"Your hormone levels are normal," the email said. Which, of course, was good news. But it still didn't explain the mood swings, the irregular periods, the night sweats, the bloating, the weight gain. I asked the doctor, "then why am I feeling this way?" Perimenopause
ICYMI, Perimenopause is (according to WebMD) "the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman's 40s, and lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years. Perimenopause ends when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period."
Whoo-hoo! But, wait, there's more. The symptoms include:
Worse premenstrual syndrome
Lower sex drive
Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
Urinary urgency (an urgent need to urinate more frequently)
Holy Crap! I have all of those. I used to think half of them were because I'm a working Mom of two tweens and drink too much coffee. Jesus, just when you thought the physically challenging parts of being a woman (puberty, pregnancy, childbirth) were behind you, now, along with wrinkles, gray hair and flab, we ladies over 40 have to deal with THIS?! I'm filing it under, "things my mamma never told me about," which also includes the fact that my breasts would get smaller and droop down to my belly-button after breast-feeding both my girls. Surprise!
Is it just me, or does Perimenopause seem like a vast, uncharted territory that doctors have yet to figure out? More importantly, I feel like it doesn't get the respect it deserves. For instance, everyone knows what you mean when you say "I'm PMSing" but there isn't an equivalent term for Perimenopause. If I said to someone "I'm feeling very Peri today," they would look at me like I was nuts.
In fact, I bet if you asked any guy ages 18 to 88 on the street, they wouldn't even know what the word meant.
There needs to be more buzz, more awareness, more notoriety for this time in a woman's life. Some marketer should jump on this quick!
In the meantime, I will keep talking about it and using it as an excuse for why I'm feeling moody, bitchy, crazy, chubby or cranky. You should too!