Friday, April 20, 2018

Have a Merry, Perimenopause!

I've been dealing with perimenopause for the past six months or so. While discussing it with my therapist, she suggested I blog about it. I tend to gravitate towards writing and talking about taboo subjects, so that idea intrigued me. Perimenopause is so rarely spoken about that my spellcheck doesn't even recognize it as a real word.

It's frustrating that while society prepares us for puberty with multiple health classes throughout school and lots of books preparing kids for "the change," and the same thing happens for pregnancy and breastfeeding (all the classes, all the books!), you really don't hear much about menopause.

I mean, sure there are the jokes about hot flashes and such. And maybe they talk about it on Golden Girls. But sometimes I think being perceived as an attractive and sexual being is so important to our concept of womanhood, that it's hard to talk about anything that would suggest that you're old or not fertile.

I mean, there's nothing unsexier than your ovaries and your vagina drying up, amirite?

In private though, I find my friends are more than willing to discuss perimenopause and menopause. Take my book club, Puss n Books, for instance. The Puss n Books women love to talk about the things you're not supposed to talk about. Sex. Husbands. Penises. Vaginas. Marriage. Divorce. Infertility. Fertility. Anal sex and clitorises. Well, that used to be the subject of our conversations, but now we tend to talk more about estrogen patches, marijuana lube and vulva gel. We laugh just as much, but I'm sure our conversations are much less sexy than an episode of Sex and the City.

Without including perimenopause as part of the cultural conversation, we leave women unprepared for the physical changes and symptoms that they will inevitably encounter. After a lifetime of sleeping through the night, I now wake up around 1:30 a.m. and can't fall back asleep for an hour or two. It leaves me exhausted by the end of the day. Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, the sheets wet just like they were after I gave birth. And other times I find myself incredibly irritable for no discernible reason. The hormonal rollercoaster wrecks havoc on the mind and the body.

And did you know that perimenopause can last for up to ten years before you even hit full menopause? A DECADE. How can we not prepare women for this? With symptoms like fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability, acne, vaginal dryness, lowered sex drive, headaches, irregular periods, incontinence, mood swings, forgetfulness ... MY GOD WHERE DOES IT END? ... we really need to give women a head's up on all this.

And guess what else? You can still get pregnant while you're perimenopausal. Yes, you still have to worry about getting knocked up while your body's clock is winding down and closing up the baby shop. It's like you get the worst of both worlds.

Sure there are ways to help you cope with perimenopause. A low-dose birth control can help alleviate symptoms, an antidepressant, a skin patch, a vaginal ring, progesterone injections and suppositories too. But if we don't even realize we're in perimenopause, how on earth would we know to ask for help?

And many of these symptoms I wouldn't even think of mentioning to my doctor. Things like headaches, sore joints and sleeplessness I chalk up to lifestyle and not menopause. I'd just like a head's up. That's all I'm saying.

So this is me giving all my girls ages 30 to 50 a head's up.

Strap on your seat belts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.


10 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness!!!! This is my life you are talking about. And no one is talking about it!!! I guess I need a book club.

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  2. 30-50? Fuck me...... so THIS explains a whole lot.....

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  3. I feel your pain.... I've been suffering in silence for almost a year now and I don't see any lights at the end of this tunnel :(

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  4. Thanks for writing this. I've been getting some symptoms and asked my doctor and she was pretty much like "well, that's nature!" I just took my last birth control pill last Thursday after 21 years of being on it. I'm terrified to go off. I look forward to your wisdom over here....

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  5. I certainly feel for you!...been there...sucks. Maybe do a bit of research on CBD Oil for peri & full on menopause. I'm now 70, so there was not much help when I started going through it at age 42 but I take it now for anxiety & it's great for other chronic 'aging' symptoms like inflamation etc....check it out...I believe it works for me!....xoxox

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  6. I did not know about Perimenopause until
    I read this post. As far as being one of
    many taboo subjects...not true. In my opinion
    nothing in Life is taboo. Three and one-half
    billon females on this plant; each one has,
    is or will experience Perimenopause.
    I'm amazed at people who wish to sweep under
    the rug any and all talk about changes to our
    bodies as we grow older.
    Thanks to the www...for example:
    Perimenopause - Diagnosis and treatment -
    Mayo Clinic Discover effective treatments
    and learn self-care strategies for hot flashes,
    night sweats, vaginal dryness and other
    perimenopause symptoms.
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/diagnos...
    My best to you, Mandy.

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  7. I was at the end of the 'getting my period' train....so I'll probably be the caboose for this stuff too.....great...I get to watch everyone else suffer before I actually do....great....just great....[groan]...

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