Author Topic: Perimenopausal/Menopausal/Postmenopausal - Conversations Amongst Ourselves  (Read 34426 times)

Offline pure evil

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After going for a scan today cos of a very minor post menopausal bleed, I realise how little I know about menopause. Ok, so I had heard all the horror stories about the symptoms, but having got through that relatively easily, I realise I need to educate myself better about maintaining good post menopausal health. Also thinking about how we get pre/reproductive education - but I don't see loads of info around about post menopause. Does anyone have favourite books or sites they recommend?

Offline braveandcrazy

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I liked "The Wisdom of Menopause" by Dr Christiane Northrup. Even better as I got it for a penny plus P&P on Amazon a few years back!
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^I have that and Susun Weed's New Menopausal Years; the Wise Woman Way which has an endorsement on the back by Christine Northrup.

While trying to find a website I remembered reading recently, I came across a recommendation for this book, "It Must Be My Hormones: A Practical Guide to Re-balancing your Body and Getting your Life Back on Track by Marion Gluck and‎ Vicki Edgson (a doc and nutritionist) which I've just bought very cheaply from Abe.

I read the intro on Amazon's site first. The style is going to irritate me (chummy and chatty) but I'm often not greatly keen on the style of most other information sources for menopause. At some point I may go down the bio identical hormone route and would like to be better prepared if I do.

This seems a useful site, https://www.menopausematters.co.uk/index.php.

This is the website I remembered reading, https://sexualityresources.com/ask-dr-myrtle/womens-issues-and-sexual-problems/vaginal-renewal-tm. It's reviewed here, https://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/2014/09/a-natural-program-for-vaginal-health/ with a YT video. I'd not realised there was a market for non sexually stimulating vaginal vibrators.

I think generally the problems dealing with the medical treatment of the menopause are 1) being female 2) being a gay woman 3) not being accustomed to being treated with contempt. Everything else follows from these. It is actually the contempt or the lack of respect that I find hardest because I don't like admitting that that is what happens. (At one point, while seeing doctors for a non menopause related problem, caused by them, I was so fed up with the nonsense I had to listen to that I fantasized about asking them if they minded me live streaming the consultation over the internet because I thought if it didn't concentrate their minds on not talking rubbish, it'd be a huge hit. I was going to call the site, 'what my doctor said'.)

The other difficulty I find is that I'm not really interested in the topic. It's like computer repair, I will do it when necessary by looking up possible causes and doing some work but I have no particular interest in computing and once I've found the answer, I usually forget all about it. Medicine is similar. I look things up on a need to know basis but I find it mostly very boring. Obviously, from this post, the only thing recently I've managed to remember is a peculiarly coy recommendation to use a vibrator.
 
« Last Edit: Mar 14, 2018, 01:53:45 AM by the ganze metsieh »

Offline Lust for Life

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Ooooh, tip worth remembering is that these people attach 'ergonomic handles so that even arthritic hands can hold them'  :D

If either I or my partner gets arthritis, I hope to remember that this exists :)

Offline pure evil

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I think generally the problems dealing with the medical treatment of the menopause are 1) being female 2) being a gay woman 3) not being accustomed to being treated with contempt.

:/ sadly, I think you have absolutely nailed it with this comment  :-\

Thanks everyone for the input and I will spend some time following up links. I don't feel like I'm having problems with menopause as such. My experience of peri was horrible, but as the whole bleeding cycle slowed and eventually stopped, I began to feel more emotionally balanced than I have ever in my life.

The issue has been navigating a post meno bleed, the bleugh of tests x realising there is post menopause 'maintainance'. Echoing the ganze metsieh - generally my experience with health professionals has often been that they will laugh dismissively when I raise issues, and tell me a version of 'Your experience is incorrect/imaginary/insignificant'  >:(

Some of the best health guidance I have had is via talking to and comparing notes with others in similar situations.

I feel a little bit 'stupid' to suddenly realise that even tho I haven't experienced many of the difficult symptoms of menopause others talk about, there will be ongoing change! Maybe some of this is denial or difficulty recognising aging is a process occuring in MY life... but I also feel there may be broader issues as the ganze metsieh stated.

I think of the lanuguage around menopause and speaking with a wise friend last night she said (something like): 'Look at all of the language around domestic labour and womens work, all of the words for that are diminishing. Look at the language used to describe how women talk and their ways of communicating, all of it is dismissive, bellitling. Or we struggle to describe and find words for our experiences, the words don't exist, because these things and activities aren't valued in Patriarchy.'

So yes, some feeling that maybe it's not just me stuggling to connect with the ideas and changes of menopause but also some social devalution of the experience. < I do realise this idea is not new or rocket science!! But feeling that at a new and personal level.
« Last Edit: Mar 14, 2018, 11:43:31 AM by pure evil »

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I do think it helpful to talk to other women about the psychological impact of dealing with a profession that many of us believed we'd been paying thousands per month to fund, only to find that access to qualified, quality care is practically non existent on the NHS. Hence I assume, the number of discussions about private practitioners, and the unwelcome but not unexpected news that treatment for menopause symptoms is not funded by private health insurance.

But I am less sure of the usefulness of comparing physical symptoms, particularly because a one size fits all approach by Western medicine, is often the cause of mistakes. If we were discussing something like relative strength of arms, I think we'd agree that the variations in arm strength are too many to make more than general statements.

All that said, I have had a post menopausal bleed which I did nothing about, partly on the advice of a friend I was staying with who'd also had one and because I felt perfectly well. Whether this is irresponsible on our part, I have no way of knowing. I am a lot more likely to try to avoid seeking medical help than she is, but I have the jolly old NHS in a very impoverished area while she's in Berlin which has a far better approach generally.

Try not to worry too much about the inconclusive result. I sometimes had inconclusive smear test results and nothing was ever found.

Offline pure evil

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I've ordered a copy of: Making Friends with the Menopause: A clear and comforting guide to support you as your body changes - by Sarah Rayner. It sounds very 'self helpy' but I fancy some calming informative reading on this subject at the mo.

And with the inconclusive result, urgh... in some ways I wish I hadn't gone for the test, as now I seem to have been sucked into a vortex of other horrible sounding tests. It's hard figuring out what is 'wisely cautious' to have checked out and what is ok to ignore.

To clarify on this 'I am less sure of the usefulness of comparing physical symptoms, particularly because a one size fits all approach by Western medicine, is often the cause of mistakes.'

What I mean about the helpfulness of talking with others is that it can help to affirm your own experience. I have hyperthyroid, which my Dr often laughs about as 'barely worth taking meds for', but through talking to another person who is also very sensitive to medication I was able to suggest to my GP that I try taking a tiny half dose more < even tho they thought it wouldn't do anything. Doing so brought my levels into normal range.

Being part of patient support groups has also helped me to source treatment for conditions where medication is rationed on the NHS. Learning that far from 'not being sick enough to be treated x 'imagining' my symptoms' there were thousands of people suffering the same difficulties. What we were facing were economic constraints being passed off as our own failure to meet health criteria.


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^All that makes perfect sense, thanks for clarifying. I wanted to preface my own example with some caveats about its potential relevance. I basically trust my friend because we've known each other almost 30 years and have always talked clearly and honestly.

Re the 'vortex of other tests': I totally understand, it's because of wanting to avoid this conveyor belt that I am reluctant to get on it at all. Is there a way you can exercise some control, such as discussing the possibility that you may refuse further tests at some point or refuse particular tests? This very much depends on the relationship you and your doctor have. None of the ones available to me would be capable of having this conversation, when I tried asking about another matter, I think in order to persuade me to agree to tests, I was told I could have either a disease which by now would have killed me or another which would by now have crippled me, and I am actually still alive with nothing much apparently wrong. My willingness to ask them anything though is severely constrained which is one way to reduce the queues.

Re "economic constraints being passed off as our own failure to meet health criteria"; that is the thing I find most difficult. Naively, before I'd had much experience of consulting doctors, I assumed asking them would be a quicker and more reliable route than being left to my own devices with Google. I didn't expect science to be strained through a cost cutting mesh, and only the cheapest bits recognised.

I am now reading about Sea Buckthorn (for its omega 7 properties), which happily appears to be an invasive shrub in the south of England, as opposed to an obscure and delicate plant from the Amazon or the Himalayas. Considering how conformist I've been with doctors, not so far having presented them with a rinsed out jam jar containing my home grown Sea Buckthorn berry juice and asked for a chemical analysis, they've got off very lightly. If menopause is supposed to send women round the bend, I may as well behave as eccentrically as I please and 'act up'.

In many ways I think I am trying to continue dodging the heterosexual woman's lot. It isn't ageing I fear, it's feeling that my good fortune as a gay woman may be about to run out. In my teens, I felt secretly smug that when my friends were starting to take the pill and reporting obvious symptoms their doctors dismissed as fictions, I didn't have to put up with this crp. That's really the root cause of my anxiety, that I, of all people damn it, am going to get caught up in the same luckless wave as any other woman. That there are women in their 60s going around with a look of quiet satisfaction, is some small comfort, but how they got there is a mystery to me.

Offline pure evil

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'Is there a way you can exercise some control, such as discussing the possibility that you may refuse further tests at some point or refuse particular tests?'

Yes, I'm in process with this, not jumping forward with anything, I will call my GP on Monday and continue the conversation. Your Dr sounds like an asshole. I can't say I've escaped any hideous treatment from health care professionals due to being gay. At the intitial phase of asking my GP about this post meno bleed, one of the standard questions was 'Are you sexually active' .....but in a heterocentric world what does this even mean? I wasn't sure exactly what I was being asked and also didn't want to go into trying to match up cultural differences on that one.

I'm still trying for balanced reasoning and a steady approach with the current issue: reading more, stabilising the emotional 'WAAAAAAH', and also listening to friends who tell me this experience is very common but 'It's good to know one way or the other'. Still not keen.

Offline Lust for Life

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How post menopause a bleed is worrying, by the way? I ask because up to a year between bleeds is still considered peri-menopausal. Clearly a gap of 10 years would be very worrying, but where does one draw the line?

Offline pure evil

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How post menopause a bleed is worrying, by the way? I ask because up to a year between bleeds is still considered peri-menopausal. Clearly a gap of 10 years would be very worrying, but where does one draw the line?

Good question as it's about 18months for me, still they are jumping up and down and consider any thickening of the endometrial lining past 4 mm serious.

Offline Lust for Life

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Hmmmm, if I were you I would do my damnedest to convince myself that this is actually within the range of normal winding down, while letting them do some tests and waiting for them to get to the same page on this...!

Offline pure evil

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Hmmmm, if I were you I would do my damnedest to convince myself that this is actually within the range of normal winding down, while letting them do some tests and waiting for them to get to the same page on this...!

LfL < feeling very much the same, I'm really NOT in the mood for anything that involves a general anasthetic. Will talk to my Dr Monday and go through the discussion again.

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I wasn't clear in my last paragraph. I meant that part of my sexual identity is a rejection of much of the conventional straight world. Maybe it's fantasy, or my non representative social bubble. I know a great many straight women casually who often seem to be having some sort of procedure.

Re the time question: it was 13 months after I stopped ovulating that I had a bleed. I was in Berlin for a friend's 50th birthday when it happened so I can date it quite easily. That was 2.5 years ago, nothing has happened since.

PE: Did you mention you've been going to the gym/weight lifting? That's just the kind of thing that would formerly have made me get an earlier than usual period. Similarly, taking a flight, which is what I decided might have caused my bleed. Although I don't know if there is genuinely a connection.

Offline pure evil

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OOfff!! Dr just called to say that as far as the gyno team are concerned my scan results are 'nothing to worry about' *PHEW* I wish my Dr hadn't been quite so alarmist about what the next steps might be when we spoke last week. Hey ho! Gona happily read my menopause book and try to learn a bit more about this process in general.

Appreciating the kind words and sharing of others :)

@the ganze metsieh, I feel like I'm not quite getting your link between rejecting the straight world and this providing some sort of health protection? Most of my adult life I have had complex health issues and know other dykes in similar positions: wether that be endometriosis, CFS, mental health, degenerative conditions or the like. Anyhow... this is the internet and sometimes hard to get the full gist of what others are trying to say.