Wednesday, January 10, 2007
This morning, we profiled a delightful 60-year-old woman named Pat Dodson. By all accounts, she has a charmed life. She lives in a beautiful old San Francisco speakeasy and throws lavish parties. But 14 years ago, things were much different. To look at her, you may have thought she was ill. She suddenly couldn't sleep well, she was angry almost all the time and was undergoing a significant personality change.
If she were my patient, I probably would've started searching for a medical problem to explain all her symptoms. As she came to find out, it was actually all pretty natural. She was heading toward menopause.
Now, surprising to most people, menopause, strictly defined, lasts just one day! It is the one day that is 12 months after a woman's last menstrual period. Ha! That is the longest day of a lot of women's lives. Seriously, though, perimenopause can last a long time and be difficult to treat.
And, the way an individual woman might act can vary wildly. It is not just about hot flashes anymore. A woman's oxytocin levels may go down. Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the "cuddle hormone." A woman may somewhat suddenly appear less affectionate and less likely to want to care for her family. Truth is, I learned a lot reporting this story and better understand some of the women in my life. I am curious, though, as to what other symptoms you've experienced or seen during perimenopause.
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