The following is my very raw account of my perimenopausal journey so far because I no longer give a fuck about what anyone thinks.
Half a year ago had you caught me during one of my hormonal moments I might have filled you in on the fact that I feared something was terribly wrong but I was unable to build up the courage to find out the truth.
Most people in my family have had some type of serious illness that they have had to learn to deal with. From cancer to debilitating forms of diseases I am incapable of pronouncing let alone spelling them or remembering the names of. I on the other hand have made it forty something years with not much more than severe food allergies. I should clarify that by severe I am probably exaggerating, but it is rather depressing at times to think about not being able to eat bananas or avocados. Poor me.
Seriously though, I had convinced myself it was my turn. I made it this far virtually unscathed and it was time for me to get a taste of unhealthiness.
For starters, my life time struggle with insomnia got worse. Instead of the five hours of sleep I had grown accustomed to throughout my thirties had quickly shortened into three or less. I was so tired on my commute to work that I would have to pull over for ten minute power naps on the side of the road. The lack of sleep lead to more coffee than the disturbingly risky amount I already drank. How many shots of espresso are too many in a twenty-four hour period? Now this was the question to keep me awake. My tough girl conclusion: It must just be the coffee. Lay off the fucking coffee.
Next up, hair loss. Just google this for yourself. So many possibilities. Stress. Anemia. Hypothyroidism (my moms guess because half of my family has it.) Lack of protein (are all those fucking bacon eaters right?) My conclusion: Stress. Yes, stress. That has to be the cause. Must do more yoga. Must find my ZEN!
Then the combination of a weird feeling in my legs, or actually the veins in my legs and swearing that I could feel the blood flow through them coupled with bloating. Serious bloating. My belly looked like it was ready to deliver. So bloated that a button flew off my favorite pants and rocketed across the room because my belly was just too fucking big. Yeah, and this did wonders for my issues with bulimia! My conclusion: Drink more kombucha. The probiotics have to help. They fix everything, right?
This lead to a series of shitty events. Depression. Heart palpitations. Bleeding gums. Dizziness. Bowel trouble. Painful boobs. Pissing my pants at the slightest movement. More depression. Anger. Memory lapses. Conclusion: Must find a fucking doctor. More honestly, I must beg my husband to find me a doctor because I am too scared.
Wait to see the doctor: Two and a half months.
In the mean time the sex thing. My poor husband. Feast or famine. Either the never-ending period, or my insides hurt so please just hold me, to I need you to fuck me now. I don’t care if you are half asleep. I need it now. Never mind. I will just take care of myself. Conclusion: I have always been a bit on the crazy side. It has nothing to do with any thing else. My husband is my hero!
Oh and then the thing that had me convinced that I had something seriously wrong with me, the electrical shock from the inside shooting through my clitoris. At first it was a fun ride until it didn’t stop and became painful, then just absolutely scary. Try looking it up on google and see if you find anything besides links to adult porn sites. Conclusion: This is freaky. I must be dying. Maybe I should take out my piercing?
In the final stretch, the week before my doctor’s appointment it all became much clearer. The first night I woke up clammy, feeling like I was on the verge of sweating. Like I was running a fever. I layered more blankets on even though I was extremely hot thinking that I could break the sweat and it would all be better, but that never happened. Over the next few days, I got this same feeling throughout the day and night. No warning. They just hit. At one point even though it was 40 degrees and raining outside, and I had the air conditioner in my car cranked full blast at 62 degrees, I couldn’t get comfortable so I opened the sunroof and windows. I wasn’t comfortable until I was soaked. Two nights before the appointment I realized that I was experiencing hot flashes. Conclusion: I am perimenopausal and don’t need to go to the doctor. My husband did not agree and drove me to my appointment so I wouldn’t miss it.
My final conclusion was accurate. I am perimenopausal. Before finding out I was vegan my doctor recommended that I up my estrogen intake with foods like tofu. I got that covered. The hot flashes are still around. My husband kind of likes them because I will strip naked if I am at home when they hit. My daughter finds it hysterical. It sucks when they hit at work but fortunately there is a walk in freezer that I step into for a few so that I can literally chill out. This shit can last for up to two years they tell me.
This is a journey that I would not have volunteered for, but I am here so I might as well share it, and see if anyone else wants to share parts of their adventure. Building a tribe makes everything better even if it is built around a center called perimenopause.
Are you going through the same thing? Have you already passed this phase? Any tips? What about diet? Did you or are you taking supplements? Let’s start a conversation. Any advice is helpful.
***Two years later this post still gets a lot of view so I decided it was time for an update. Cutting out coffee (I still drink other forms of caffeine) was a huge help. Hot flashes only visit me now if I indulge in a couple cups. Many of the other symptoms only happen now right before my period. My cycle is obnoxious. Sometimes I have them two weeks apart, other times I bleed for too many days straight (52 being the longest,) and currently I haven’t had one for six weeks but feel like it’s coming on.
It ultimately has gotten better so if this is just the beginning of your journey, don’t lose hope!
I want to say THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!!! I feel the same exact way now, I’m actually crying in relief because I thought I was dying. I’m so glad you took the time to write this.
You are welcome!
Just want to also say thanks for writing this (and hey from a fellow vegan). My main symptom at the moment is crushing depression (used to have severe depression for a couple years, and this is largely the same but in 4 day bouts) mixed with severe anger during what would have been PMS in the past. It’s so extreme I don’t even know what to make of it, and then I’ll wake up and it’s gone just like that. And now I’m wondering if my 10 days of insomnia this spring was related – have never experienced anything like that, started hallucinating and couldn’t even walk near the end of those 10 days as my sleep trailed off to zero hours. Then *bam* back to normal. This stuff is absolutely crazy. As I started to notice this somewhat monthly pattern (I don’t have periods due to hysterectomy), I finally clued in it might be hormonal and as I’m in my 40s, perimenopause. Sounds plausible…
You are welcome!
Sounds like it could be. Cutting off caffeine was the biggest help for me. I’m back on it now without any hot flashes.
If you haven’t already you might consider getting a blood test to make sure there is anything else is going on.
Thank you so much! Literally thought I was losing my mind! Now I know what’s going on I can deal with it a little better. I’ll be turning 41 in 3 months and I’m going to have a ball!
It does get better. These days I only get hot flashes if I have too much caffeine. Most of the other symptoms are gone except for that week every several months when I actually get my period.
Thanks for sharing! I thought I was dying when I felt like an egg was cracked ion my head and surge of electric shock hit me from my head to my stomach… then, a sinking feeling like I was dying and followed w heart palpitations…
Headaches, nausea, indigestion, painful cramps, periods that last for 3-4 weeks and heavy bleeding…
Thanks for starting this blog and uniting us in the journey of womanhood…
I’m glad you could relate!
Thank you so much for sharing this! I can’t tell you how much better I feel by reading this. I have been having the exact same symptoms as yours and everyone keeps telling me I’m just anxious and it’s not perimenopause because I’m only in my late 30s. So frustrating! Would you be able to provide an update on how everything turned out for you? About how far into it did you start to feel better? THANK YOU!!!
Hi:) I have neglected this site for far too long. I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I am now 48 and might have a cycle once ever 6 months and that has been consistent for about a year and a half. No complaints about that 😊 Giving up coffee was a game changer as well as taking Ashwaghanda at night. I still get hot flashes when I indulge in coffee. My weight has balanced out and my moods/depression have gotten much better. If you asked my 16 year old she’s probably say I can be a bitch. 😂 How are you doing?
THANK YOU so much for sharing this information. About two years ago, I first felt the same “egg cracking on my head” then the electric sensations in my arms, then months later there were moments when my arms would feel like they can’t relax, then bouts of mood swings from anxiety to panic attacks, and sudden tears of joy or sadness while working out or meditating, and of course the exhaustion from all the worrying and physical symptoms. I also had periods that would last 6-8 weeks long that made anemic, so I got a hysterectomy. Now, it’s harder to prep bc the sensations and headaches, dizziness, arm sensations, visual changes are less predictable bc I no longer get my periods. I was hoping that my symptoms would get better but they are still around… hoping that they’ll get better soon. Thanks again for sharing and bringing this support group together so we don’t feel alone in the crazy journey but instead find a way to support each other and embrace this phase of womanhood. Hugs to all and praying that we continue to find strength and encouragement until we feel “normal” again.
Maisy, thanks for sharing your journey. I promise it does get better over time!