Best Four Tips We Boomer Women Should Share About Menopause and Beyond

This Grandma has written about how we should have friends that are at least ten years older than us so we can learn what faces us in life and friends that are at least ten years younger than us so we can pay it forward.  There is no substitute for life experience and the wisdom of years.*

I just got a call from one of my younger dear friends, fifteen years younger, who asked for the name of my thyroid doctor.  I asked why.  She gave me the classic symptoms of a thyroid issue, and said she has been treated, is taking two medications, not one, and nothing is working.  Then she told me she is on a sleeping pill because she has terribly interrupted sleep, and her neck gets ridiculously hot.  My first reaction was to ask her when her mother went  into menopause.

Tip Number One: Talk about Menopause to Those You Love and Be Sure to Tell Them All About Your Menopause

My previous gynecologist was also a cancer specialist and very concerned about women’s health.  I loved him.  He has since died.  We Boomers are finding our favorite doctors retiring or dying and he was a favorite.  I remember him asking me when my mother went into menopause , what were her symptoms, and how long did it last.  I had no idea.  My Mother, European and old fashioned, would never discuss that with me.  I went to her and inquired.  Her answers were priceless.  She was 58 years old when she lost her period (I had to use that vocabulary as menopause was still an unknown term or one she refused to use), and how was she to remember anything else as she was never told to pay attention.  Pushing her further, giving her some symptoms to think about, such as hot flashes, she decided the experience must have been very mild as it was not memorable.

We need to be of more help than that, especially since our daughters and granddaughters will most likely have menopause similar to ours.  Yes, I just happened to be 58 when I lost my period.  My menopause symptoms were mild.  My doctor was right that it would be like my mother’s.  He was concerned about such a late menopause back then, saying I should be concerned about ovarian cancer.  I am now hearing from my older daughter that medical thinking has reversed and a late menopause is considered a good thing.  Next generation, it will probably be a bad thing again.

Ask your mother, if she is still alive, about her menopause experience, and   catalog it somewhere.  Share your experience, as well.  We need to talk about menopause.  After all, this is no longer the dark ages, I think.  Our daughters and granddaughters need to be prepared for menopause, which it seems, may be similar to ours.

Tip Number Two: Weight gain in Menopause Will Make You Crazy But Wait Until You Are Done To Try to Lose It

My younger friend complained that it seems she is gaining one pound every other week, and nothing she does, including starving herself and exercising like crazy, makes a difference.  I told her I gained thirty pounds during menopause and, I starved myself and over exercised and nothing worked.  Again, I found a wonderful gynecologist who specialized in post menopausal weight maintenance.   He also is no longer practicing medicine.

I went to him because I saw a woman who was previously heavy and had lost significant weight.  She said it was all because of this doctor.  I made the next available appointment.  After blood testing, he explained that weight gain is common during menopause, and, as my experience showed, nothing was going to take that weight off until I was done with menopause.  He said my blood testing showed I was not done and not ready for his protocol.  He did tell me to start increasing my water intake before meals, stop all sugar, and limit carbs, but to see him again in three months.  In three months, I was done with menopause and starting his diet regimen, which included pills that curbed appetite as well as protocol of eating and exercise.   In three months, I lost the thirty pounds.  I was no longer fighting my body and my body cooperated.  I still use his maintenance plan.

See Post: “Should You Listen to Grandma or Dr. Oz and Other Experts for Weight Loss Ideas that Work for Post Menopausal Women in 2015.”

See Post: “Being With a Grandchild is Fattening: Five Best Tips for Grandma Weight Maintenance.”

See Post: “Grandma Augments the “Summer Shape-Up” Five Day Diet.”

Grandma Augments the “Summer Shape-Up” Five Day Diet

I told my younger friend not to be frustrated about not losing any weight after killing herself in the gym and starving herself.  I told her to get tested to see where she was in the menopause process and diet when she was done.

Tip Number Three:  The Buddy System and Effexor will Get You Through Menopause Less Scathed

My younger friend said she got hot in the back of her neck and then her body got hot.  I told her my hot flash warning was my upper chest.   My clerk in my courtroom sat to my left.  She periodically glanced at my upper chest.  As soon as she saw it get red, she would call a recess.  Since it was my bailiff who always called a recess at my direction, when that happened, I knew to run out of the courtroom into my private office and start to strip as a hot flash was coming.  We professional women need a buddy, a guard, someone to warn us based on our first warning sign to “get out of Dodge,” and strip, in private of course, before our clothes get soaking wet.

The hot flashes, sleep interruption, and mood swings are terrible for a any woman, especially a working woman, and add family responsibilities (as a sandwich time caring for older parents and children, as well as a significant other), and it is an emotional recipe for potential career disaster, just when we women are at an age of career advancement and reaching the pinnacles of career development.  Remember all the political pundits who said a woman could not be president because of menopausal mood swings.  I sadly think this view is still held by most.

At the time of my menopause, I was not happy with any of the medication or information to address the issues related to menopause.  I went on the internet and found a study at the Mayo Clinic.  Young women who had cancer were going through early menopause.  They were given antidepressants because cancer is depressing.  The women on an antidepressant called Effexor did not get hot flashes.  Mayo Clinic did a study on Effexor and menopausal women.  60% of those who took a fifty percent dose of Effexor (75 milligrams) did not get hot flashes.  I convinced my doctor to let me try.  In a few weeks, my hot flashes went away completely.  The side effect  was the antidepressant was to elevate mood and helped with sleep, or the lack of night sweats helped sleep.  The result was better life balance and an early cessation of the negative effects of menopause on my professional and personal life.  For me, Effexor was the key and I only had to take it for six months.

My menopause was fourteen years ago so I do not know if there is anything better out there, but my friend was put on another antidepressant and an addition of a sleeping pill, which did not help her. Here is information about Effexor.

See, “Effexor Seems Just as Good as HRT in Easing Hot Flashes.”

See, “Taking Effexor for hot flashes.”

Tip Number Four:  Talk About Life after Menopause With Those You Love and Be Sure to Tell Them All About Your Post Menopausal Experience

We Boomers need to share the post menopausal experience.  If you are similar to me and my friends, it is much better than we expected.  It has been fourteen years since I had to have feminine products of all varieties and types everywhere I went, and in my car, office, house and on my person.  The financial savings alone makes me smile.  Life, including sexual life, is freer and happier.  Yes, your daughters will not want to discuss this.  TMI (too much information), as they would say.  But , when appropriate, it is important to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and life will be joyful again.

My weight fluctuates, but I know what to do, and how to do it, and my body mostly responded.  Yes, when it didn’t, I found I had a thyroid problem, and thus, found the best endocrinologist , who I also love.  I told my younger friend to go see him and, also, discuss her thyroid issues with Coach Jaye, who I think knows as much as any doctor about thyroid issues.  See Post and her section on her website on the thyroid: “Goal Setting & Pursuing Your Passionate Purpose In The New Year! From An Expert Health & Wellness Coach.”

Goal Setting & Pursuing Your Passionate Purpose In The New Year! From An Expert Health & Wellness Coach

I also told her that it seems to her older friend, who has been there, that she is probably in menopause.  It is amazing what we can learn when talking to older friends, and how helpful we Boomers can be to our younger friends and our daughters.  Inter-generational friendships are a win-win in life. Pay it forward.  See Post: “Inter-generational Friendships and Paying It Forward In the Decades of Life.”

 

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

*See Post: “The Wisdom of Multi-generational Friendships.”

 

 

 

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