Perimeno - What?
In my head I'm forever 29, give or take a few years. When I pass by a mirror, however, I'm often surprised at my reflection, because that is NOT what 29 looks like. Whatever...being young is a state of mind, right? Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy with my age or with getting older. I have learned so much from my past experiences and I am much more comfortable in my own skin now. But most days I still FEEL like I'm 29.
About a month ago I went to the doctor for my yearly check-up and I mentioned a few symptoms I'd been having. Without even looking up, Dr. G replied, "well, you've probably entered perimenopause". My first response was Perimeno....what? Of course I've heard of menopause, but I thought that was something you went through for several joyful years in your 50's and then it was over.
The rest of the appointment passed in a blur. I think Dr. G explained the ins and outs of perimenopause, but this is what was going on in MY head.
When I got home, I did what every informed person does - jumped on the internet. Egads! Perimenopause IS a real thing, and everything I read sounded exactly like me. Let me save you the days of research I did and sum up: it's basically reverse puberty. We spend our teen years getting into this hormonal mess, and now we have to get back out.
Perimenopause is the passage to menopause that usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 50 as your body is starting to produce less estrogen. It can last for several months or up to 10 years, depending on how lucky or unlucky you are :). When you have had no periods for 12 months, you are officially in menopause. Symptoms of perimenopause can include fatigue, headaches or migraines, irregular periods, mood swings, sleeping issues, hot flashes, frequent urination and anxiety. Check, check and check. Except the hot flashes...I'm cold ALL the time.
So there it is. It's a real thing and I'm in it. My poor husband turned pale when I told him. We have two teens in the house - now 3/4 of us have hormones that are out of whack. Poor guy.
The question is, what can I do about it? I'm not a huge fan of taking medication unless I really need it, so I will have to work on the things I can control. That means striving to improve my overall health by exercising, eating well, taking supplements and trying to be less stressed. That last one will be hard, since everybody else in this house keeps dragging me into their stress filled lives :)
I can also write about it, which is always therapeutic for me, so here we are. In all of my research on the internet, I found lots of technical information, but not a lot of real women sharing their struggles and concerns about perimenopause. Our society places such value on youth, so nobody seems to want to talk about this. But I do.
Every week I plan to write about this journey I'm taking and share some things that are working for me. Being depressed about it won't do me any good, so I may as well laugh about it. Maybe somebody out there will say "me too" and we can have a chat. It's so much easier to get through something challenging with friends.