Does having Asperger’s make coping with perimenopause and menopause harder or are we already monitoring ourselves closely and notice the symptoms earlier? Does this help? Or is there no difference? I find it difficult to tell the difference between perimenopause, Aspergers, introversion and depression sometimes. There are overlaps and I suppose we are all different and coping as best we can. I don’t have the answers. I have lots of questions.
I woke up in the wee hours of the morning. It was a night sweat. My brain was instantly switched to awake mode and I searched on my iPad for “Aspergers and Menopause.” Most women first think they have menopause but in fact it is perimenopause. Perimenopause comes before menopause and it is the time of irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and irritability. Menopause comes afterwards when the periods have stopped and the hormones are still adjusting to the change in our bodies. For some it begins somewhere in the forties, and ends many years later. Some people have all the symptoms and it disrupts their lives enormously. Others discover that they have already passed menopause without noticing. Lucky them!
Time and time again exercise is mentioned. I am a reluctant exerciser. I don’t know why I have become this way. I used to be so active. Now I have to force myself to leave the house and walk. I have a Fitbit Zip tracker that is a pedometer that automatically syncs with my iPhone or computer. I clip it onto the top of my bra and forget about it. I can see how far I walk. I can record what I eat, how much liquid I drink and other activities as well. It helps me monitor how much or how little I have done at the end of the day. It can sync with bathroom scales Aria but I have never really liked standing on scales. I prefer to go by the fit of my clothing. I think that is a healthier way of measuring weight.
So why did I mention exercise? Movement reduces menopause symptoms. Hearing that is giving me the motivation to reduce symptoms of perimenopause. I don’t enjoy night sweats. They wake me up and break my sleep. Hot flashes are weird as you can feel the heat surging like a wave over your body. The mood swings and irritability I can obviously do without. And the sooner I finish periods the better. I can’t wait for it all to be over.
Exercise, eating well and getting a good night’s sleep are the basic fundamentals of giving your body what it needs. Why then do we squirm and perform not to do the right thing? Why is it easier to chose the couch over a jog? An ice cream over an apple? A late night film watching marathon over an early night? Guilt gets squashed in the rush from the couch to the refrigerator to get to the ice cream before the next episode starts. Guilt is not good enough motivation to do the right thing. Perfectionism to always do the right thing creates order but why is it that we prefer chaos? To want to mix it up a little? Is it boredom we resist?
Chaos is when mood swings are in full force and the rest of the family hides behind the couch. For this reason alone I try to veer towards order. Order is better for me. I know that. So to reduce the chaos if I eat better, get off the chair more often and get a reasonable night’s sleep the majority of the time that is improvement, not perfection. I do not strive for perfection but a happier life. If I can have a grace day once a week when I throw the idea out the window then that’s okay too. My husband has that right too. So all up we have two possible grace days a week to kick back and blob. They could be any day of the week. Flexible. I cannot write on the calendar that Tuesday next week will be my grace day as I predict a mood swing, it doesn’t happen like that. I hope that I don’t need four grace days a week but again nothing should be hard and fast. A rigid structure but with the ability to be flexible at the same time.
One change I have done recently is to remove caffeine from my diet. I have had one month free of caffeine, no lattes, no black or green tea, no masala chai. Nada. It has improved my mood/energy levels. It makes a noticeable difference. Just ask my husband. It is suggested that caffeine, alcohol and sugar affect perimenopause and menopause and reducing or eliminating them from your diet will improve your adjustment as your hormones change. I tackled the easiest one first, caffeine. It worked for me. Next up alcohol. I will leave the most difficult, sugar till last.
On my search online I came across the Ladycare menopause magnet. This is a magnet that you put in your underwear, just below the belly button. Through the power of magnetism it stays on. The product is made of two parts and the fabric of your underwear is between the button on the outside and the triangular part on the inside. Women who have tried it say that hard exercise doesn’t cause the magnet to fall off. It stays in place. You can wear it all day. Anyway the reason I am mentioning the magnets is that women state that their night sweats disappear, the mood swings occur less frequently and period pain is reduced.
A double blind placebo-based study was carried out on dysmenorrhea (period pain). Many women say that they have had instant results, others it took a few weeks, and for others longer. For some no change I suppose. Some said that when they forgot to take it away the symptoms returned. Bloating around the stomach region was reduced for some too. Has anyone tried this magnet? I am tempted to try it for myself. What do I have to lose apart from the money? The cost is about £25, US$52 or NZ$65. However if I wear the magnet will my hard drive on my laptop die or will my credit cards still work if they come near the magnet? I use a computer a lot so I wonder if it is worth the chance that I may wipe my data. I think I have convinced myself that it’s not for me. Losing data equates to losing original work. Not worth it. I’d rather give up sugar in my diet.
Amusingly some women mention getting stuck to supermarket trolleys and filing cabinets.
I prefer not to take pills if I can help it. I prefer to avoid possible side effects. Hormone Replacement Therapy or birth control pills(supposed to aid some in reducing perimenopause/menopause symptoms) are not for me. I suppose my symptoms are not as severe as others. Progesterone creams help relieve others. I would rather first try and improve my lifestyle and make a permanent change for the better. This will not happen overnight. I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not looking for shortcuts.
For night sweats/hot flashes some women have a positive experience taking the SSRI Fluoxetine. For some women they stop completely. I am one of the lucky ones. It did take a couple of weeks to work. Had insomnia during the first two weeks but completely worth it to be rid of the sweats. Not everyone is successful with this but worth asking your doctor about.
Update: I used my exercise bike for 20 minutes today while listening to music and checking the news. That makes five times this week. I felt better for it. Whether that is beating the guilt or just physically feeling better, I don’t know but tomorrow will be easier. Sometimes just the thought of starting something is the hardest part.
Time to move!
*I do not profit from mentioning Fitbit or Ladycare products.
Read more on perimenopause, night sweats and hot flushes