Sunday, March 27, 2011

Menopause (don't read if it is TMI)

I had a tough perimenopause and a fairly easy menopause, I thought.  I never took hormonal birth control (I used a diaphram my whole reproductive life) so I didn't have a planned menopause.  The first changes of perimenopause for me were mild hot flashes at night and my periods became regular, after being very irregular (28-60 days) my whole reproductive life.  That was fine, except it lasted around 5 years and my periods kept getting heavier and longer.  My doctor recommended ablation to reduce the flow, but I said I would try to wait it out.  And indeed my periods stopped before the heavy flow became unmanageable.

I skipped a few periods, then had a few, several times, then went 9 months or so, then had a couple, and finally it has been 20 months or so since I last had a period.  The hot flashes never got bad (I do think taking fish oil reduces them for me) and while this has been a difficult period of my life for outside reasons, I never felt menopause had caused mood swings.  I find grapeseed oil is all I need to manage personal dryness.  At one point about a year after my periods stopped I experienced rapid weight gain no matter how carefully I ate, but that has stablized.

But now after 20 months I have my period again.  Discouraging.  I assume my doctor is going to want to do an ultrasound.  The last time I had one, maybe 5 years ago, I found it triggering, and said to myself the next time I would bring my husband to support me.  But he's impaired enough by his own illness that he wouldn't be a help now.  I guess I'll try music.  I'm not worried that I might have cancer--this has been so much a normal period that it doesn't feel like something is out of whack.

It is annoying to have to go back out and buy supplies.  I gave most everything away, but luckily I had kept a box of my favorite o.b. ultra, which are no longer available.  I did just do some research because I remembered reading when it was too late to help me that progesterone is the best treatment for heavy flow.  And I learned that taking ibuprofen may reduce flow by 25%.  I already took a Naproxen today to help the crampiness so I will wait to tonight to switch to ibuprofen, but I'm happy to know that there is something easy I can do.

Cross reference added later to more of the story

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