Monday, 28 January 2019

Being Peri-Menopausal

I am 46 years old and before Christmas actually thought that I was pregnant! My period was over two weeks late and I was worried about the thought of another child at my age. It was tough enough having a baby at 37! Anyways, turns out I'm not pregnant and although I was relieved it was a bit sad that it is obviously the sign of the dreaded menopause. I always thought that once the menopause hit me, I would be relieved that I wouldn't have periods anymore - but it's not that simple, is it?

The period before menopause is what hits you first, it can start anytime in your 40's but can start as early as your 30's. This is where I am now. Although I don't have all of the symptoms, I do have at least half of them. Am I ready to face up to the fact that my choice of having more children is being taken away from me and I have to finally face facts that I am old? I don't know. Menopause still isn't talked about amongst people. It gets brushed under the carpet and many people just quickly mention  'the change'  before changing the subject. I am lucky however because many of my friends are going through it at the same time and we moan about it and laugh about it.

Being perimenopausal is caused by the drop in estrogen from the body, this is the hormone released by our ovaries and if your ovaries are not producing hormones, then they are not producing the eggs. This can last up to 4 years before the menopause sets in.

So what do I have to look forward to in this perimenopausal time of my life?

Irregular periods are at the top of the list because this one scared the hell out of me in December! If you are as regular as clockwork like I am, then you will know exactly when your period is due. Then it's a panic when it doesn't come. So this month already I am a week late, but at least I know the reason why.

Tender breasts are another symptom, My breasts are a G cup, so they are huge anyway and when they are getting more and more tender, it isn't very comfortable. Take some paracetamol if the pain gets too much.

Worse PMS, whoever thought you could get even worse PMS? But the truth is I actually do have a lower tolerance for people these days. I am more impatient with people and I am often finding it hard not to lose my shit!

Hair changes are making my hair greasy. I hate this because I work in retail in a cosmetics aisle and my hair always looks greasy even though I have only just washed it the night before or on that morning. It is a hormonal imbalance and my hair is greasy from the roots yet dry on the ends. If this happens to you, try not to wash your hair every day because this will encourage the oil in the roots, and use a shampoo for greasy roots and dry ends. Elvive does a shampoo called Extraordinary Clay which will re-balance your hair and hopefully help.

Headaches have increased and co-codomol has become my new best friend. This is down to your hormones, estrogen and progesterone declining during per-menopause. They should settle down after the menopause.

Concentration difficulties is a hard one to pin down on the peri-menopause because I have the normal attention span of a flea anyway. So who knows if this affected me but I know for sure that Forgetfulness has definitely affected me! I have always been quite forgetful but recently it has got worse and the other day, I forgot to get off the train after work. I walked away from a cashpoint last week without taking my money and I forget a thing, minutes after it has been said.

Loss of sex drive is something that actually hasn't affected me, but that could be because my bipolar makes me want to have sex all the time anyway - hahaha. But it can affect a lot of women. Its nothing to be ashamed of and if you have an understanding partner, you can work through this together.

Hot flushes are something I don't get yet, but man people have told me that not everyone gets them - I'm hoping that I am one of those women.

These are just a few of the common symptoms of perimenopause and if you have any problems or doubts you can make an appointment to see the doctor and he will be able to give you some patches to help or offer advice on ways to cope with the symptoms. If you are perimenopausal, I wish you all the best of luck and I will see you all on the other side of menopause!

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