Are You Spooked By Menopause Symptoms?

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At Halloween time, kids are worried about getting the candy they want. Adults are worried that they won’t have enough candy to give out or that they need to find a costume for a costume party. If you’re in perimenopause or menopause, however, you might feel like all you need is a broom! You and your family may be afraid that your menopausal symptoms are the sign of something more serious… or that they’re here to stay for good. Now that’s scary!

I’m happy to tell you that neither is true. In most cases, your menopausal symptoms are simply that: the side effects that come with the change of life. And, while they may seem never-ending, there is a jack-o-lantern at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s take a look at the symptoms I’ve listed in my Menopause Symptoms Chart, and how you can demystify them to give yourself a little less trick and a little more treat.

Your period

If you’re one of those women whose period was so regular you could set your clock to it, forget your flow status quo. If your cramps were nothing to write home about, all bets are off now.

You’re likely to experience anything from spotting to lighter or heavier periods. You may even have some breakthrough bleeding (between cycles, whatever that may be). While a range of flow is normal and nothing to lose sleep over (you’ll be losing enough sleep anyway — more on that in a minute), report any extremely unusual bleeding to your menopause specialist.

You may have Freddy Krueger-style cramps, or no discomfort whatsoever. Just as women’s periods differ greatly before menopause, their menses symptoms will differ greatly during perimenopause and menopause.

And, of course, you’ll miss (as in skip) periods. The time between periods will become greater and greater until your periods say “sayonara.”

Mental/emotional

Misplacing your keys or your reading glasses is nothing to be concerned about. As we age, our memory begins to fail us (along with our metabolism, our hearing, our eyesight — but that’s a whole other story). During menopause, though, brain fog is quite common. If you find yourself saying, “Why are there kids in costumes at my front door?” then this is for you! To stave off age-related memory issues, you can do brain exercises. After all, we exercise other parts of our body.

You also might be overly sensitive, experience uncontrollable crying, be unusually depressed or withdrawn, super stressed out, anxious or overwhelmed by it all. You might not even want to answer that doorbell when the little kids come a-calling. Again, this too shall pass. Of course, if your mood swings are interfering with your daily life, see your menopause specialist.

On the other hand, you might be extremely grumpy (let’s call it witchy), angry or even violent. Think of it as PMS on steroids. I recommend sitting down with your family to let them know how you are feeling. This way, they will not personalize your mood swings. Ask your loved ones for their support and understanding. It’s the hormones, not them!

And, to top it all off, you may find that your libido has gone and left you stranded. Perimenopause/menopause does not have to take the treat out of your life. Communicate with your partner — and your doctor — on ways to reclaim your sex drive.

Physical

The list of physical symptoms during menopause is as long as the lines for the haunted house. From insomnia, migraines, hot flashes, night sweats,  hair loss and heart palpitations… to bloating, breast tenderness and being exhausted… to packing on the pounds and perennial peeing… to vaginal discharge, dryness and difficulty reaching orgasm… it’s a veritable haunted house of symptoms. They may be a bit scary, to put it lightly, but they’re definitely not life threatening. If certain symptoms (like lack of sleep) are impacting your ability to function, then it’s time to call your menopause specialist.

Perimenopause and menopause don’t have to spook you! A good menopause specialist can get you the help you need and deserve. Oh, I forgot to mention one more common fear among menopausal women this time of year… the fear that you’ll eat all of the Halloween candy before you hear your doorbell ring and that first chorus of “Trick or treat!”

Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN! 

Download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving and Thriving during Perimenopause and Menopause.

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • Great round up of information Ellen! I have heard many women think they are very ill because they are not familiar with the symptoms and side effects of menopause!

    • You are so right, Haralee. My first symptom was severe brain fog! I thought I was in the early stages of Alzheimers. I literally would lose my train of thought mid- sentence!

  • Terrific information as usual Ellen. My one stop everything I need to know about menopause knowledge base!

    • So happy you find the info helpful! Stay tuned for more…as I am heading the Orlando as I type to attend the North American Menopause Society Convention!

  • I have to say, I am happy to not worry about this stuff anymore! I started going through menopause, with hot flashes, at 39!

    • The early bird special, huh? Happy to hear you feel good!

  • sue

    Ellen this really puts our minds at rest. Losing keys etc can sometimes feel like we are on the road to dementia, when in most cases it is normal behaviour during menopause. Thank you for another informative post.

    • Yep……I hear ya sister! At one point I was wondering if someone could put a key chip under my skin…so I would know where my keys are!

  • I’m at the whole “periods all over the place” stage – I feel like a teenager more than a midlifer at times! then I remind myself that it’s delaying the hot flash stage 🙂

    • Sounds like you are in perimenopause….the period is really a drama queen! Comes and goes whenever it feels like — before the big goodbye! If you have any unusual bleeding — do consult with your gyno!

  • Lois Alter Mark

    Menopause is definitely a spooky thing, and it can be more of a trick than a treat!

    • Haha! Women can eliminate so much of the fear surrounding menopause if they educate themselves about this time in their lives. I started to become symptomatic in my 40’s- I knew nothing about Perimenopause. I was really spooked!!

  • Rosemond

    Oh man oh man, so that’s what’s up with the memory and mood issues. it is spooky!