Irregular periods. Fluctuating hormones. Bloating, cramping, insomnia, hot sweats, night sweats, headaches, exhaustion, AND osteoporosis?! Welcome to perimenopause where any, or all, of these symptoms could show up at any time. Fun!
Oh, and for no reason let’s throw in the added unpredictability of the age perimenopause begins. In your 30s, 40s, 50s? Yes, it might begin then. No, I can’t be more specific. It just depends.
What was that? You want to know how long perimenopause will last? Oh, that’s easy…4-8 years. Again, no. I cannot be more specific.
It wasn’t until I was standing with my head shoved inside a convenience store cooler that I even thought about perimenopause. I had no idea that what I was experiencing was a hot flash. All I knew was that I was going to spontaneously combust if I didn’t get inside that cooler.
An estimated 35-50% of perimenopausal women experience hot flashes to some degree. Oh, you were curious about how long those lasted? Again, it depends. 10% of women experience hot flashes for years after menopause. Woo-Hoo!
Triggers for an episode can be hot air temperatures, hot beverages, or spicy foods. You’ll have the joy of discovering which of these is your particular on-switch. Just know that I’ve moved far north, drink nothing but water from a local iceberg, and only consume beige foods.
Raging Hormones Part Deux
Remember how amazing puberty was? How you woke up every day and thought, “Wow! I love being a temperamental, moody human with brand new things happening to my body that I can’t control! Super!” No? Me neither.
The fluctuating estrogen levels experienced during perimenopause can cause 10-20% of women to have mood changes. However, if you take a low dose birth control pill, it will keep the hormone levels even during this time which will improve the symptoms. It has the bonus of regulating your menses which is a word I hate to type. Sorry. Had to.
There is so much about perimenopause that depends on each individual experiencing it that nailing down specifics is difficult. The nature of perimenopausal symptoms will show up in each woman differently and for different reasons. Some through surgery (a hysterectomy) or through aging.
Consult with your doctor, take care of yourself, and keep an open mind to walk in cooler therapy. I’m thinking of opening a store full of just coolers where women can stick their faces in anytime they need to.