So, uh was this menopause?
February 16, 2018 8:14 PM   Subscribe

I've apparently inadvertently gone through menopause. What next?

Hiya. I'm 53. In Walgreen's last week realized I hadn't bought tampons in, a while. Checking the website used to track my periods ... it's been 2.5 years. My skin is more dry maybe, but I live in the desert, and I have to diet more aggressively to combat weight gain. Before Mom died (maybe five years ago) I asked her if she'd had hot flashes (friends telling horror stories and wanted to prepare). She said, "Lord, no, but I heard enough about them from BFF One and BFF Two.)

My question is, I'm lucky? ... but what should I actually be concerned about/talking to a doctor about? I don't have a GP right now ... the last one (a female) asked me "Are you sexually active?" and got super slut-shamey when I said "And how!" (I do get mammos and will have another check-up this year.)

TL;DR: How do I menopause? What should I be doing? Feel like there are things I should be adjusting/looking for that I'm missing.
posted by SockPuppetOfShame to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
what should I actually be concerned about/talking to a doctor about?

Specifically in relation to menopause? Nothing. You don't have a medical problem. That said, there are changes and you may want to adjust your behaviours / expectations as they manifest.
Keep up a regime of mammograms and pap smears (make sure you are getting the latest type).
Up hydration, skin care (moisturising and sun block), and lube stocks if necessary.
Curves are more likely to thicken. This may or may not bother you. Up exercise and cut sugars.
You'll have less metaphorical fucks to give, so ration wisely. This is a feature not a bug.
Don't take up any addictive substances. Apparently the two riskiest times for drug addiction in women is during puberty and menopause.
posted by Thella at 8:29 PM on February 16, 2018 [11 favorites]

I've heard good things about Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:43 PM on February 16, 2018

posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:16 PM on February 16, 2018 [16 favorites]

IANYD, but the definition of menopause is one full year without a period, so congratulations! You passed that milestone a while back and haven't had a bumpy road. There's nothing you need to specifically do--menopause is yet another normal life transition which we have super medicalized in the US but can be as natural as breathing.
posted by eglenner at 12:01 AM on February 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Weight training.
posted by headnsouth at 1:35 AM on February 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

YAY! Do check on your blood pressure and cholesterol. With less estrogen, you may be prone to those increasing over time.
posted by wens at 5:18 AM on February 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Don't let anyone talk you into estrogen supplements. Like you, I had no problems, no hot flashes, kept waiting for awful things but they never happened. I went to a doctor who was not my usual one once for a pap smear and she tried to talk me into taking estrogen. This was some years ago before all the negative publicity about it. I went to my regular GP, asked if I should be taking estrogen, he asked if I had any problems, I said "No". He said it was not necessary and that was that. Keep doing what you are doing. Also I second weight training, I have been doing that for a while, working out in any way you enjoy is good too.
posted by mermayd at 6:09 AM on February 17, 2018

My menopause has been fairly symptom free. I do need to take supplements for bone density. You might want to get a bone scan once in a while to monitor that.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:28 AM on February 17, 2018

You are very lucky OP! I've had debilitating anxiety and hot flashes. You've done menopause just fine...
posted by bessiemae at 9:13 AM on February 17, 2018

Embrace your good fortune!
And yes, be sure to keep up with your normal screenings. Also, be sure to let a dr know if you do experience any vaginal bleeding from now on so it can be checked out.
I’ve been post-menopausal for almost 2 years and the only changes I’ve experienced are sleep difficulties and increased anxiety —but to be honest, I’m not sure if those are related to menopause or are due to the state of the world.
posted by bookmammal at 9:28 AM on February 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yes to blood work-ups, bone density scans, and incorporating weight-lifting into your regular activity. Hormonal changes (including "The Change") can impact eye and dental health, too, so make sure those exams are on your schedule. And please get a regular GP (one who's sex-positive); it's just easier having a doc who's familiar with you and your history for these regular check-ups, and in the event of colds or flu.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:07 PM on February 17, 2018

Thank you! This is all so helpful. I just ordered a set of dumbbells today!
posted by SockPuppetOfShame at 3:24 PM on February 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

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