Getting your mother back after menopause

About a year ago, I went to a medical conference in Chicago. During a break, a group of us started a discussion about how much the personality of each of our mothers had changed since starting treatment for menopause. Each doctor shared in a different way how nice it was to have their mother's personality back. Some said their mothers didn't notice a difference but they did! Some said their mothers were getting out more, wanting to spend time with their friends and family, some had rejoined the job market and some were even dating again. A few said they could hold more meaningful conversations, which was very special to them as their moms were getting older. Some said that it was like talking to their moms when they were younger and their moms were more interested in them. I said it was nice to see the playful side of my mother's personality come out again. I had missed that, as did my mother, for 20 years.

Our mothers were happier and glad to finally be treated for an illness they knew they had but were told did not exist. All of our mothers knew something was missing and were glad that it was acknowledged and finally addressed and had no plans to go back to the way things were.

It is unfortunate that the personality changes associated with menopause are rarely discussed. The changes are real and treatable. Changes in personality can start as early as the early 30's because that is when the levels of gonadal hormones begin to drop. In women it is called peri-menopause and in men this drop in hormones is called hypogonadism. Even though it is called by different names in women and men it is the identical condition.

All of our mothers were fortunate to be receiving appropriate treatment for profound hypogonadism. All of our mothers were receiving transdermal estradiol (patch or cream), testosterone cream, progesterone cream and dhea. Also, most of our mothers were also taking melatonin.

With hypogonadism, in women and men, a person can be impatient, anxious, nervous, curt, easily overwhelmed, unable to focus, have feelings of loneliness due to loss of intimacy, loss of feeling nurturing due to a lack of hormones like oxytocin, and a general lack of motivation as well.

You can help your mother receive treatment for menopause. Go to the doctor with her and explain that your mother has untreated profound hypogonadism and that you want her to receive treatment. Treatment will not only improve her mood and likely motivation, it will also treat the illness which she has as a result of menopause and she will be healthier for it. Remember, a person is never too old to receive treatment appropriate for an adult.

By going with your mom you will also learn what obstacles she has had trying to get treatment. You can help her and make the future better for yourself by sticking to the point of the visit and getting your mother treatment for a real illness, profound hypogonadism. Remind your mother's doctor that no hormone testing was done in trials like the Women's Health Initiative, because if there were hormone testing than the public would know that HRT for menopause was not used. Also remind the doctor that your mother has an illness and you are requesting that it be treated. If the doctor tries to talk you out of it then don't take it personally, move on and find another doctor.

Your mom has every right to receive treatment and you have every right to expect it. This is a real illness and it is treatable. Don't give up. This is your mother's present and your future unless you say something. Women can only get what they ask for and this is worth asking for.

Help your mom be the healthiest she can be. To help you get started you can order a 'getting started kit' from my non-profit website, www.DiamondRF.org
1/28/2009 6:37:36 AM
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