Perimenopause Symptoms

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It’s impossible to blog on this topic as long as I have and not evolve in your thinking, reconsider your opinions, or just flat out change your point of view on something

When I first started going through perimenopause in the late 1990s, the Women’s Health Initiative study had not yet been released.  However, by the time I had given birth to my 3rd child in my mid-40s, and transitioned into full-blown perimenopause in the early 2000s, it had been released. And we all know how that turned out.

At the time, however, I didn’t know what the study was or what it was about.  What I did know is that there was a palpable, cultural shift as a result of the study, and that shift had an enormous impact in the media and medical field; which in turn, had an enormous impact on my opinion of hormone therapy for perimenopause.

I wasn’t a fan.

But that was then and this is now, and I’ve definitely changed my opinion. In fact, if I could go back and do it all over again (perish the thought), I would have used bioidentical hormones through the entire transition and saved myself from an equally enormous amount of unnecessary suffering and misery.

But, I didn’t know then what I know now, and you can’t do better if you don’t know better.

I now know the difference between synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones. I now know that all of the brouhaha and fall-out from the Women’s Health Initiative study had nothing to do with bioidentical hormones.

I also now know that in spite of all of our advancements in Western biomedicine, the medical community remains astonishingly ignorant and woefully ill-prepared to help women in perimenopause. It was true back then, and unfortunately, it is still true today.

I know. Depressing, isn’t it?

Now, nearly 20 years later, I’m in graduate school trying to make sense out of all of the confusing information surrounding perimenopause, so that I can hopefully help some of you, and maybe those who come behind you, avoid the kind of needless difficulty I went through.

I wish I could say I have it all in the bag now. But, alas, I don’t.  In fact, I would say I’m in a holding pattern of sorts, as I read this and read that; consider this and consider that; ponder this and ponder that; trying to figure out exactly where I fall down on this experience of perimenopause.

  • Is it a disease?
  • Is it a medical condition?
  • Is it simply a normal life transition that physicians should stay out of?
  • Should women take hormone therapy for perimenopause symptoms or shouldn’t they?
  • If women do use hormone therapy, how long should they use it?
  • What about estrogen? Is it bad for you or is it not?

As you might guess, I have far more questions than I have answers.

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If you want a purely medical point of view of perimenopause, that is certainly not hard to find. Medical websites and medical explanations of what perimenopause is and isn’t, abound. But, if I am completely honest, I’ve held (and perhaps still hold) a fairly medical perspective about it myself.

I mean, let’s face it: We live in a society where Western medicine is a culturally institutionalized presence in our daily lives, and health information, and health care is literally bought and sold in the market place.

It’s everywhere.

You can’t escape it.

Hence, the title of this blog post.

But, I’m also not entirely sure that I don’t want see it through a medical lens.  Maybe just not completely.

Which is how I tend to be on most things anyway.  Somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I now use bioidentical hormones – both estrogen and progesterone – and I have no plans to stop using either of them any time soon.  I’ll be 58 in a few short months and have been completely menopausal since I was 54.

Some medical professionals are in the camp that women should use hormone therapy for the shortest duration of time, and then not use it anymore.  Others think you can safely use it (particularly bioidentical hormones) as long as you wish, provided you monitor your health and get regular check ups.

I would say I likely fall in this latter group.

That is because without bioidentical progesterone, I flat out wouldn’t sleep at night.  I rather like my sleep, so I’m taking it and that’s that. I also have issues with vaginal dryness, foggy thinking, short-term memory issues, and achy joints and bones if I don’t have enough estrogen in my body.  So, I will likely continue using the Vivelle Dot patch for a while as well.

Will I arrive at a point that I no longer feel safe using bioidentical hormones?  Will I feel I no longer need them? Will I one day come around to the thinking that menopause is exactly what the feminists have been saying for decades: that it is a normal life transition and the medical community needs to stay the hell out of it?

Maybe.  But, I don’t know for sure.

For now, I think we can all agree perimenopause is definitely a transition. We can also agree that for many women it is a very physically, emotionally, and psychologically challenging and difficult time which can be eased in great measure with hormone therapy (bioidentical for sure), changes in diet, exercise, and even with some herbal supplements as well.

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For now I also plan to keep blogging about perimenopause indefinitely.  Even if I change my point of view or opinions about things along the way.  If I do, however, you can be sure I’ll give you my justification for it.

But, it’s a personal journey anyway, and no matter what my opinion is, or what choices I might make for my own health; you have to evaluate all of this for yourself too. I’m not a one size fits all kind of gal, and I would never presume to tell any of you what you should or shouldn’t do when it comes to your health.

I’ll just keep sharing with you what I’m learning and what I’m thinking, and you girls can just take the meat and spit out the bones.

{ 2 comments }

Bioidentical Progesterone for Insomnia: It Works for Me!

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I’ve been taking Prometrium, an FDA approved bioidentical progesterone, for the past month to help me with sleep, and to help with my night sweats and hot flashes. I told you all I would share my experience with you, and the jury is in: it works. I am taking 200 milligrams about 2 hours before […]

November 18, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Is More Sex a Solution to Loss of Libido in Perimenopause?

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  You know how experts say that if you exercise more you’ll eventually get to the point where you look forward to it? Or, if you eat a lot of healthy foods your taste changes and you start craving them? Well, the same way of thinking can be applied to sex. Research shows that for […]

November 9, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

So Exactly “WHAT” are Bioidentical Hormones?

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I’m going to come clean and tell you that until the last couple of years, I really didn’t understand the difference between bioidentical hormones and what we call synthetic hormones. I also didn’t know that bioidentical hormones have actually been around for a very long time – like, nearly 100 years. Surprised?  I was too. […]

October 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Prometrium: An Oral FDA Approved Bioidentical Progesterone

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It is no secret that I personally prefer bioidentical hormones for the treatment of symptoms of perimenopause as opposed to synthetic hormones and drugs. In fact, I sincerely believe that most women prefer natural, healthier, and less intrusive treatments as well. However, most bioidentical hormones are not FDA approved, and therefore, are not covered by most health insurance plans. Unfortunately, this […]

October 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

The Replenish Trial Study for Hot Flashes & Night Sweats! Last Call!

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Are you eager to cool down from hot flashes? Do they leave you irritable and feeling frustrated? Or even interrupt your night’s sleep? You may be interested in a medical research study called the Replenish Study. It is evaluating an investigational medication to see if it may reduce the frequency of hot flashes and sweating […]

October 20, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Premarin, Prempro & Bioidentical Hormones

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If you are confused about the difference between synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones, you are certainly not alone. The difference between the two is a hotly contested issue among medical professionals, and unfortunately, it is women suffering with hormone imbalance who are always caught in the middle. Some physicians will tell you flatly bioidentical hormones […]

October 16, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia…….Bioidentical Hormones Have Worked for Me!

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I received this comment recently from a reader who identified herself as “Found the Solution.” I was so impressed with what she had to share that I wanted to feature her comment in this month’s “Dear Magnolia” installment.  “Found the Solution” encapsulates in her comment everything I have blogged about here at The Perimenopause Blog […]

October 15, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes & Stress in Perimenopause? Breathe Deep with Zenytime!

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If you’re looking for alternatives to hormone therapy to treat your symptoms of perimenopause, today’s sponsored post will be of great interest to you!   Read on to learn about an exciting new App for your phone which will help you manage hot flashes and stress during perimenopause!   “If you practice deep breathing exercises […]

October 13, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hormone Replacement Therapy isn’t as Scary as You Think

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In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study sent the medical professionals prescribing hormone replacement therapy to their patients into a bonafide tail spin. Terrified of putting women at risk for coronary heart disease, stroke or breast cancer, physicians abandoned HRT all together, advising their patients to do the same. Few would argue the value of the study. […]

October 1, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes & Night Sweats: The Replenish Trial Study

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Ice cubes, fans, cranking the AC, sticking your face in the freezer… nothing seems to help when you are eager to cool down from your hot flashes. They come out of nowhere and occur multiple times a day, leaving you irritable and feeling frustrated.  Sometimes, they even interrupt your night’s sleep! If you wish there […]

September 28, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Relizen for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats & A Giveaway!

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The following post is a sponsored guest post and does not necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinion of this blog.  In publishing this post, it should not be assumed that The Perimenopause Blog is in any way endorsing or supporting any opinions or points of view contained in the post.  The Dog Days of Summer […]

September 24, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Adrenal Fatigue

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A common complaint among women in perimenopause is an overwhelming sense of fatigue and exhaustion.  Often described as crashing fatigue. While many women might chalk it up as the result of sleepless nights associated with night sweats and insomnia, the real culprit is likely adrenal fatigue. What are the Adrenal Glands and What do they Do? The adrenal glands are two walnut sized […]

September 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

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When I was in the midst of the worst of my perimenopause symptoms, I had one over-riding thought: “I’m going crazy” Yes, I had hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods and those gawdawful mood-swings. But without question, the underlying and most compelling emotion was that I was certain I was finally going nuts. In fact, […]

September 5, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Heavy, Flooding Periods

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When the average woman thinks of perimenopause symptoms she usually thinks of the proverbial night sweats and hot flashes. Perhaps even a few mood swings thrown in for good measure. What many do not know, however, and are often surprised to find out, is that heavy, flooding periods with painful cramping and large blood clots are a common complaint for many women […]

September 1, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia……Not Every Woman Hates Their Husband in Perimenopause

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Today’s “Dear Magnolia” post is featuring a comment by a reader named Julie.  Julie left her comment in response to the post “Why Do Women Hate Their Husbands in Perimenopause: A Wife’s Perspective”  A post which featured another reader’s story where she explained why she decided to leave her marriage once she had started going […]

August 30, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

A Review of the Nutribullet: One Amazing Gadget!

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UPDATE:  I was contacted by a representative from Nutribullet who wanted to put a sponsored link in this post.  She made an offer that was a good deal for her, but not for me. I turned down the offer and gave her my advertising price for sponsored links.  She countered with another offer which was still lower […]

August 30, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes in Perimenopause: The Replenish Study

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For the next three months The Perimenopause Blog is partnering with the researchers of The Replenish Study.   One blog post will be posted per month. The Perimenopause Blog is not endorsing any product or insuring any outcome of the study. Any questions or comments related to the study will be answered by the sponsors. […]

August 24, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia……Does Anybody Really Give a Crap?

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Today’s Dear Magnolia post is from Lisa. Lisa is grieving. Yes, she’s also experiencing other symptoms of perimenopause, namely,  anxiety, depression, and other symptoms related to estrogen dominance.  But, she’s also struggling with grief . Grief is the part of perimenopause that no one talks about.  Well, not very much. Grief doesn’t sell, I guess. You can’t […]

August 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →