Menopause

More Menopause Cartoons!

Hot Flash Stripper

Last February, Healthline asked me to come up with concepts for menopause cartoons. What fun! Illustrator Julia Selutina drew the whimsical characters and brought my cartoon ideas to life.

The cartoon above is one of my favorites because my mom’s good friend Kathleen Taylor actually came up with the idea, not me. Thanks, Kathy! She based it on the story of a friend, who in the middle of a hot flash, tore off all of her clothes.

Tampon Tree

I really did have a hard time deciding what to do with my remaining tampons. I wrote one of my first blog posts, “Toot-a-loo Tampons!” about the dilemma. You can read it here. I remember how nervous and bold I felt posting a picture of tampons online. Ha! Little did I know what else I’d write about on this blog.

Weather Lady

Speaking of the winds of menopause, a new reader, Michele, contacted me after finding my article on the Hormone Health Network. The article helped her realize that her emotional (and physical) issues were related to hormones, not larger health issues. Michele is doing well now and has a guest post coming up for us soon.

Even the worst hot flash or the grumpiest day is a bit lighter if we sprinkle in some humor. I had a great time coming up with these cartoon ideas. Thanks, Healthline!

Check out Healthline’s menopause articles, including this one on symptoms of menopause.

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Check out the Hormone Health Network’s great resource, the Menopause Map that helps you explore your personal journey to menopause.

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Menopause

Perimenopause and Sleep: The Latest from the Endocrine Society

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This post, sent to me by the Endocrine Society, focuses on sleep. The images are from their Menopause Map. Check out the map after your read the article! Click here to access their excellent guide to menopause.


Hormone Fluctuations Disrupt Sleep of Perimenopausal Women

Study finds sleep interruptions worsen during certain phases of menstrual cycle

Women in the early phases of menopause are more likely to have trouble sleeping during certain points in the menstrual cycle, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

During perimenopause – the earliest stage of the menopausal transition – women may have irregular menstrual cycles due to the body’s fluctuating hormone levels. Symptoms such as sleep disturbances and hot flashes typically begin three to five years prior to the onset of menopause, when a woman is in her 40s, according to the Hormone Health Network.

The study examined how hormone fluctuations affected sleep during the luteal and follicular phases of the menstrual cycle. The luteal phase occurs prior to menstruation. The follicular phase refers to the two weeks after menstruation.

“We found that perimenopausal women experience more sleep disturbances prior to menstruation during the luteal phase than they did during the phase after menstruation,” said one of the study’s authors, Fiona C. Baker, PhD, of the Center for Health Sciences at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA, and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Measures of electrical brain activity found that the hormone progesterone influences sleep, even at this late reproductive stage in perimenopausal women.”

The laboratory study examined sleep patterns in 20 perimenopausal women. Eleven of the participants experienced difficulty sleeping at least three times a week for at least a month, beginning with the onset of the menopausal transition.

The women each slept in a sleep laboratory twice – once in the days leading up to the start of the menstrual period and the other time several days after the menstrual period. Researchers used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to assess the women’s sleep and brain activity. Each participant also completed a survey regarding their sleep quality in the month prior to the laboratory testing and underwent a blood test to measure changes in hormone levels.

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Researchers found women had a lower percentage of deep, or slow-wave, sleep in the days before the onset of their menstrual periods, when their progesterone levels were higher. The women also woke up more often and had more arousals – brief interruptions in sleep lasting 3 to 15 seconds – than they did in the days after their menstrual periods. In contrast, sleep tends to be stable throughout the menstrual cycle in younger women.

“Menstrual cycle variation in hormones is one piece in the overall picture of sleep quality in midlife women,” Baker said. “This research can lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms behind sleep disturbances during the approach to menopause and can inform the development of better symptom management strategies.”

Other authors of the study include: Massimiliano de Zambotti, Adrian R. Willoughby, Stephanie A. Sassoon and Ian M. Colrain of the Center for Health Sciences at SRI International.

The study, “Menstrual-cycle Related Variation in Physiological Sleep in Women in the Early Menopause Transition,” was published online at http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/jc.2015-1844,

About the Endocrine Society: Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, the Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 18,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Washington, DC. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit their site at www.endocrine.org. Follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HormoneHealthN

Menopause

Happy Menopause Awareness Month!

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September! Do you believe it? We’re more than halfway through.

But while you’re thinking about fall sweaters or football (love it/hate it) or apples, apples, apples, pause to remember that September is National Menopause Awareness Month. That Silent Passage isn’t so silent anymore.

The Hormone Health Network designed the fun bra graphic above. (Here are some of my thoughts on droop and The Girls.)

The network’s Menopause Map helps you determine where you are in the menopause journey.  Check it out here.

Menopause Map

Click here to read their comprehensive guide to menopause. Don’t miss this excellent resource.

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Thank you Hormone Health Network!

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And no matter where you are on the menopause road, Happy Menopause Awareness Month!

I’m always looking for guest posts, especially posts about menopause. Please email me (address at right) if you’d like to write one.  Let’s share our stories! For as Todd Stocker tells us, “Stories give color to black and white information.”

Giveaway Winners! I’ve been lax this summer about posting the names of giveaway winners, but here’s the latest list. Congrats to Kay Lynn and Jo, who won Menopause Mops; Stephanie who won Susan Gabriel’s Fearless Writing for Women; and to Audrey, who won an Affirmation Card Deck and print from Marylou Falstreau.