Ask any woman that has completed the menopause transition and she will tell you there was a whole phase that occurred prior to it. That phase has a name: Perimenopause.
To back up a second, menopause is simply defined as a stage in a woman’s life where she has not had a period for 12 months straight. Hormones change since a woman is no longer fertile. The body changes too, like bone density decreasing and vaginal walls thinning. And the hair thins out… not cool for those of us with thin hair already.
Perimenopause is a whole process of fluctuation prior to that. The symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some women are lucky and experience very few symptoms. I envy those women, for I am not one. Some women have some seriously extreme symptoms. I pity those women and am lucky that I am not on that extreme side. I am, however, stuck in the middle. Experiencing things that I never had the ‘pleasure’ of experiencing before, thinking I never would. HAHAHAHA!!!
God forbid if you had a hysterectomy… because those symptoms start at that point and don’t stop until the body has determined it should have naturally occurred. Now, if you have oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), then you go straight to menopause with the body doing a mad rush.
Here is a nice looooong list of possibilities (much like pharmaceutical drug side effects):
Periods are all over the place (super heavy, light continual spotting, nothing for a few months and then BAM!); bloating; weight gain; indigestion; IBS (irritable bowel syndrome); hives; patchy, dry skin; itching; body odor change; vaginal smell; sweating; hot flashes; cold flashes; a combination of hot and cold flashes (this is possible); depression; anxiety; muscle pains; headaches; migraines; taste bud changes; RLS (restless leg syndrome); joint pains; nerve issues; red, hot skin; no sex drive; overactive sex drive; insomnia; fatigue; decreased immune system; baby fever (makes sense); intense sudden anger (dubbed peri-rage); massive mood swings; the boob pain!!; brain fog (I almost forgot that one); and the list can go on…
Seriously, that’s not a complete list. I’m currently struggling with some anxiety and depression (which I still feel is more like a slump than depression). This shit sucks. Well, there are other issues, like the damn peri-rage and joint pains. Oh… and that damn brain fog!
There is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but only if you are not genetically prone to female cancers. There are prescriptions drugs, vitamins, and supplements, but it takes a lot of playing to find a good mix. And then there is the highly recommend CBD gummies/edibles/oil and marijuana. (OMG! CBD gummies are expensive!) The options for help are about as varied as the symptoms. And much like the experience, there is no one-fits-all option. I’m currently taking a multi-vitamin, D3, Biotin, Magnesium, and Niacin. I also bought some CBD gummies but am using those sparingly (Really! $30 for 10 gummies!??!)
But there is always support. If we speak up and out about perimenopause we can make it more widely known for future female generations. There are a couple of really good Facebook groups that provide a venting outlet of supportive women. Communication is key to getting through everything this can throw at you. With communication comes support. And, by speaking up, we are also telling men that this is a real thing (including doctors because not all are educated on women’s physique). This does truly happen. And guess what… It happens to men too! I mean, it only makes sense since their hormones will also fluctuate with age much the same women’s do.
Always remember… YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! Hunt down perimenopause groups in Facebook. Talk to your girlfriends. Say one thing and I will guarantee another woman will speak up too. Because if you’re going through it, so is someone else.