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February 06, 2013


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Mia near retirement

Hi Sydney. Menopause is a bitch. You just swop one set of pills for another. Goodbye birth control, hello hormone replacement. I am 10 years older than you and hopefully getting to the end of the big M. But I've just seen an article that says women who take HRT for more than 4 years are more likely to suffer memory loss and DEMENTIA. My husband says I am demented already. Getting older can be amusing ...

Another Reader

I just went through the blood pressure thing. Get them to give you a 24 hour blood pressure monitor test. You are probably a "spiker" and do not have hypertension. I got similar readings in the office, but at night the pressure dropped to what it was when I was 20.


No,no,no hormone replacement! Too risky. That said hbp doesn't have to go with M. If you are using a wrist cuff they are not as accurate as arm cuffs. Make sure you have lots of cotton nightgowns, that your sweaters are cardigans so you can take them on and off, and tell you husband that if you yell at him during a hot flash it's nothing personal. Lol


I am with Barb. I, personally, am glad to be pill free for the first time in a long time. The big M iis tough to go through- but worth it :) My bp spiked all over the place. Hang in there. After the change, there is so much less to worry about.

Retired Syd

Mia: You are not alone, I'm already demented too. But my husband doesn't notice 'cause so is he.

Another Reader: They don't actually seem that worried about the BP, they just want a month's worth of pill-free readings from my home machine before they discuss letting me take any more pills.

Barb: I'm kind of with you. If I get off the pill, I think it would be nice to be on no pills of any kind.

Jan: THAT'S what I wanted to hear (the worth it part). Truth is I would be delighted to be in menopause (well other than all that side-effect stuff). It's gonna happen eventually, why not get it over with now?

Jenna A

It is not just a woman issue; my husband is ideal weight and a "workout freak". But his bp, after being ideal for most his life, suddenly started to read above 150/90. His doctor is mystified and tests didn't reveal anything. My husband takes his blood pressure at home to see if there are patterns- his is great in the morning but gets higher from late afternoon on. I don't know what else to do; he restricts sodium, has a healthy diet, etc. etc.

Retired Syd

Jenna: Definitely not just a woman issue. According to the American Heart Association, it's more of a male problem before age 45, an equal problem for men and women between 45-64, but then after that woman pull way ahead in the statistics, with much higher rates of high BP. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319587.pdf


At 50, getting thisclose to 51, I must be demented myself. I couldn't figure out what the M word meant. Duh. And got welcomed to HBP at the very young age of 36, with absolutely no reason. Like you, good weight, active, no smoking. If I knew my body would let me down so young, I might have had more fun in my 20's. (but I'm an accountant too, so we know that wouldn't have happened). Oh well, still looking at the grass from the top side.

Hope it turns out well for you Syd.


Syd, I love the picture you posted, with the three women and the flower boxes. Where was this taken? It looks like a special place.

Retired Syd

Thank you Mia--I took that in Montreal--Vieux Montreal (old town).

Ramona: I like that, looking at the grass from the top side!

Sue Blaney

First - so happy I found your blog

2nd - menopause is really a relief...especially when it's over. I went through at 50.

Second - hypertension came on me suddenly too...genetic i was told and also why it's called the silent killer.

Have been on hypertension rx for almost 4 years (new 56) and all OK.

Tom Sightings

I'm no doctor, but I must caution you, do not ... I repeat, do not allow your husband to wear a white coat during sex!

Gina @ Caring Homes Essex

What an ordeal! Isn't it strange that your blood pressure returns to normal all the time when you're at home though? What did the doctors attribute that to?


Studies say only about 20% of women have an unpleasant menopause. But they are a bit more vocal about it so it seems like everyone is miserable! I went through M. at 53, no real hot flashes, maybe a warm moment or two,I actually was kinda happy to have the whole monthly thing done with. I experienced some energy shifts, I take more vitamins now and make SURE to get my "beauty sleep." VERY dry skin is the only other thing that bothers me, but that's easy to fix (without meds!)

So-- relax! Even if it's menopause, most women make the shift without a ton of trouble and guess what? It's pretty nice here on the other side.... (you can throw away those pills for good!)

Look up: DASH diet for blood pressure.


A couple should plan for menopause just as they should plan for retirement, assisted living, estate disposal, and other inevitabilities. Preferably in advance, each should understand the other's needs and expectations, bearing in mind that after they stop taking birth control pills, menopause is immediate. Then those needs and expectations CAN dramatically change for one of them. The other must then accept that, to quote Bob Dylan, "times are a changin'". Be forewarned and thus forearmed. Good luck.


Welcome to the club, Syd! It's important to be in a "good place" when you go through M. A cubicle can be a very bad place to go through this transition (speaking from experience). So be proud of your early retirement accomplishment that ensures you're in a good place at this time.

The blood pressure spike sure sounds like a stress reaction -- maybe you subconsciously miss the stress of work? Not! For natural treatments on high-blood pressure, see: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00686/high-blood-pressure-treatment

When (or if) you feel bad or surprised about what happens to you after you go through M (your skin will show it first), see how beautiful you can be with silver hair: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/booming/silver-becomes-her-in-a-shows-portraits.html?src=recg

Take care and keep writing!

Retired Syd

Gina: Turns out it's not so strange at all, they call it White Coat Hypertension. Basically it means that it's all in your head. Or rather you are having a physical response that is not really reflective of your normal blood pressure during the day. Thus the mandate that I take it at home for a month to see what's really going on.

Madeline: You win! Yours is my favorite comment. I am a glass half-full gal and your comment has made my glass 80% full! Come to think of it, of those of my friends that have gone through menopause, way less than half have had a very hard time of it. It never occurred to me that they may be more typical--I just thought they were extremely lucky.

Cyclesafe: I wish you were right about menopause being immediate after going off the pill, but alas, there is no relationship. Once you go off you have to wait and see, and it could still be many years before menopause. The pill has no influence on timing. If only it were that certain . . .

aw: You bring up another very positive point, so you get second prize! Being retired instead of being around all those people at work that might annoy me when my tolerance for annoyance might be very low is a very helpful fact pattern, indeed!

Philip Brewer

The worst part of having high blood pressure (assuming that, like mine, it's easily controlled with medication), is that it puts you in the same position that women are are in—having to go the doctor every year, even when you're perfectly healthy.

Retired Syd

Phillip: So you understood my "withholding doctor's appointments" line then. The best of both worlds would be that I don't have high blood pressure AND I'm in menopause, thereby having no pills that doctors can hold hostage from me. Then I can be more like a man and put off doctor's appointments!


It could be kind of fun to have some menopause signs up at work or a mug / shirt that says:

“I'm what is known as perimenopausal. "Peri", some of you may know, is a Latin prefix meaning 'SHUT YOUR FLIPPIN' PIE HOLE".”

"The first indication of menopause is a broken thermostat. It's either that or your weight. In any case, if you don't do something, you could be dead by August."

"I'm still hot, it just comes in flashes."

"Menopause is just life's way of showing you that you don't want to go to hell."

"Menopause is a perfectly natural process. As family members and friends recognize that this is a normal process and learn about the normal, natural symptoms, they will then treat the woman like she's normal and natural rather than a crazy woman."

I'm not there yet, but am looking forward to it. Except the dry skin thing, I'll probably turn into a lizard since I had the good fortune to be zit-free due to dry skin for my entire life. Should have known it would come back to bite me. ;-)


I got through M without hrt, and bp is under control with med. Am 57 now so you can do it too!A great post as always, and wonderful comments.

Retired Syd

Jacq: I think I might order a dozen of those shirts in different styles that say, "I'm still hot, it just comes in flashes." That was the best!

Rose: Thanks for the encouragement!


Menopause has been no big deal for me, either (6 years since last period at age 48), at least physically. Based on her experiences with mood swings, my mother BEGGED me to get some "be nice" pills and after a few months of some bad days, my husband, OB doc and I all agreed they might help. So I take those, for now, and have no other symptoms except maybe weight gain but my OB said that's from age, not menopause, and last year I was able to get 20 pounds off with Weight Watchers.


WOW!!! Sydney.... You are such an amazing writer!!! After reading your boring 6/28/2016 post we appreciate you more than ever! This one about the M word is just so clever!

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