Coping With Medically Induced Menopause

Most women go through menopause in stages. Maybe you’re different. One day you were having regular periods, and then something happened. You had chemotherapy, or a hysterectomy, or some other health issue that needed treatment and menstruation was the casualty.

Sudden menopause is a challenge, both to your health and to your mind. I had my last period the day after I received my first chemotherapy infusion for breast cancer. I was 45 years old, and other than the cancer diagnosis I felt in my prime. If something similar has happened to you, here are some things to keep in mind that may help.

Let yourself feel the grief.

Menopause is a big change. It comes with annoying symptoms as well as the end of fertility. Whether you were planning to have more children or not, the end of what I called the “juicy” period of my life was distressing. While I eventually came to think of it differently, it was still a loss. Being in the post-menopause club is something most people get a chance to get used to first. It’s definitely okay to feel sad. If you’re coping with the loss of a breast, or the loss of your uterus, it can feel very sad indeed. The best way out of these feelings is to move through them.

Sudden menopause can be more physically challenging, but the worst is over sooner.

When you skip perimenopause and go straight to menopause, the onset of symptoms can be sudden and distressing. Don’t worry, it gets better. For me, the worst was over after about two years. I went through it at 45 and now, at 50, it’s really no problem. I have read on a number of forums that this is usually the way it goes. Hang in there.

Don’t hesitate to get some help.

Don’t just suffer in silence! Talk to your health care provider about what your options are to minimize distressing symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe a low-dose Paxil for sleep. Hormonal therapy may or may not be an option. White knuckles aren’t necessary. Even splurging on some comfortable moisture-wicking nightwear can make all the difference.

Hold on to your sense of humor.

Humor always helps! There are plenty of reasons to laugh, and finding them will get you through. Here’s a hint for cold weather. If your room is cold and you need to get up to use the bathroom, put an extra blanket on and wait for the hot flash. Voila! You have just enough time to make it to the bathroom and back without getting a chill.

My children found the convenience of a readily available heat source to be wonderful for a couple of years. Now they miss their living, breathing hot water bottle.

Periods are overrated.

I don’t miss the cramps, the mess, or the mood swings at all. If I had gone through menopause at the usual time, my daughter would be starting to menstruate just when I was stopping. It’s so nice that my change is over with so I can cope with hers! After you weather the sudden storm, life after your period is pretty much the same as it was before if you take good care of yourself.

Personal Experience

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