.

  7. Ashley Jeanne Ross March 5, 2016 at 1:41 am #

    I hope you’re doing better Mary. It sounds like you’re in the throws of it. Hang in there, it will pass.

  8. Gail March 5, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    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!

  9. Edee March 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    Dear Shelli-
    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.

  10. Edee March 6, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    Hello Gail!
    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.

  11. Mary March 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    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.

  12. Brook June 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    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.

  13. Patty July 11, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    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..

  14. Joy July 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    Dear shelli,
    My name is Joy and I’m 55. Been in combat with this menopausal thing since I was 49. I thought the suffering for all this 34 and more feelings has ended. But for me seems that the end of the tunnel where I’m now crawling in is still dark and far away to the end! I always feel terrible… Head aches, raising heart beat, high BP…. Anxiety… Name all the 34 PMS … I already experienced it. Been to the hospital many times but no serious findings. All is well. The doctor said relax and you can go home.. What? Ok…. Then mostly every night I only sleep 3-5 hrs. I have my medical checkup a month ago ang everything is normal. Can anybody tell me what is next to this? Sometimes I feel alone and I cry… Thinking of maybe I will die soon! Huhuhu! My husband is very supportive. Telling me that you’re almost at the end of the tunnel…. I love him more for that. Now I’m ok. Sometimes I feel awful for hours and back to normal again.

    Dear lovely women ahead of me please tell me your experiences too.

    Thanks and God Bless us.

    Joy

  15. LynetteSh August 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    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.

  16. Dana August 2, 2016 at 4:19 am #

    Joy, I felt all you are experiencing. I made it through and feel like my old self again. It does pass! However, my suggestion to you is if you are not taking antidepressants , you should give them a try. They work wonders. Why suffer? They worked a miracle for me. Feel better❤️ You are not alone😀

  17. Sierra August 13, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    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.

  18. Mae September 10, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Good evening,
    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!

  19. LynetteSh September 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    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/

  20. Sky Antony September 27, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks to eacheck of you lovely ladies for sharing. Writing from Kenya and it’s been hell for over 7 years. In my 40s😯

  21. Sky Antony September 27, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Stay strong .

  22. Joy October 1, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    Hi Dana,
    Thanks for your advise. Actually 2 yrs ago I am on anti depressant treatment. I went to my psychiatrist for checkup ang she gave me this xanor thing. It helped me a lot, I was back to normal. I can already drive, travel to other countries with confidence ( which I am scared to do during the full swing menopausal period) But I can still feel this Raising heartbeat problem frequently. Headaches, bloated stomach and dizziness is always there. I went to see my doctor again and have ECG and blood tests… Everything is normal. Praise God! now all I can think of is to CREDIT this uneasy feelings to MENOPAUSE… UGhhhh! anyone had the same experience out there? Regards to all….

    Joy

  23. Helen November 15, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

    Reading this site at 4.20am!! Agree with lots of posts in particular about the antidepressants. I still struggle sometimes but on the whole they make me feel like me again 😄. Thinking of all you other ladies suffering like me and hears hoping we can get through this nightmare real soon. Love to you all x

  24. Rene Griesel December 7, 2016 at 4:11 am #

    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.

  25. LynetteSh December 26, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    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.

  26. Lillian January 2, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    Hello Ladies,
    I would like to take the time to say, god bless all of you and it’s a great feeling to no that I am not alone. I have been experiencing menopause for 8 years now and it has been a challenge. Like you ladies I have experience the night sweats, the crying, the mood swings,the headaches, the bloated stomach, and being afraid of things that I am not usually afraid of. When I first experience symptom of menopause it was overwhelming and as time went on I learned and understood that this change was not going away with medication and it was a change that naturally happens to woman which eventually goes away. I do a lot of praying, use family support, eat healthy, drinking lots of water, exercise, yoga and listening to music which I find soothes my mind and soul. I do believe a strong support system such as family, friends and post like this one can have a positive impact on how well one will get through this change temporary. I do support Lynette and agree that this change is temporary. Hold on ladies we will get through this together. God bless all of you!

  27. Helen January 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    Hello my name is Helen and I am 53 I have not had a period for 3 yrs and only now I am having what I think is menopause !! I feel really hot ( upper body ) my chest hurts at times my body hurts … I went to Hospital and had testing on my heart as I feel I am going to have heart attack .. but test they did even a cat scan was normal … Am I going crazy !! I need help this is new to me

  28. LynetteSh January 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    Thank you so much, Lillian, for affirming that we will not only survive the change – we will thrive. The worst is temporary – and we are not alone. Hugs to you. Lynette

  29. LynetteSh January 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    Believe it or not, Helen, it is not uncommon to believe we are going to have a heart attack during the palpitations associated with menopause or during a horrible hot flash. That said, it is really good to be checked out as women have different symptoms of heart attack than men and they can go undiagnosed. Breathe slowly, try cooling helps like fans, frozen peas or a frozen pillow – see the menopause marketplace for more. You are not going crazy – we have been there. The worst of it lasts only a year, at the most two. I know, how are you going to do this for that long? Well, we are women, we’re tough. We can take anything if we know what to expect and that it is only temporary. I also suggest starting your own Menopause Goddess group – put Creating Your Own Goddess Group in the search box to find out how we did it. EAsy peasy and the best thing you can do for yourself right now. Keep us posted – Menopause will set you free – but first it will really piss you off. Hang in there. Hugs, Lynette

  30. Shelley January 12, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    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….

  31. Loni January 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    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???

  32. LynetteSh January 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    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.

  33. LynetteSh January 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    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.

  34. Angie Clark January 27, 2017 at 7:49 am #

    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.

  35. Tina March 17, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    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.

    XTina

  36. Michelle March 29, 2017 at 3:03 am #

    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.

  37. LynetteSh April 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    You’re so welcome, Michelle. Believe me, we know how it can be, sheesh. It does get better! Hang in there! Hugs, Lynette

  38. Michele April 8, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    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!!!

  39. Johanne April 11, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    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

  40. Anna-Michelle Lanier May 10, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    What homeopathic route did you take….I’m looking for all options.
    Thank you

  41. Deborah Napier August 25, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    I wish. Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes can last 30 years or more. Some women still have them in to their 80’s

  42. Luz September 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    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!!

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