Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pausing (a repost)

A summer cold has me spending this rainy day relaxing. At least between loads of laundry and meals!!! I do have a new Zachary conversation to share...

Zach: Mom, when you were my age what did they call toilet paper?

Me: They called it toilet paper. It was the same then as it is now.

Zach: Gee, you would think after all that time there would be some improvements.

I thought I would share a post I wrote for the Eating 2 Live blog. It is something that touches every woman in one way or another.....


It is something we will all have to experience, are experiencing, or have already experienced. For those of you who have already "paused", I give you a standing ovation. You are my hero. For those of you who are in the process of pausing, like me, I feel your pain and your sweat! For those of you who are not yet in your pausing part of life, take this post very seriously. Even though it will be full of fun little pictures and sayings, it is serious business. If I get off track, stop making sense, or forget what I was going to write, bear with me. I will come back to my senses after the significant hot flash has subsided.

Somewhere around 40 something our bodies start to change. We begin to have issues with hormone production. In the beginning, what is called Peri menopause, we have bouts between producing not enough and then a surge of too much. This causes havoc in our bodies. Some have an easy time with this and do not even notice any problems. They are there, but you may not even relate it to pausing. Some of us are not so lucky. We have such severe symptoms that our quality of life is affected terribly. It is unclear why some women have more symptoms or extremes than others, but they have proven breast feeding reduces pausing symptoms later in life. I breast fed, so I take issue with that study, but what do I know?! I will list the symptoms of this nasty phase of life. Note: Peri menopause/Menopause can last 3-12 years!!!!

Hot flashes, night sweats, and cold flashes. These are the most common and come in various degrees. You can have a cold flash (teeth rattling kind of cold) and in 20 minutes be so hot you are ripping your clothes off. Hormone production affects the thermostat in our body.
Bouts of rapid heartbeat. You can even have skipped and irregular heartbeat. This is normal, but if it persists and you feel uncomfortable, have it checked. I did, and found it was all menopause related. 80% of women have a prolapsed mitral valve by age 30 (my own doctor is the source of that info). This can cause a fluttery feeling in your chest. Nothing dangerous, but make sure you ask your doctor to check you for a prolapsed mitral valve. Most will not check and then they won't tell you anyway.
Irritability and Mood Swings. Anger to the point of rage, and also sudden tears for no reason.Trouble sleeping. Insomnia, or just trouble falling asleep. You may even fall asleep fine only to wake up a few hours later wide awake for an hour or two. I find Nick at Night to be a good middle of the night companion.
Irregular periods. They can become shorter and lighter, phantom (symptoms but no sign), or no period or symptoms (if you are lucky). Most have a different change. They become much heavier and clotting is frequent. Pain is associated with this. Tylenol is preferred over Advil at this time, because any ibuprofen type pain killers will promote more bleeding.
Loss of Sex Drive. Is usually temporary.
Skin changes. Dry skin/vagina. Itching all over or in dry places. Acne. Yep, just like in your teen years!Crashing fatigue. They are not sure if this is a symptom of pausing, or if it is caused by dealing with all these symptoms!!!
Anxiety, feeling of uneasiness, panic attacks. These usually have a hot flash with them and can be brought on by heat. Remember, no one ever died of a panic attack. Educating yourself about why this is happening is a huge weapon in controlling it.
Feeling of dread, apprehension and doom. This includes thoughts of death and dying. Not suicide, but a fear of dying. Again, knowing WHY you are thinking and feeling this way is key to overcoming it. Knowledge is power.
Difficulty concentrating, disorientation and mental confusion. I don't know what to say and if I did, I would have trouble getting it from my brain to the page.....Incontinence. Usually when sneezing or laughing. Most women over 40 know to cross their legs tight when sneezing. When you begin to grab yourself, it is time to get some Depends. This symptom reflects general loss of smooth muscle tone.
Increased tension in muscles. No shocker there!
Breast tenderness.
Achy sore joints and muscles. Osteoarthritis can develop during pausing. If you already have it, it can get worse.
Disturbing Memory lapse.
Headache changes. Can develop migraines and/or migroids. A migroid can have pain or none. It affects the vision. They start with lots of twinkly lights and can stop there or escalate to vision impairment. A simple dark room, and 2 Tylenol or Advil will take care of it quickly. You can also experience more of what I call "shooters". Those shooting pains that zip through your head and last only a few seconds to a minute. All hormone related.
Gastrointestinal problems. Gas pain, nausea, acid reflux, bloat. If you already have these, they can intensify as with ANY existing condition, pausing can exacerbate it.
Increase in allergies. Histamine levels are affected by hormones.
Weight gain. Often around the waist.
Hair loss or thinning. Caused by vitamins being zapped from your body during this time.
Increased facial hair...if we could just move it to our head where it is falling out!!!Dizziness, light headedness, loss of balance. Alcohol and pausing do not mix!
Change in body odor...not a sweet flowery scent.
Tingling in extremities. Caused by a B 12 deficiency.
Electric shock sensation under skin or in head...that crawling feeling. Can be only on one side at the time.
Gum problems. Increased bleeding and inflammation. Teeth get longer, hence the saying "long in the tooth" in referring to old age.
Osteoporosis. After several years.
Brittle nails and hair.
Depression. And after experiencing all these symptoms, why not??? Anyone would get depressed!Why share all this on a weight loss/ fitness blog??? Well there is good news for us. Other than Hormone replacement therapy, and some natural remedies, 3 things that you can do to relieve and even eliminate alot of these symptoms are:
***Vitamins...Many of the above symptoms are due to vitamins being depleted by pausing. Make sure you have a good multi vitamin with NO less than 400 mcg. of folic acid. Also take a sub lingual B 12 or B complex and calcium 600 mg twice a day. If you are on a stomach medication like Prevacid or Protonics, your ability to absorb calcium is greatly compromised. The only place in your body that calcium is absorbed is at the emptying of the stomach, which is heavily coated by such medications.
Nutrition. Key!!! Lots of fruits and veggies. Soy protein has been proven to help sufferers of pausing. Foods that have been processed or have preservatives can actually make these symptoms worse. Eating "clean" like Angie said, is very helpful in relieving the symptoms of pausing
Last but NOT least is exercise. Walking for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week will show a decrease in symptoms, though 5-6 times a week is even better. Yoga (I prefer the Christian, Christoga) or another relaxation type of exercise help with the anxiety part of pausing. Among helping with depression, the benefits of exercise to a pausing woman are countless!!!Weight training, which builds muscle, will alleviate many of the muscle, bone, and joint related symptoms. I am not talking about body builder type training. A couple of 3 pound weights work well or a resistance band is even better.The time to start this is BEFORE pausing, but if you are in the middle or even finished with that part of your life, the above suggestions will create health and vitality for your many remaining years.
***Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program or vitamin regiment. Also, take any of the above symptoms that feel out of control to your family doctor.
And, please, next time you see a pausing woman, give her a hug (you may have to remind her of who you are first), or get out of her will KNOW which one is appropriate when you see her!!!!!


Susan said...

I appreciate this so much, Bren! I am 43, and in the last 2-3 years have begun experiencing some of these symptoms . . . weight gain in my hips and tummy, change in my periods lately, heart "flutters", trouble with sleep, the beard I've sprouted, other more personal symptoms - I've just begun to realize what they all mean just recently. Having diabetes, which is a hormone-related disease, only makes some parts of it worse. I get to go to an endocrinologist with a gynecology specialty in August. I'm hoping she can help me along the way with all of this. All that to say that this entry was very timely for me - thanks!

Barbara H. said...

I am here from a link at Susan's, and I found this very helpful as well. much of it I had read before, but had forgotten, and some is new to me. Like itching. I was beginning to wonder if I was allergic to something! But it's not predictable and not in the same places -- just random places will start to itch, then another day it will be another area.

I have to admit sometimes I get a little (?) discontent with the Lord over all of tis, wondering why it has to be this way. Maybe it's because of the Fall, I don't know. But that really doesn't help -- it just helps to know that we can come before His throne for grace to help in time of need.

Guðrún said...

This is a lot of information, thanks.

Ginny said...

I also arrived here from Susan's link. Thank you for sharing this information. Unfortunately for me, some of the symptoms of "pausing" are the same ones I've dealt with for many years with my fibromyalgia, so it's difficult to know what's causing what. It'll be interesting to see my midwife in a couple of weeks for my regular checkup!

Brenda said...

I am in mid pause. Hate it!

Angie said...

I love this post, Bren ... very educational!
LOL ... I love the lion's teeth and other illustrations! My poor mother couldn't breastfeed (horrible time with milk production) and is now suffering. She's dealt with hot flashes (horrible ones) for 15+ years! She's 64!

Su Bee said...

I don't know if I want to share this with my daughter or not!! LOL - unfortunately she needs to hear it, this is a great compliation of information - thanks!

Idaho Quilter said...

I had to laugh, I say that all the time, "Getting old is not for sissies" and I mean it. I am pushing 68 and its tough, but exercise is your best friend.

meggie said...

Great post, with lots of recognition for the Pausing!!

Kim said...

Love the post & the pictures

Hereford uk

Marilyn R said...

I am so "there" right now! Thanks for throwing in some cute and funny pictures in there too. A smile aways helps you get through tough times.

Rose Marie said...

Been there, done that and my pausing lasted 10 yrs. During a hot flash, I found that if I opened my mouth and put my hands on my hips it helped a lot to get rid of heat faster. That and a bottle of ice water (fill a bottle of water and freeze it) also helped. Bonus was during the winter months, I could wear short sleeves and never, ever be cold. :o)

Donetta said...

I found this post very well written Sis, it mentioned the electric shocking feeling in the scalp. I have always thought of it as just part of the migraines.