I don’t usually write about women’s (or my) health but this was something I thought others could benefit from.
It has been so weird lately. My moods are all over the place with me crying during dog food commercials and choking up while explaining The Voice ‘battle rounds’ to my daughter. Pathetic, right? Then, there are the hot flashes. I’ll suddenly break into a sweat several times a day, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. I’ve also had a hard time sleeping, headaches, weight gain, memory loss, etc. It basically seemed like I was going crazy and was constantly having PMS. I even hit several ‘breaking points’ over the past few weeks due to all the changes.
I was telling my mom about this and jokingly said that I must be going through menopause. Then, she dropped the bomb:
“You know, there is something like a pre-menopause you can get in your 30’s . . .”
What?! Are you serious?! I hurriedly hopped online to see if this was so. Yet again my mom was right.
35 Perimenopause Symptoms
So, between getting your first period (premenopause) and getting your last one (menopause), there’s a stage called perimenopause. According to WebMD, perimenopause is when “when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen”. While this typically hits later in life, women, like me, are special enough to experience it in their 30s.
According to The Perimeopause Blog (yes, there’s actually an entire blog about it), there are about 35 symptoms associated with perimenopause . . . and I’m dealing with about 26 of them:
- Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
- Irregular heart beat
- Mood swings, sudden tears
- Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
- Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
- Loss of libido
- Dry vagina
- Crashing fatigue
- Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
- Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
- Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
- Disturbing memory lapses
- Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
- Itchy, crawly skin
- Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
- Increased tension in muscles
- Breast tenderness
- Headache change: increase or decrease
- Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
- Sudden bouts of bloat
- Exacerbation of existing conditions
- Increase in allergies
- Weight gain
- Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
- Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
- Changes in body odor
- Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
- Tingling in the extremities
- Gum problems, increased bleeding
- Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
- Osteoporosis (after several years)
- Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
- Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc.
I just turned 35 years old a few months ago! That’s just wrong! (What is it with perimenopause and the number 35?) I’m doomed to decades of this awful perimenopause, and who know how many years of menopause after that. It’s all downhill from here, huh? And, while I’m heading toward the end of my cycle, my daughter is just starting hers. Ugh – why, oh why, is it so tough being female?!
Now that I know what I have been experiencing, there’s a lot to be done. First off, I’ll need to go to the doctor to see if this self-diagnosis is right and if the falling estrogen levels are affecting anything else. It’s also important I do better at improving my diet and exercising every day.
So far, the following sources look promising on suggestions on how to lessen, or at least cope, with this:
- The Perimeopause Blog
- I’m Too Young For This! by Suzanne Somers
- 34 Menopause Symptoms – Perimenopause