Yes, I said it. As I sit here with a Chocolate Cupcake in front of me feeling sorry for myself.
HI 🙋! My name is Anne, I'm 41 and I think I may be starting Perimenopause.
So.... now that we have that out of the way. What is it about that blasted word Menopause, that makes everyone cringe and run for the hills? I personally am getting to that age and I want to talk about it. Doesn't anyone want to know what us women can expect as we get older? I mean it's not like it's the plague or anything...right?
I use to joke that I couldn't wait for menopause because I was so sick of having the symptoms of PMS and having my period....Can I back up and take it all back? Now that I'm headed in, I'd rather just keep the periods and cramps.
I hear ladies talk about hot flashes and not having a period, but what else is there to Perimenopause and Menopause?
What is Perimenopause? I'm glad you asked!
Perimenopause, according to WebMD, means -The period of a woman's life shortly before the occurrence of the menopause.
Well, that explains a lot, doesn't it?
So first things first. Let's talk about Perimenopause
Perimenopause is started when normal hormonal fluctuations occur as we move closer to menopause. When one starts perimenopause, is totally up to their individual body. There is no set date and symptoms vary per individual.
Well then, what can we expect?
Symptoms of perimenopause can vary so here are some things to look out for.
- Irregular and/or heavy bleeding
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- weight gain
- worsening PMS
One may also have
- bouts of anxiety
This comes from the changes in your bodies hormones.
So at what age should I expect these changes to start occurring?
It really depends on your body. Some have started as early as their 20's but the main age women can expect to start perimenopause is in their 40's. Here is a timeline so that you can better understand when to expect these changes.
I started noticing about 3 months ago that my periods were getting a little wacky. They seemed like a normal period but they were coming on more frequently. Like every 2 weeks....Blah. I've also noticed that my sleep pattern isn't what it use to be either. I'm waking up more often and finding that it's harder for me to fall asleep at night. I get a little more irritated and find myself snapping at the littlest of things. So I started asking friends about what they may have experienced when they first started out having perimenopause. NO ONE wanted to answer me. What's up with that? So I did a bit of research on my own and decided I'm not going to be silent.
I've always had anxiety and bouts of depression, so I'm not sure if that aspect has anything do do with perimenopause or not. I'm sure it's a bit worse because of the hormonal changes in my body.
Some of you may have already gone through perimenopause and have experienced some if not all of these symptoms. I urge you to speak out. It's a normal function of life and needs to be talked about more often so that others can understand what is happening to their bodies.
So what exactly is Menopause?
Menopause happens when a woman has not had her period for at least 12 months.
Female sex hormones naturally fall as one gets older and the ovaries stop releasing eggs and you no longer have a period.
The symptoms of menopause are the same as perimenopause but normally stop after a few years. You may notice changes in your skin and hair. It may start to feel thin and dry. Joint pain is also associated with menopause. Staying active can help keep you moving and lessen the pain. Sex may start to be painful. Try using lubricant's to help ease the process of sex and make it more enjoyable.
Not all women start perimenopause at the normal age. Medical conditions can cause a woman as young as in their 20's to be thrown into early menopause. If you've had a hysterectomy, you understand what I'm talking about. I commend you for having to go through this stage at such a young age. It's rough enough to go through it at a normal stage. Having to go through Chemo and radiation can also cause the body to be thrown into early menopause.
Should I see my doctor?
Absolutely! Schedule regular visits with your doctor. Don't be afraid to ask questions, that's what they are there for.
Your doctor will most likely want to set you up with some tests such as a mammogram and colonoscopy. Both uncomfortable but also very routine and should be taken seriously. Just remember, you are not alone in having these procedures done so there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Are there complications after Menopause?
There are a few things to look out for, yes.
- Osteoporosis- This is when your bones become brittle and can fracture or break more easily.
- Weight gain- As you go through stages of menopause, your metabolism also slows making it harder to maintain or lose weight.
- Urinary Incontinence- As one gets older, the vaginal walls and Urethra lose elasticity. This can cause frequent urges to urinate or one may not be able to hold it as well and leak. One is also more susceptible to UTI's
- Cardiovascular Disease- When your Estrogen levels decrease, your risk of heart disease increases.
Did you know that men also go through a stage of menopause called Andropause? I didn't either.
Andropause effects men mostly near their 70's but can be detected as early as their 40's and 50's.
What are the symptoms of Andropause?
This can also be known as Midlife Crisis. I don't mean that to be sarcastic either. 😊
So ladies, the next time you think that men have it easy...think again. They have to go through some major changes as well. Try not to be so hard on them! Although they don't have the harsher symptoms as us women have to go through, they still have a lot to deal with.
So there you have it! I hope you appreciated reading this post and I would definitely welcome your feedback. Don't be afraid to speak up, I'm not here to judge. And stop hiding. Get out there and talk about it, tell others what you are going through so that they can be informed.
It's NOT the plague and there are answers and you have support!