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MENOPAUSE.................THE FACTS.......

Posted by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:35 PM
  • 23 Replies

The 35 Symptoms of Menopause

This list of common symptoms that occur during perimenopause and menopause was developed from the real-life experiences of hundreds of women. All symptoms were experienced by numerous women and were either cyclical in nature, or responded to treatments (both traditional and alternative) known to address hormonal imbalances.

Click HERE for the credits to the women who developed this list.

  1. Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling (see note)
  2. Irregular heart beat
  3. Irritability
  4. Mood swings, sudden tears
  5. Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
  6. Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
  7. Loss of libido (see note)
  8. Dry vagina (see note)
  9. Crashing fatigue
  10. Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
  11. Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom (see note)
  12. Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
  13. Disturbing memory lapses
  14. Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence (see note)
  15. Itchy, crawly skin (see note)
  16. Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons (see note)
  17. Increased tension in muscles
  18. Breast tenderness
  19. Headache change: increase or decrease
  20. Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  21. Sudden bouts of bloat
  22. Depression (see note)
  23. Exacerbation of existing conditions
  24. Increase in allergies
  25. Weight gain (see note)
  26. Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
  27. Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
  28. Changes in body odor
  29. Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head (see note)
  30. Tingling in the extremities (see note)
  31. Gum problems, increased bleeding
  32. Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
  33. Osteoporosis (after several years)
  34. Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
  35. Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, 'whooshing,' buzzing etc. (see note)


                                             NYC CAFEMOM


               June 2012

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:35 PM
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by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:35 PM


  • Symptom 1 (flashes) Hot flashes are due to the hypothalamic response to declining ovarian estrogen production. The declining estrogen state induces hypophysiotropic neurons in the arcuate nucleas of the hypothalamus to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in a pulsatile fashion, which in turn stimulates release of luteinizing hormone (LH). Extremely high pulses of LH occur during the period of declining estrogen production. The LH has vasodilatory effects, which leads to flushing.
  • Symptom 7 (loss of libido) For some women the loss is so great that they actually find sex repulsive, in much the same way as they felt before puberty. What hormones give, loss of hormones can take away.
  • Symptom 8 (dry vagina) results in painful intercourse
  • Symptom 11 (doom thoughts) includes thoughts of death, picturing one's own death
  • Symptom 14(incontinence) reflects a general loss of smooth muscle tone
  • Symptom 15 (itchy, crawly skin) feeling of ants crawling under the skin, not just dry itchy skin
  • Symptom 16 (aching sore joints) may include such problems as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Symptom 22 (depression) different from other depression, the inability to cope is overwhelming. There is a feeling of loss of self. Hormone therapy ameliorates the depression dramatically.
  • Symptom 25 (weight gain) often around the waist and thighs, resulting in 'the disappearing waistline'
  • Symptom 29 (shock sensation) "the feeling of a rubber band snapping in the layer of tissue between skin and muscle. It is a precursor to a hot flash"
  • Symptom 30 (tingling in extremities) can also be a symptom of B-12 deficiency, diabetes, alterations in the flexibility of blood vessels, or a depletion of potassium or calcium
  • Symptom 35* (tinnitus) one of those physical conditions that seems to manifest in some women at the same time as menopause. It can be associated with health conditions such as hypothyroidism and heart disease, and is a known side-effect of many medications, including aspirin (salicylates) and Prozac.
by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:36 PM


  • hypothyroidism
  • diabetes
  • depression with another etiology
  • other medical conditions
by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:36 PM

What is Menopause?

There is significant disagreement about the definition of menopause. Some confusion exists because there are several stages of the natural menopause process. Technically, natural menopause is the transition between perimenopause and postmenopause, the entire process culminating with the ceasing of the menses, generally around age 50 for most women.

This natural menopause process itself is usually identified retrospectively, when it's been a year since a last period. Susun Weed, in her book Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, describes natural menopause as a metamorphosis, a change from one person to another, similar to puberty. It can be viewed as a hormonal shift mirroring puberty.

Natural menopause occurs when the monthly cycle of ovulation comes to an end. This is because the ovarian supply of follicles and eggs declines sharply as a woman approaches menopause. During this time, called perimenopause, which can last anywhere from five to fifteen years, the brain continues to send out hormones trying to stimulate the development of ovarian follicles, and it is common for a woman's ovaries to respond erratically, so that her hormones fluctuate a great deal from month to month. These fluctuations are responsible for many of the symptoms of perimenopause.

Eventually, though, the ovaries are no longer able to develop an egg for ovulation. Ovarian production of estrogen goes into a permanent decline, and progesterone is no longer produced. The lining of the uterus thins, since it isn't being stimulated by high estrogen levels each month, and monthly bleeding stops. Menopause has occurred. Don't discount the importance of the postmenopausal ovary, however! It continues to produce hormones even after ovulation ends, producing some estrogen and also androgens (male hormones) including testosterone. Some of the androgens are converted to estrogen (estrone) in a woman's fat tissue.

Apart from the natural menopause transition (perimenopause to postmenopause) which most women will experience, some may face the challenge of a premature menopause in the form of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) or Surgical / Medical (instant) Menopause.

AWARE endeavors to separate the facts regarding these various facets of menopause so that you can sort through the data according to your special needs and desire for information. Menopause, whether entered naturally or through surgical or medical intervention, is inevitable for women who live long enough, and it deserves its nickname…"the change".


Extensive patient resources exist within the CenterWatch, Clinical Trials Listing Service: Listing of Clinical Trials, Listing of NIH Studies, Patient Notification Service, Newly Approved Drug Therapies and Background Information on Clinical Research. Additionally the site has a list of other health-related web sites appropriate to patient associations and patient support groups, as well as additional resources for patients and patient advocates, by clinical specialty.


by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Perimenopause (premenopause)

Perimenopause is the phase before menopause actually takes place, when ovarian hormone production is declining and fluctuating, causing a host of symptoms.

Some clinicians maintain that perimenopause can last for as long as 5 to 15 years, while others refer to perimenopause as that period which is a 3 to 4 year span just before menopause. Either way, many women experience more symptoms during perimenopause than after menopause. Because this often happens at an age between 35 and 45, many women's symptoms are overlooked or ignored by their healthcare providers.

Most premenopausal women experience changes in their menstrual cycle. When estrogen levels begin to drop, the follicular phase of the cycle may be shortened, and this can shorten the total cycle from 28–30 days to 24–26 days, resulting in more frequent periods. On the other hand, some women begin having longer cycles because they are not ovulating as frequently. These changes can be quite different on an individual basis. Additionally, this declining/fluctuating estrogen level can produce a host of disturbing symptoms: hot flashes, increasing vaginal dryness, sleep problems, mood swings, breast tenderness and many other complications.

Many clinicians believe this is a perfect time to begin judicious estrogen/progesterone/testosterone therapy because then the hormone supplements do not create an excess, but are simply replacing a failing internal supply.

There is a relatively small number of women who hardly notice any changes before menopause. Their periods just stop overnight with few, if any, symptoms.

Another small percentage of women experience significant, dramatic symptoms that, when left untreated, ultimately lead to surgical intervention. Many women find at this time too many physicians strongly urging surgery and failing to provide information about the alternatives to, and consequences of, hysterectomy.

If you fall into this category, consider contacting the HERS Foundation (Hysterectomy Educational Resources & Services). It is an independent nonprofit national and international women's health education organization.




by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Premature Menopause

Apart from the natural menopause transition (perimenopause to postmenopause) which most women will experience, some may face one of the following challenges:

Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)

Surgical Menopause

Medical Menopause


The average age for women to reach natural menopause, the cessation of periods, is about 50. Some women, however, go through menopause in their 40s and some, as early as their 20s and 30s. For most women, the diagnosis of Premature Menopause (also known as Premature Ovarian Failure) is a shattering experience. Many younger women who are diagnosed with POF have not had the chance to make a decision about having children and find that opportunity denied to them.

If you've found an absence of support and information on this subject in your community, here are some helpful online resources.

A UK-based Premature Menopause support group called The Daisy Network has some excellent resources. It is a very interactive site, structured to include What is Premature Menopause, Health Risks, Infertility, and contacts with other online support.

The most comprehensive site is Premature Ovarian Failure Support Group. It is well organized and includes a Newsletter, Listserv, Chat Room and Doctor's Answer Line which has 3 resident doctors to field questions. There is an annual membership fee which includes benefits such as assistance in creating a local POF Support Group, a confidential Share List with names and addresses of women diagnosed with POF who are interested in talk with other women, a newsletter and more.

Conceiving Concepts explores Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), occurring when your ovaries, which store and release eggs, stop working before age 40. POF Symptoms can happen suddenly or over time.

by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM


Menopause happens most dramatically as the result of surgical intervention, namely a hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy where both ovaries are removed. Sometimes this is called TAH/BSO, or total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Salpingo refers to the fallopian tubes which connect the ovaries to the uterus. In the case of a hysterectomy, where only the uterus is removed and the ovaries maintained, there will be some confusion about when menopause occurs because of the absence of a period.

When the uterus is removed (hysterectomy) and the ovaries remain, menstrual periods stop but other menopausal symptoms (if any) usually occur at the same age that they would naturally. However, some women who have a hysterectomy may experience menopausal symptoms at a younger age.

There are many decisions to make when faced with surgical menopause. You can never have enough information about the process. You can't just take your doctor's word! Become proactive…this is your body. Listed below are a few points of information that should help your transition into this process:

  • The younger the woman going through surgical menopause, the more problems she will likely encounter.
  • It is crucial that every young woman scheduled for a hysterectomy have a complete hormonal blood work-up. That way there is a baseline to go by when determining hormonal needs. You can look back at those tests and see what the levels were when you felt normal and try to achieve those levels again with the right hormones.
  • Plan on your care after the hysterectomy. As a young woman it is important to find a "specialist " in hormonal therapy; someone who is up to date and keeps up to date with the newest medicine and side effects from surgical menopause. This doctor has to be someone you can trust, who provides good information and is open minded and will see you as a partner in your healthcare.
  • Research, research, and more research! The long-term affects of surgical menopause at a younger age has not really been determined. We are just now finding out how it relates to heart disease, osteoporosis and general health.
by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM


Not every woman will experience these symptoms, but it is a proven fact that if you are in surgical menopause, then you will experience most of these symptoms in a more severe fashion than women going through menopause naturally.


HERS FOUNDATION (Hysterectomy Educational Resources & Services)
422 Bryn Mawr Avenue 
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 

To request a free information packet: Tel (610) 667-7757
To arrange a telephone appointment with a counselor: FAX (610) 667-8096

Sans Uteri Hysterectomy Forum, communication between hysterectomized women and women considering surgery. This site has many segments including a private mailing list of women who have had hysterectomies. Other features of the site are described in their FAQ.

Alternatives to Hysterectomy is designed for women who have been told they need a hysterectomy and are searching for alternative treatment. This site is under the direction of Michael E. Toaff, MD

Alternatives in Gynecology is the site of Paul D. Indman, MD, FACOG. Topics explored at this site are common gynecological problems and procedures that should be considered when contemplating hysterectomy.

A Woman's Guide to Overcoming Endometriosis from - complete and thorough resource about endometriosis

Hystersisters, a woman-to-woman support website for hysterectomy recovery. This group offers resources and kindness so that visitors can discover options and make decisions for themselves.

Hot Flashes Thyroid dysfunction
Night sweats Bladder infections
Insomnia Incontinence
Increased appetite Weight gain
Hair Loss Irritability
Vaginal dryness Anger/Rage
Painful intercourse Suicidal thoughts
Decreased sexual desire Depression
by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM


Intervention can occur which produces a medical menopause. Often women who are treated for cancer with chemotherapy go into temporary or permanent menopause.

Anticancer drugs can damage the ovaries and reduce the amount of hormones they produce. As a result, some women find that their menstrual periods become irregular or stop completely while they are having chemotherapy. The hormonal effects of treatment may cause menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes and itching, and burning or dryness of vaginal tissues.

Damage to the ovaries may result in infertility, the inability to become pregnant. In some cases, the infertility is a temporary condition; in other cases, it may be permanent. Whether infertility occurs, and how long it lasts, depends on many factors, including the type of drug, the dosage given, and the woman's age.

The above information is summarized from The National Cancer Institute web site. It has been extracted from a segment entitled "Coping With Side Effects".

Cancer Care. This is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free professional help to people with all cancers through counseling, education, information and referral and direct financial assistance. This page covers breast cancer.

It is not the intention of Project AWARE to offer in-depth information on cancer treatment, but only to provide direction to information as it relates to cancer and its effect on women's reproductive health.



by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM


Postmenopause is a time when most of the distress of the menopausal changes have faded. Hot flashes may seem milder or less frequent; energy and emotional levels may seem to have stabilized.

It is generally believed by most clinicians that the postmenopausal phase begins when 12 full months have passed since the last menstrual period. Another typical guideline is to measure the level of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). A rising FSH level indicates to the clinician that the pituitary is working overtime in a futile effort to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs which no longer exist. Most researchers use a 35-50 FSH level as the gauge whether a woman has reached postmenopause. This high FSH level continues for the rest of a woman’s life unless HRT is started, but this continuing high level is not harmful.

Another major change that occurs after menopause is that estrogen production shifts from the ovaries to the fat cells in a woman's body. The chief estrogen of postmenopause is estrone (E1) which is converted from androgens (i.e., androstenedione) produced mainly by the adrenal glands. Some estrogen continues to be produced by the adrenals but in a lesser amount. The ovaries have now begun to shrink in size, although they never disappear and, in fact, they still have quite an important role in postmenopause since some hormones (ie. testosterone) continue to be produced there.

Hopefully, by the time a woman reaches postmenopause, she will have practiced good health habits throughout her life and, consequently, approaches this time of life well-prepared both physiologically and emotionally. Ideally, the menopausal woman will have built up bone mass during her younger years, so that if bone loss now occurs it won’t be as devastating as it might be if she has been very casual about good health measures. However, if this is not the case..

It is not too late to begin a good wellness regimen. The healthy woman passes through menopause with fewer problems than one who has not prepared herself. There is more time now for women to take care of themselves. Childbearing and childrearing years are past, and most women are no longer faced with major career decisions.

Postmenopausal measures for good health should be a continuation of premenopausal strategies, i.e. a nutritious diet containing calcium-rich foods, weight-bearing exercise, seeking hormone replacement or herbal aids for menopausal symptoms if necessary, and getting regular medical checkups, including bone density scans (DEXA).

Women who began hormone replacement (HRT) during perimenopause may decide to continue it through the postmenopausal years. Still others may wish to utilize alternative remedies for relief of persistent symptoms during this time. Those with with cancer, osteoporosis, and heart concerns will want to research their options and discuss these with their doctors.

Whatever the postmenopausal woman chooses for her health, the decision is a personal one. Thankfully we live in a time when multiple options are available. No woman should feel compelled to choose any one method for postmenopausal wellness, but rather should feel free to make use of all the options available, picking and choosing from mainstream medicine and alternatives to tailor a program to fit her specific needs.


by CAFE SASSY HBIC on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Personal Stories

In these pages women share their heartfelt experiences—personal triumphs, opinions, observations. They may be about medical (or related) matters, a friend's personal story, or an account of a situation (humorous or otherwise). Come back to see what we have added...



  • How the practice of Chi Lel Qigong helped me
  • Letter to Oprah - After watching Oprah's show on hysterectomies, this woman got inspired to write her.
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