Welcome to The Perimenopause Blog! A blog devoted to helping women in perimenopause.
Chances are you found yourself here because you think you might be going through perimenopause. Perhaps you’ve noticed a few changes in your menstrual cycles.
Maybe you’re moody, irritable, tired, or just plain exhausted. Maybe you think something is just not right and you can’t quite put your finger on it. If that’s the case, you’re not alone.
When most women begin to go through perimenopause it seems to come out of nowhere. Your life has been fine and then for reasons you cannot exactly pinpoint, all breaks loose.
“Why am I crying all the time? Why am I going into these rages? What is UP with these hot flashes and night sweats and why the heck can’t I sleep more than 2 hours a night?”
Because perimenopause is so stealthy and sneaks up on us under the cover of hormonal darkness, many of us find ourselves wondering if we’re imagining things or if we are just going crazy.
“Is this real or am I just going crazy?”
The answer is, “yes, it is real and no, you’re not going crazy.” Perimenopause is a real physical condition that every woman goes through before she becomes menopausal.
If she is lucky, she will skate through it with no significant bumps whatsoever. But, for many of us, perhaps even you – not so much.
Here’s my story:
In September, 1999, I was forty-two years old and had just given birth to my third child. Shortly after her birth, I began to enter perimenopause with a full force, and it all began with one whopping case of postpartum depression.
I have a one week old baby at home. My two older children are only 8 and 6 years old at the time. For reasons that I cannot recall, I became upset with my oldest child and climbed into my van (in my night gown and barefooted) to take a drive and collect myself.
Somewhere between the driveway and the rural country road I turned down, I began to sob uncontrollably. I pulled over to the side of the road to cry. When I was ready to leave, the car wouldn’t start.
Rather than calling my husband, I hopped out of the car and begin walking down the road barefooted, in my nightgown, sobbing uncontrollably. A concerned woman who lived on the street saw me and asked me if she could help me. We called my husband who came to my rescue. The rest of that day (thank God) remains a blur.
Having never experienced serious PMS or difficulties with my menstrual cycles, I was wholly unprepared for what began to happen to me in those subsequent 10 years.
The crazy, unpredictable flooding periods, the raging mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, vertigo, heart palpitations and debilitating depression – just to name a few – sent me running from physician to physician, convinced I was going insane.
Unfortunately, none of them were able to give me the kind of help I really needed. Yes, they were able to treat my physical symptoms, some better than others. But, what I really wanted was for someone listen to me and help me understand what was happening to my body.
My own mother was fully menopausal in her early 40’s. I actually thought it would happen that way for me too. I expected that I would turn 40-something and everything related to my menstrual cycles would just grind to a nice, clean halt.
Suffice it to say, it didn’t happen that way.
What is Perimenopause?
The word “peri” simply means “around or about”. So, technically, perimenopause is the time “around or about menopause” You are approaching it, but you’re not quite there yet.
Perimenopause usually begins in a woman’s mid to late forties, though it is not unheard of for it to begin as early as your late thirties and as late as your early fifties. In my mother’s day it was often referred to as “going through the change.” In fact, I often remember my mother talking about women who were in perimenopause and she would always say (with more than a wee bit of sympathy in her voice) “Aw, God bless her, she’s going through the change”.
Now I know why. For many women, perimenopause is brutal. We need all the sympathy we can get!
What are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?
The list of symptoms for perimenopause can be quite long and varied. Some women, like me, and maybe you too, suffer with a wide range of symptoms. Others (and frankly, I’ve never met these “others” ) not so much.
If you’ve heard of perimenopause or even if you’ve always lumped it all under the inclusive heading of menopause, you have probably heard of the night sweats, the hot flashes, the mood swings and maybe even the phantom periods.
But, did you know that perimenopause can also cause heart palpitations? Vertigo? Short-term memory loss? Blood sugar problems? Crashing fatigue? Decreased libido? Weight gain? Hair loss and even tinnitus?
What Can You Do?
Though we may not all share the same symptoms or even the severity of them, we all share the desire to get help and get it fast. A sympathetic physician and hopefully one who prescribes bioidentical hormones is a great place to start.
Thankfully, the medical community is doing its best to rise to the clarion call of women who want help with perimenopause. If you would like to find a physician in your area who prescribes bioidentical hormones, please check here.
There are plenty of resources available as well. Here at The Perimenopause Blog you will find plenty of up-to-date articles, books, products, and a community of other women just like you who are sharing their stories.
Please feel free to contact me at anytime with any questions or concerns you may have. And by all means, join the conversation!