Women writing in journal tracking her perimenopause symtpoms.

How Do You Know if You're in Perimenopause?

selfcare

 You're researching perimenopause to try and figure it all out, aren't you?  

Something feels off, or you were recently made aware of the fact that yep, it's menopause, and you feel unprepared.  

Are we ever prepared for one of the most significant changes in our lives?  

I mean, we've heard about menopause from our elders but thought that it was much further off for us.  

 

When I learned that I was in perimenopause in my early forties, my first thought was I'm too young, and my next thought was now what?

 

This is my perimenopause discovery story. 

I remember the day when my period didn't start on Day 28, as usual. I felt it coming, but it didn't show up until around day 35, and I thought that's odd. That was my first sign of perimenopause. 

I was around forty-three years old when I noticed the shift in my cycles, but looking back, I was in my late thirties when I started to feel an emotional change. 

I had my son at thirty-three and gained about 50 pounds on my body, which was already 25 pounds heavier than I wanted it to be. After I gave birth, I lost a bit of the weight, but I didn't lose most of it until I was in my mid-forties. 

If you are not happy with your body, it has nothing to do with the physical weight, but I was very concerned with the number on the scale back then. 

It weighed heavily on me emotionally, and my moods would go from bad to full-on bitch mode in two seconds flat. Looking back, I see myself as someone who tried very hard to portray herself as kind and funny, but I was kind of mean and joyless at home. 

It wasn't until I was forty-three that I started to experience more delays in my period that led me to Google why is my period later than expected and why am I so moody all of the time. 

The Google search returned a word that I had heard of but never thought I would need to know anything about until much later in life: perimenopause. 

 

 

As the months went by, my period became erratic, just like my moods, and I decided to see a doctor who was something I hadn't done since my son was born. 

 

Yep, over a decade of not visiting a doctor, I was scared to death to go because I have what they call white coat syndrome, and just the smell of doctors' offices makes me want to run. 

After running blood work and all of the tests, my doctor informed me that I wasn't in perimenopause...yet. Hearing that made me question everything because my Google Degree told me that I was a perimenopausal woman without question. 

After several doctor visits, I learned that no matter what the tests said, I knew that I was changing and I had to take care of my body, so I became my advocate. 

Also, I found another doctor who didn't go through blood tests because of the hormone fluctuation (it's challenging to get a confirmation just by one blood test) and listened to me, and from those two things, she said, "yes, it's perimenopause." 

Hooray! I found confirmation that I wasn't losing my mind and that I would be okay, or was I? 

The Perimenopause Signs:

  1. Skipped periods
  2. Extreme headaches
  3. Breast pain
  4. Mood swings
  5. Heart palpitations
  6. Fatigue and restlessness 
  7. Brain fog 
  8. Acne and oily skin (this was very new)
  9. Sagging skin and dull skin 
  10. A general feeling of dissatisfaction 

Everyone goes through perimenopause differently, so please use this article to empower you to become your own advocate. 

Do your own research, ask questions and don't stop asking!

Here are a few resources to help you in your research: 

The North American Menopause Society

Dr. Christiane Northrup

Ellen Dolgren 

Dr. Anna Cabeca 

 

If you are feeling like you aren't sure what is happening to your body, please seek support through your physician. 

My perimenopause lasted about seven years, and I am now in post-menopause, which starts the day after the first anniversary of your last period. 

In post-menopause, I feel better, look better, and listen to my body more than ever. 

Let me leave you with this: if your body is telling you something is off, or you need to rest or eat or cry, take her signals, and do what she wants. 

Also, track how you feel in a journal. My journal helped me so much during perimenopause, it became my daily ritual.

Read more about the start of my journal practice, here.

I'm with and will continue to provide open conversations about perimenopause and health and wellness on the To 50 and Beyond Podcast. 

 

I've compiled the To 50 and Beyond Podcast Listening Guide: Menopause Edition which will help you listen, learn and feel better than ever during perimenopause and beyond. 

You can download our favorite episodes and the guide here.

 

 

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