You Don’t Have to Go Through Menopause Alone

by Chloe Jeffreys · 7 comments

in Your Vagina and You

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When it came to female problems my mother was a stoic.

According to her, she never suffered from either a period cramp when she was a young woman, or a hot flash during menopause. And, truth be told, my mother looked down her nose at women who did.

My mother’s approach to female problems was to ignore them. And she told me that women who complained about these non-existent female problems, were either weak-minded, or looking for an excuse to take the day off from school or work.

While I appreciate some aspects of my mother’s stoicism–for instance, she wasn’t a complainer or a whiner–the downside is that she didn’t leave me much to go on when it came my turn at the roulette wheel that is menopause.

Female Problems Aren’t in Your Head

I’d say the symptoms of perimenopause started for me around 42. As I wrote yesterday, anxiety, accompanied by chest pain and heart palpitations, was its first sign. I had no idea what was happening to me since anxiety wasn’t something I’d ever heard might be a symptom of perimenopause or menopause.

When I took my complaints of terrible chest pain and heart palpitations to my doctor, he completely dismissed my concerns. He never brought up menopause as the possible culprit.

Off and on, throughout my forties, I was plagued with anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness, and a a sudden and inexplicable inability to grasp words–mostly nouns–that had previously been part of my working vocabulary.

After doing some research on my own, I suspected that these problems might be caused by my fluctuating hormones, but other than a website here or there, I couldn’t find much within the medical community to confirm that I wasn’t losing my mind. Eventually, growing tired of my doctor looking at me like I’d suddenly sprouted a second head, I just shut up and suffered in silence.

“Suffering in Silence is OUT!”

Ellen-DolgenEllen Dolgen, an outspoken woman’s health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author and speaker, wants to put an end to all of that. Her motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Ellen has appeared on the “TODAY Show”, “Rachael Ray Show”, “The Doctors”, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR’s “Tell Me More,” Doctor Radio, and dozens of regional and national media outlets sharing her strength, wisdom, and hope with women concerned about the effects of perimenopause and menopause. She is like the big sister we all wish we had.

As part of Ellen’s outreach to women–and in addition to her website and monthly Google Plus Hangouts--Ellen hosts live events called, Menopause Mondays™ Live.

Menopause Mondays™ Live are fun social events that combine a cocktail party atmosphere with an environment to support women’s health and wellness issues, focusing on perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

I had the very good fortune to be in San Diego for Ellen’s event in Del Mar on June 3, 2013, at Searsucker Restaurant, a lovely eatery featuring an East Indian-meets-Wild West cuisine. It was the perfect venue for this delightful event. When BOOMBox Network asked me to write an article about my experience I was very happy to do so.

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I had no idea what to expect when I attended a Menopause Monday™ Live. What I didn’t expect was how many women showed up for this sold out event. There were even women there who had seen Ellen on the Today Show and had come just to meet her.

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After a lovely time mingling and chatting with the attendees, Ellen gave a short talk on how she became a menopause awareness expert. During her lively presentation, Ellen encouraged women to take charge of their own healthcare, especially with regards to menopause.

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Ellen talked about menopause with tasteful frankness, introducing attendees to the word “vagina” and telling her audience that there is no shame in having one ,and wanting it to be as vibrant and healthy as they are, for as long as possible.

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After Ellen’s presentation, guests lingered, talking to one another and Ellen about their own menopause experiences and concerns. It was both fun and educational. I had a great time.

Menopause-Mondays-Live

 

Images of Menopause Mondays™ Live courtesy of Shmirshky.com

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne October 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

This post could not have come at a better time. In the last few months I’ve had plenty of “typical” perimenopause symptoms, but have been experiencing the headaches and heart palpitations in the last few weeks. Can you say FREAKED OUT? So glad this is a symptom, but plan on making an appointment with a hormone replacement specialist this week. Thanks Chloe (and Ellen!)

Also – so great to see you again at Type A!

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Mrsborch August 12, 2013 at 7:23 am

I bought Ellen’s book after your Coffee with Chloe episode with her. Such a great and empowering book. And having my dh ask what a Shmirsky was and hearing him pronounce it was hilarious. 😀

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

I thought her book was excellent and helpful, and is a good resource for women heading into menopause.

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Geek Girl August 10, 2013 at 6:56 am

I am so glad to be familiar with Ellen. This subject has long needed to be brought out of the shadows and into the light. She does a great job!
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Lori Jo Vest August 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Ellen is so wise and a pioneer in bringing menopause out into open conversation. The more we talk about it, the easier it is for us to get through. Love her and love you for sharing your experience. Thank you, Chloe!
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Laura B. August 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Not one little thing. Seriously! How sad is that? Making is worse, there was my mom and FOUR OTHER GIRLS! That said, dad was a sea captain, so I’m guessing ‘female’ issues weren’t allowed on deck, ya know? Looking back, it upsets her that she was that way, yet, she wasn’t taught any different either!

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