A Gentle Love Letter to Menopause - With Swearing

February 18, 2017

 

Dear Menopause,

 

Look, you fucking cunt-faced bag of rabid dicks,  I’m calling you out.   Show up and fight me like a woman.  You’ve been dancing around the outskirts of my life for years now, toying with me, slapping me with lightning-quick mood avalanches, draining all the collagen out of my body, intermittently stealing my libido, inciting visits from the Insomnia Fairy, and generally turning me into a clumsy, volatile, mustachioed, dried-up, angry imposter of the person I used to be.   And still, every goddamn month I ALSO have to be afflicted with a gorefest from the bowels of Hell.  Would you just show yourself already and get this fuckery over with?  Let’s FINISH this, beeotch.  Bring it.  NOW.

 

For those of you who cannot relate due to your lack of vagina ownership and/or ownership of a penis, let me enlighten you with this list of 66 – that’s right sixty-motherfucking-six symptoms of peri-menopause that I got at Patient.info :  

 

SIXTY-SIX PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: 

 

1. Change in menstrual cycle; cycles may get closer together or farther apart, lighter and shorter in duration or much heavier, lasting longer than one has been accustomed to. Menses may seem to take forever to begin with dark spotting for days until you actually flow, or you might feel like you have your menses every two weeks.  Check every single one of these off my list - DONE, DONE and DONE. 

 

2. Menstrual flooding (ewww ... even the name is awful) can come on with sudden onset and feel like you may hemorrhage to death. Or it can be a gradual build-up just when you think your menses will end and you start gushing for days. Flooding commonly accompanies the woman with uterine fibroids as she transits into menopause. This one is particularly fun when you work in an office full of men and have white leather chairs in the conference room. 

 

3. Headaches/Migraines, especially before, during or at the end of your menses debilitate and radically interferes with normal functioning.  For the record, isn't it always either before, during or after menses? What day doesn't fall into one of these categories???  And magnesium supplements help but fuck you Menopause for making me pay a neurologist to find that out.

 

4. Decreased motor coordination, clumsiness; this begins to make the woman who experiences this feel like she is a bit spastic, certainly less than graceful during perhaps an already awkward period in her life.  I was like this during pregnancy too.  And most of the rest of my life so, Menopause, you might get a pass from me on this one.

 

5. Lethargy, a persistent feeling of sluggishness physically and mentally, that seems to negate one's ability to do much.  Menopause has to share credit with the 90 extra pounds and shitty nutritional intake here.

 

6. Physical exhaustion and crushing, crashing fatigue that can come on so suddenly and grip you into feeling like you will collapse unless you stop this instant.  Oh thank God this is written here, I thought I was dying.

 

7. Exacerbation of any chronic illness or existing condition transpires as hormones decline or deviate from their normal balance. Depression, anxiety, panic disorder, etc., etc.

 

8. Insomnia; this includes a new or unusual pattern of either difficulty falling asleep, or dropping off to sleep for a few hours and then awakening with the inability to return to sleep.   Sleep is one of the things I have always excelled at so this one makes me very, very stabby.

 

9. Sleep disturbances from nightmares, night sweats, or just a vague sense of restlessness keeping you up or disrupting your precious revitalizing retreat from the realm of responsibilities.  Plus ridiculously vivid dreams that almost cost Adam his life when he's done something dickish in the dream that he didn't actually do in real life but I cannot be convinced of that when I wake up.  

 

10. Night sweats often begin between a woman's breasts, initially a night or two before her menses, waking her from sleep, later more profoundly disturbing with sometimes total body saturation, followed by damp or sweat drenched chills.

 

11. Interference with dream recall interrupts the sense of normal sleep, if you are someone accustomed to vivid or at least some detailed memory of your dreamtime.  I prefer not to recall my dreams so this works out just peachy for me.

 

12. Muscle cramps can occur anywhere in the body from legs to back to neck, and sometimes reflect the need for more calcium, or simply that your progesterone levels are too low. 

 

13. Low backache often worsens before or during menses, but if your hormones remain at low levels, you can experience it on a regular basis.

 

14. Gall bladder symptoms of pain, spasms and discomfort felt in the right upper abdominal quadrant under the ribs, which may be accompanied by belching, bloating, and intolerance to certain foods reflect the increased liver load with declining hormones. Hey! A symptom I DON'T have. So sorry for those of you who do - this sounds shitty.

 

15. Frequent urination, or sensations that mimic urinary infections are a disturbing symptom often unrelieved by actual urination. It is often experienced as the sensation of needing to urinate all the time, even immediately afterwards.  WHY? What is the evolutionary advantage of this shit??

 

16. Urinary incontinence, the uncontrollable and spontaneous loss of urine, or the urge for incontinence, can occur suddenly or feel continuous, and not only in response to coughing, sneezing, jumping or running.  Or laughing, or being over or standing up or just being conscious. 

 

17. Hypoglycemic reactions happen when suddenly your blood sugar crashes and you must have food now.

 

18. Food cravings, often for sweets or salty foods, but can include sour or pungent foods. 

 

19. Increased appetite, especially at night and after dinner contributes to that unusual and unwanted weight gain.  These last three seem to indicate that I have been in menopause since I was 14.

 

20. Dark circles under eyes can also be caused by adrenal exhaustion and thyroid dysfunctions, but no amount of sleep seems to eliminate them. 

 

21. Joint and muscle pain, achy, sore joints, muscles and tendons, which sometimes develop into actual carpal tunnel syndrome, or give rise to the questioning of other disease possibilities. 

 

22. Increased tension in muscles demonstrates itself in those hunched up shoulders as you work or talk about anything uncomfortable, (????)  along with promoting lower back pain and a stiff neck.  Menopause, why would you give lower back pain and stiff neck a PROMOTION?  That shit deserves a pink slip. 

 

23. Increased hair loss or thinning anywhere on body, including your head, armpits, pubic area. Well this seems like a bonus except for the head part.

 

24. Increase in facial hair especially under your chin, or along your jaw line. It may be defined by generalized hair growth, or a specific and coarse single strand of hair that pokes out, even curls. 

 

25. Unusually hair growth, around nipples, between breasts, down your back, places where your hair was finer, less coarse. So it goes away on the legs but doubles down on the boobs and upper lip.  Again, what could possibly be the evolutionary advantage to this?  

 

26. Acne, quite disturbing to any woman who dealt with this in adolescence and never thought it would recur. 

 

27. Infertility causes grief in the woman who postponed pregnancy in her earlier years and now wishes to conceive, carry to term a healthy baby, and discovers she is unable to do so. 

 

28. Loss of breast tissue begins with the decrease of progesterone production. Women often feel as though their breast have become empty sacs devoid of their normal fullness, with or without sagging.  Like a pair of gym socks with cantaloupes in them. 

 

29. Breast soreness/tenderness/pain/engorgement and swelling, occurs particularly a few days to one week before bleeding actually begins, which usually potentiates complete relief of any pain or swelling.   Accidental brushing up against the boobs can result in concussive reactions. 

 

30. Painful, or tender nipples have been described as this exquisite localized pain only in the nipples and suggests estrogen excess.  Exactly who described this as exquisite? 

 

31. Cold extremities feels quite strange especially in the presence of a hot flash, the combination of which is not impossible.  

 

32. Being accident prone, bumping into things, not even realizing it until the bruise reveals itself later and then lacking the ability to recall the causative incident feels perplexing and a little scary at the prospect of something more damaging. 

 

33. Hot flashes initially may be described as mild to severe flushes of heat waves, and for some women these evolve into intense outbreaks of sudden heat with sweating and turning bright red all over. 

 

34. Loss of sexual energy, or libido, can be marked by a gradual or sudden disinterest in sex, to the development of an actual aversion.  

 

35. Painful sex often described as if one's vagina would tear open at the point of penetration along with feelings of abrasion during intercourse.  I get it, Menopause - you don't want us having sex anymore.  What's it to you, bitch? 

 

36. Vaginal dryness, irritation, sometimes accompanied by a consistent unusual discharge - typically odor free, negates a woman's ability to be sexually active, or able to enjoy or be comfortable in her body. Again, what is your fucking point, Menopause?  WHY?????

 

37. Dizziness, feeling lightheaded and the loss of physical balance, and even wobbling at times, requires pause in movement to prevent falling over or deepening into vertigo or feeling faint.

 

38. Ringing in the ears, tinnitus, can be experienced as a pulsing sensation, a whooshing sound, an almost musical or buzzing sound with a fuzzy sensation.

 

39. Abdominal bloating comes on suddenly often after eating, or seems to be all the time, and can be visibly evident making you feel that you look like you are pregnant.  

 

40. Weight gain disturbs most women, particularly when it seems to happen over a couple of days, settles in the waist, buttocks and thighs, promoting a visceral thickening from the waist down, the classic middle-aged figure.  Classic.  Great, I'm finally a classic.

 

41. Fluid retention, edema, commonly with swelling in the legs and ankles, though not limited to this area and it is unrelieved by urination.

 

42. Palpitations or heart racing usually comes on suddenly, without warning or provocation, and dissipates spontaneously. The experience can be so wild and intense that a woman may become alarmed and wonder if she is having a heart attack. Or panic attack.

 

43. Irregularities in your heart rate may feel more like your heart has just done a flip-flop or skipped a beat.

 

44. Constipation/diarrhea, intermittent or alternating, results from declining hormone levels, which increase the demands on liver function and alters intestinal motility. 

 

45. Tendency towards candidiasis can increase, even if you have no prior known history and if you do, it may worsen.

 

46. Gastrointestinal distress, increased flatulence, unrelieved gas pains, indigestion, nausea all can reflect intestinal changes due to hormonal imbalances.

 

47. Slow digestion often goes along with the bloat. What previously took four to five hours to digest, now seems to take all night. It seems worse in the evenings.

 

48. Lack of appetite may be experienced as more of a lack of interest in food, going to the fridge and standing there with the door open and staring blankly. Feeling completely uninspired, you busy yourself with something else and forget that you need to eat.  WHAT?! That's a possibility?  Why can't I have this one, Menopause? 

 

49. Changes in body odor, especially disturbing when it seems to focus in the groin area, but can be anywhere on the body.

 

50. Puffy eyes, not only from sleep disturbances, but also can accompany low progesterone.

 

51. Facial pallor alternating with facial flushes is often intermittent with hot flashes.

 

52. Flare up of arthritis worsens with low progesterone levels and increase sugar intake.

 

53. Loss of bone density, osteoporosis, is not only an elderly woman's disease, though it seems to develop over an extended period and is triggered by the decline of hormone production.

 

54. Dry hair, change in skin tone, integrity and texture, becomes more wrinkled, and may begin the thinning process.

 

55. Changes in your fingernails characterized by easy breakage, bending, cracking and getting softer.  Mine are made of tissue paper now.

 

56. Itchy, crawly skin with a strange sensation like insects crawling around under the skin; quite different than the dry skin feeling.

 

57. Muscle tone seems to slack and sag, and lose its previous response to normal exercise. Oh crap, you mean it won't come back even if I actually finally exercise?

 

58. Pelvic pain can be random and independent of cycles and may feel continuous for some women.

 

59. Dry, itchy eyes felt in the deep posterior aspect of the eye socket, as well as superficially.

 

60. Teeth aching or the experience of a strange sensation in one's teeth or gums, often accompanied by an increase in bleeding gums. What. The. Fuck?

 

61. Change in the normal tongue sensation, which can be accompanied by a feeling of burning in your tongue and roof of mouth, malodorous breath or change in breath odor, and/or a bad taste in your mouth. And I thought #60 was weird.

 

62. Memory loss or lapses in time, makes one feel disoriented and less focused, especially when you go into another room to get something specific and seconds later cannot remember what you went to retrieve.

 

63. Feeling faint for no known reason (this does not include standing up too quickly). 

 

64. Tingling in extremities not only feels weird - like your hands or feet are falling asleep, but if persistent can be a symptom of diabetes, B12, potassium or calcium deficiency, or a compromise in blood vessel flexibility.  Perfect.  It's either menopause or diabetes. 

 

65. Sensation of electrical stimulation or shock occurring in the tissue under the skin, and may signal you that a hot flash will begin.  

 

66. Increase and worsening of allergies occurs as hormones become imbalanced as does our immune system.

 

So let's recap:  menstrual flooding, migraines, clumsiness, lethargy, crushing fatigue, nightmares, night sweats, muscle cramps, back ache, gall bladder spasms, incontinence, hypoglycemia, cravings, dark puffy bags, hair loss, acne, saggy painful boobs, hot flashes, painful sex, bloating, weight gain, dizziness, bloating, heart palpitations, a dry vag, arthritis, dry hair and skin, pelvic pain, itchy eyes, toothaches, memory loss, fainting, electroshock sensations and worsening allergies.  Yeah.  All that.  Can we just fucking get it over with???

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