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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Menopause is a beginning, not an ending's LiveJournal:

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Friday, August 3rd, 2007
11:12 am
I'm new

I mentioned to a guy at work last night that I'm starting perimenopause.  He just gave me a blank look.  I knew, at the time, that it was a crazy thing to say, especially since I'm only 30.  This was after floating around the store in a daze for a couple hours following a hotflash (I work in retail) and then snapping at the customer service person.  Well, I tried.  I felt like he deserved an explanation.  Then I thought, maybe I should find some people who know what I'm talking about.  So, here I am.  Hi everyone!
Monday, January 15th, 2007
11:08 am
New to the group
I’m new to the community. I’m 50 years old (and an RN with a background in intensive care nursing) and for the last 2 years or so my menstrual cycle has been doing flip-flops. I have gone as long as 6 months without a period but now seem to be having them every 8 weeks or so. The last one was the week before Christmas and was uncharacteristically heavy while not altogether torrential. However over the last 4 weeks or so I have been experiencing the most distressing episodes of palpitations and anxiety, which I have just discovered are both symptoms peri-menopausal women, can experience.
Over the last few weeks I have experienced episodes of palpitations that occurred either during or just after going to the gym. I have been investigated for cardiac causes but nothing showed up. On the advice of my naturopath I have stopped all caffeine as I can well do without the stimulant and that’s helped but last night I woke about 1am with the feeling of what I can only describe as fear and trepidation. For several minutes I felt like I was going to die and I wouldn’t close my eyes. It was the most awful experience and I ended up sitting up watching TV until the feeling passed. This morning I did some research and found out that some women experience similar ‘panic’ attacks and wonder if anyone can help me with some advice on how to manage these episodes.
Thanks in advance

Thursday, December 7th, 2006
10:07 am
I just don't get it.
I was one of those who never had regular periods. I would infuriate medical people by not knowing the date of my last menstrual period. They would explain to me that I could use this info to predict my next period, etc. Wrong. One infuriated doc asked me how do I know to plan for my period if I don't track them. My answer was this. Tracking does no good. The little rascals are everywhere. They cannot be predicted with a calendar, a calculator or all the computers at NASA. I know when it's coming because I bloat up, none of my clothes fit, I get insane food cravings and my face turns into a pizza. I refused to take the pill because it made me sick to my stomach and used a diaphram until I got my tubes tied.

Now I'm 43 and my periods have become regular as a clock. I have next to no PMS and for the first time ever, I can use all those handy devices to predict my period. What's up with that? Why is this happenning to me? In case it matters, I have never been pregnant.
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
9:38 am
musings of being in the menopause zone...
Last night I went to Menopause the Musical--if you have a chance to see this show, go! It is so funny and true!

I am dealing with some insomnia lately. Not so fun. But bearable.

Finally, I am finding I am feeling curiously freer lately--the combination of the empty nest and menopause, well, less worries. I like this stage! Who knew?
Thursday, September 7th, 2006
6:50 pm
When should I take black cohosh? All the time or what?
I just had a complete physical, complete with gyn discussions. He said I'm pre-menopausal. And proud and happy, BTW. I refused all chemical assistance. I'm aleady taking Effexor and something I can't recall for panic attacks and testing various anti-inflammatories because I have bad knees. IMHO, it's not too great to be part of an experiment, they don't really know what they are doing and this is not an illness.

I take Black Cohosh sometimes. I don't know if I should take it everyday, only when I feel hormonally unbalanced, or what? I'm open to other natural items.

Not to gross people out too much, but the hormonal rollercoaster ride includes hormones dropping so fast I get mentally confused and somedays I have periods so fast and furious I need to change disposable pads every hour. And talk about cranky! Today, I was wondering about quitting my job. I love my job. I'm just hormonal. I keep a spare change of pjs next to the bed for hot flashes and sweating. I'm lucky, I only get them at night. Sometimes I feel perfectly fine. Sometimes, I'm depressed, ranty, sick to my stomach, no energy, cranky, and no memory whatsoever. Last year I quit smoking and I have cut way back on caffiene. Those were the 2 things keeping me energized. Now I'm a zombie.

Still I refuse artificial hormones becasue I had many problems with BCPs giving me morning sickness, and I don't think enough research has been done to prove they are safe or effective.
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006
2:29 pm
Poll on Fosamax and Boniva
Hi there. I'm 48 and a new member. Nice to meet you all.

Some of my friends and relatives have noticed an apparent undocumented side-effect of the osteoporosis medications Fosamax and Boniva. They are seeking anecdotal information about this to take to their respective doctors, and would appreciate your support in taking and publicizing this poll.

Poll on osteoporosis meds

Thank you.
Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
9:30 pm
Hi. I'm Gita, I'm 47 years old, and my gynaecologist informed me that I'm entering menopause. He based this diagnosis on the presence of cytolytic vaginosis and the beginning of atrophic vaginitis, combined with a certain irregularity of my periods. The treatment of choice for the vaginosis is the baking soda douche, made of common household materials, although, trying to find an oldskool douchebag in the world of Summer's Eve was a little frustrating. Treatment for the atrophy, however, is the new and costly VagiFem, a form of insertable estradiol. This treatment is said to have fewer side effects and less risk of cancer than traditional hormone replacement therapy. He also has me washing daily with Nizoral, which in generic form is pretty cheap but nonetheless lacks a certain convenience factor.

Now, I like my vagina as much as the next person, but does this seem like overkill to anyone else? Has anyone had these diagnoses or treatments? If so, how long do you have to do all this before you pass into some postmenopausal universe in which the organ can once again be largely ignored, as it has been lo these 47 years?

Adding to the complications is that I have bipolar disorder, so anything to do with my hormonal balance basically whacks me out. And just how long does this persist, either.

I've had white hair since I was 30, and thought I was adjusted to being a crone. Hrmph.
Tuesday, July 4th, 2006
5:16 pm
Hi, I'm new... 2 months ago I had to have both ovaries removed due to cysts - one which was a foot and a half long (I lost 31 pounds after surgery - always looking on the bright side, that's me :) Anyway, I'm 24, and the concept of menopause and infertility has me very scared, confused and depressed. None of my friends understands, one even telling me that hot flashes are probably in my head. I guess I'm just looking for some support, and I'm looking forward to discussing this with people who understand.
Saturday, June 24th, 2006
9:54 am
IMPORTANT INFO! Live Journal's answer to their more mature members
I hope this post will be considered "on topic" -- but I am x-posting this entry to all my communities, of which I'm a member, which target those "over 25" (or more...!). Please feel free to delete if you feel I'm not appropriate...

There have been some rumors which have been circulating around Live Journal about a new journal type Six Apart (the parent company) is initiating, called "Vox". I, personally have read them in fortysomething. It was insinuated that the idea for that site was to guide us "more mature" members over there, leaving Live Journal for the younger set. There have been comments -- and rumors -- that the executives at Six Apart were trying to make Live Journal more like a "MySpace" to appeal to the teenagers and 20somethings.

It may be more hype or rumor, than reality, but better to be safe than sorry!

Well -- here is Live Journal's answer to these rumors:


And let me quote here from a portion of that entry, as well:

Another point of confusion came from some wording on the Six Apart website, which states that "LiveJournal has grown to be an amazing community of fiercely independent bloggers, primarily teenagers and twenty-somethings." We know the first part is true, but some people are questioning the second part. Though a few different sources confirm that the largest group of LJ users falls into the ages of around 18-24, a lot of LJ users feel that description just doesn't describe LJ's diverse community. We want you to know that we've heard your concerns, and now we're challenging you to help us make our statistics more accurate. The way you can do this is by following this meme that you might have already seen:

Go to the profile page and specify your full date of birth, including your year of birth. If you don't want everyone to see how old you are, make sure the box that says "show your birthday to other users" is unchecked. The important thing is to get yourself into the database. Then tell your friends about it, and ask them to do it too.

Finally, we want to reiterate that LiveJournal is a place where you can be yourself. We welcome users of all ages, with all interests, and we know that LJ's unique and diverse community is what makes it special. All of us on the staff have made friends on LJ who are totally different from us, live in different countries, have different points of view, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Our intention as we make changes to the site is to make LJ a better place so our current users and new users will want to use it. Sometimes we'll make mistakes, but we'll try our best to fix them. It stings when y'all yell at us, but we love that you're passionate about how you feel. :)

Ok -- put your birthday year on your user info page and BE COUNTED!
Thursday, May 18th, 2006
12:44 pm
Hi there,

Just joined this community.

I have a hysterectomy in 1999. They left one ovary but took everything else. I've been on HRT since 2000.

Do the hot flashes ever go away?

Current Mood: confused
Saturday, May 13th, 2006
5:55 am
Am I really going mad?
When will I have finished feeling menopausal? Its gone on for so long now and my mood swings are impossible. I lie awake at night sometimes feeling as though I must be going mad. Sometimes I can't work out if my brain is working sensibly at all. I'm really stressed..I have a stressful life so then I wonder whether I'm having some sort of burnout or breakdown or whether it really is all to do with hormones. It all seems to be a little more than my husband can cope with at present. I'm pretty distraught at the moment. Sorry if I am rambling but it wasn't a good night....just wanted to let it out really.
Normal service will I am sure be resumed.

Current Mood: distressed
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
8:40 pm
new community
I have created this community:

The Art of Grandparenting
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
5:10 pm
I'm new to this community and to menopause. Mine in chemically induced...chemo for breast cancer. Looking for friendship and support.

Current Mood: drained
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
3:32 pm
So, who's up for a good cause?
Cross-posted, with minor variations, pretty much everywhere.

I apologize if this is inappropriate for the community. I'm hoping you won't feel that way.

On May 21st, I will be participating in the annual AIDS Walk for the Minnesota AIDS Project. In past years, we've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatment, support services, education and prevention, and I'm so proud to be part of something that's doing so much good.

I started walking for AIDS in the mid-nineties, when I still lived in upstate New York. At the time, I worked for an OB. Seeing the devastation that positive HIV diagnoses wrought in the lives of young mothers and their families was enough to convince me that there is no set target demographic for this horror. Everyone is at risk. Everyone needs to pay attention. Everyone needs to care.

My children are young adults. I know that they are sexually active. Are they safe? I hope so. But one slip-up, just one, is enough to kill them someday, and my grandchildren too. This is real to me. And if walking ten kilometers will help to educate people about prevention, if being stiff and sore for a few days will generate the money to help those people already affected, then by every god in every pantheon ever conceived of, I'll do this year after year until I'm in a wheelchair, and then I'll still find someone to help me by pushing me along.

I'm hoping we kill this beast before then.

I will need the help of every caring soul I can find. Please find it in your hearts to visit my site and support my Walk, and if you'd like to link to my page or to this post, I would be deeply grateful. No fancy HTML, because I want to make cutting and pasting easy for you. To go to my page and be a part of this with me, click below. And thank you.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006
11:23 pm
New Person here!
I just found the group today and I must confess I was out looking for a few others who may not think I'm going nuts!

I'm 53, never had problems with being biologically female. My periods were regular; never had cramps or any of the other ills inflicting my peers. Heck, my pregnancy was so hum-drum the only way I knew I was pregnant was my stomach was getting bigger and someone kicked in there on occasion! No periods of course but nothing else.

Menopause is almost another story altogether. No, I don't have or haven't had nay hot flashes. Over the past year I've had maybe three periods. The year before that I missed three and actually found myself having a indepth discussion with my boyfriend about how he felt about supporting a child on Social Security. No worries. . .my body soon proved that I wasn't pregnant. By the by, he was quite willing.

But other things are bouncing in. Right now I could sit down and weep almost entirely without reason. My supervisor keeps asking me what happened. . .why didn't I do such and such? I can't answer him. If I could remember why I didn't do such and such I probably would have simply done it in the first place? I manage to hold things together (more or less) while I'm at work but when I get home I get either paralyzed by fears/worries or depressed to the point I don't do anything at home at all! I'm almost afraid to make decisions from time to time. To echo some of the posts here: That's not me at all!

Sorry for being so verbiose. I am naturally but this is a little beyond the pale. It's nice to know I'm not nuts. . .now I want to learn how to make it stop! I want me back.. .bet that sounds familiar, too.
Saturday, January 21st, 2006
2:27 am
hot flashes
What is the quickest most effective way to get rid of hot flashes? I could be perimenopause but not sure. I had Ross River Virus at the beginning of 2005 {mosquito borne} & you get fevers like malaria. However it calmed down around September & I thought it was over. Then Oct & Nov I missed both periods. {highly Unusual for me as I have endometrosis although I have had a lot of other stress going on whcih might account for it}. Then I had a period in December. Waiting for the next one. Two weeks ago fevers or what I am now thinking might be hot flashes started again. They are whole body {legs, feet etc not jsut upper torso as many menopause people mention} and come and go sometimes many times an hour and Im drenched in sweat.(as I was with the ross river virus}. So Im confused as to whether the Ross River is reoccuring again {it can apparently} or I am going into perimenopause. In any case I've just turned 50 and in the right age I guess. So wanting to know which is the most fast/effective way to be rid of hot flashes because I just can't stand it.
Thanks & sorry for the whinge tone, I just read somewhere it might last 4-15 years, and I just can't see myself living through that. I'd rather have my endo pain back again.
Tuesday, November 29th, 2005
9:05 pm
I hope it's ok to post this here; if not, please delete!

I'm twenty years old, and having a hysterectomy next month.

I have severe endometriosis and adenomyosis. I'm in constant, chronic pain and I've pretty much exhausted my conservative treatment options. I'm a little scared, but mostly just relieved. I can't wait to get my life back. Right now I'm pretty much disabled from the pain.

It's a pretty radical choice, but I really feel it's the best one for me. I won't ever be able to get pregnant anyway, so there's no point in keeping an organ that's doing nothing but ruining my life. :)
I wanted a support community for women (especially young, but any age is welcome!) who are going through, or have gone through, this procedure. So, anyone here who has had a hysterectomy, or is thinking about having one, please consider joining me over at hysterectomies.
2:53 pm
A little Tuesday humor for you!
A middle-aged woman seemed sheepish as she visited her gynecologist

"Come now," coaxed the doctor, "you've been seeing me for years! There's nothing you can't tell me."

"This one's kind of strange..."

"Let me be the judge of that," the doctor replied.

"Well," she said, "yesterday I went to the bathroom in the morning and heard a plink-plink-plink in the toilet and when I looked down, the water was full of pennies."

"I see."

"That afternoon I went to the bathroom again and, plink-plink-plink, there were nickels in the bowl."

"That night," she went on, "I went again, plink-plink-plink, and there were dimes and this morning there were quarters! You've got to tell me what's wrong with me!," she implored, "I'm scared out of my wits!"

The gynecologist put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "There, there, it's nothing to be scared about."
(Ready for this?)
(I'm warning you.....)
(Still not too late....click the back key now!)
"You're simply going through the change!"
Sunday, November 27th, 2005
12:13 am
Just Lurking Through
Had my hysterectomy in April 2005. Open to share experiences with other women.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2005
10:45 pm
Menopause/Part 4

Land of lost libido

Physical changes can, and often do, affect a woman's sexual desire. But sometimes emotions play an even more powerful role.
Gail Rosenblum, Star Tribune

Elsa Batica passed a mirror in her bathroom seven years ago and saw a woman she didn't recognize.

That woman was Elsa.

Her husband, Addi, was knocking on the door, but she wouldn't let him in. "Maybe I was being dramatic," says Batica, now 54 and manager of cross-cultural health development and training at Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota. "But, when I close my eyes, I always think of myself in college. In the mirror, where did the wrinkles come from? It scared me. I touched my face, my eyelids, my cheeks. 'Oh, my God,' I thought. 'I'm getting old.' "

What, you might wonder, does this have to do with a story on midlife sexuality? Plenty.

For many women, it is impossible to separate sexuality from self-image. Yes, many physical changes occur as women enter menopause, due largely to wildly fluctuating hormone levels: irregular periods, hot flashes and night sweats, sleep disturbances, vaginal and urinary problems and skin wrinkling, among them. The good news is that women can find help through many traditional and bioidentical hormones; many women also have found relief in acupuncture, black cohosh, Vitex, soy and herbal teas.

But the emotional piece is more complex. "Some women are shy. The social norm is they're not supposed to talk about sex," said Diane Petersen, who practices obstetrics and gynecology at Women's Health Consultants in Minneapolis and is vice chairwoman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

"Occasionally, a woman will come to me specifically for help with sexuality," Petersen said. Other women circle "sexual concerns" as a reason for their visit, but won't bring it up unless Petersen does. She tries to broach the subject gently during an exam, mentioning physical changes she notices that might be causing a woman pain during sex, or even pain while walking. "I talk about it as a comfort issue," she said. Sometimes, she learns that the problem isn't with the woman; it's with her partner's impotence or, in lesbian couples, differences in sexual desire. Much can be dealt with if a woman just asks, Petersen said.

But she knows that low self-esteem and poor body image can be bigger culprits than hormones. Sagging bellies and breasts, loss of hair, wrinkling skin and irritability due to lack of sleep lead many women to lean over in bed and say, "Sex? Are you joking?"

Karen Jenniges, 54, of Wanda, Minn., about 20 miles southwest of Redwood Falls, dreamed of getting to this point in her life, when the kids would be grown "and our sex life was going to be super." Then her hot flashes and night sweats "just got terrible." Now her husband, Nick, reflexively pins down his arms on the blanket at night just before she has one. "It's like he has a sensor," she said, laughing. Her weight is up, too. "I just don't feel sexy," she said, even though Nick tells her constantly how beautiful she is. "He has all the right words. There's just a block there. It goes into my head and it goes into my heart but, somehow, when it hits my ovaries, the lack of desire just takes over."

Ange Hwang, 43, is experiencing decreased libido, too, among other perimenopausal symptoms. "You just don't feel that kind of desire," said Hwang. "I wear my husband's T-shirt and we share socks." The mother of two children, ages 10 and 5, laughs: "I hadn't thought of it as menopause. I thought of it as motherhood."

For many women, the two are inextricably linked.

Linda Henning began to experience perimenopausal symptoms at age 50, just as her "absolutely gorgeous" daughter, Katharine, was moving into womanhood.

"Kat started her period at 15, as I began to experience the erratic cycling of mine," Henning wrote to the Star Tribune after we asked women to share their experiences. "She was gaining hair; I was losing it, or gaining it in places that aren't particularly attractive, like my toes and face. Her body was becoming more womanly and rounded; mine was giving way to gravity, resulting in a frustrating squarish shape. She was in danger of becoming a sex object. I was no longer the recipient of a furtive glance ..."

It was surprising to Henning, also the mother of two sons, how deeply she mourned the loss of her sex appeal. "I consider myself a feminist," said Henning. "I was surprised that part of my identify was how I looked. I wondered, 'Is there any depth to me?' "

Kat, 18, a freshman at New York University studying studio art, thinks her mom shouldn't be so hard on herself.

"When I look at my mom, I think she looks better than most women her age. She's taking a lot better care of herself now that she's going through menopause. I hope, especially with kids out of the house, that she stays busy and does what she wants to do. I hope she gets to Paris."

Single at midlife

Midlife women who are single have their own concerns. If they are sexually active, they have a host of sexually transmitted diseases to avoid, which is best accomplished if difficult conversations about protection aren't avoided. Many are extremely surprised to discover they still can get pregnant -- half of the nearly 100,000 pregnancies annually among women over age 40 are unintended, according to the National Surveys of Family Growth. "It should be a full year of no periods before they can trust that they're past the change," said Robbie Weisel, sexuality educator for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Recently divorced or widowed women may wonder if they ever will be in another sexual relationship. Weisel is empathetic, and encouraging. "There is a time where you may not feel sexual or may feel that this is never going to be apart of your life again," she said. "As you heal and come to know yourself, it evolves. Give yourself time."

For some, the heat is on in another way

It's important to say, though, that for some women, midlife sex is great. Part of that may be due to empty nests (at last!) and no worries about birth control. For some, testosterone levels actually increase. Meet Julie Hella, 51, married to Ross for 30 years and the mother of four grown boys (who might want to skip over this section).

Hella can't figure out who turned up her libido, but her husband, who was recently dealing with Lyme's disease, told their doctor that she's now "an 18-year-old's dream and a 50-year-old's nightmare." Ross said she's too aggressive, that once a week is enough. "If that's true," Julia said, "I want four weeks now! This is the only time in my life when I've had more zip than Ross. It's the darndest turnaround."

She wonders if the cause is physiological, such as fluctuating hormones, or psychological -- the fear that the decline in hormones will end all desire.

Either way, she ponders that age-old question of biology: "Why can't we both be the same, ever? One's up, one's down. One's ready to snore."

True, it's the lucky couple who find a level playing field. The rest of us are left to high-level negotiations.

Christiane Northrup, author of "The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing During the Change," offers plenty of advice on how to reclaim the spark that has little to do with medicine. A big one is communication: Tell your partner what you're thinking and feeling. Be proactive: Figure out together what gets you in the mood and do it. Be adventurous and spontaneous. (One of the best ways to pump up libido, by the way, is through regular sexual activity -- sort of a friendly reminder for your body.)

And, try to love your body. Because if you do, you'll find your way to a partner who does, too. Elsa Batica made it through menopause with the help of acupuncture and one very patient husband. Intimacy with Addi is great, she said, but the best part is that they still hold hands.

A healthy, intimate relationship, sexual or not, Petersen said, "helps us live a long time. It helps us in terms of heart disease. Sharing a wonderful sexual relationship is just about the closest people can come to being one."

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