Let’s talk menopause and perimenopause. It’s a hot topic (I KNOW, I couldn’t refuse). And it’s waaaay more than just hot flashes.
I am not an expert on this. This is me sharing my experience, and inviting you to take a compassionate look at what may be happening within your body. If you are in your mid to late 40’s or early 50’s you may be starting to experience some things that feel “off” to you. My hope is that once you start to identify these things as a normal change, you’ll be able to better listen to your body and stop trying to fight it.
For me, this started a few years ago. I found myself feeling like my body was literally rebelling against me and I had no idea why. It turns out that I was experiencing all sorts of common symptoms related to perimenopause. I went from everything going swimmingly, not taking any medication to holy shit, what in the hell is happening?!
All of these things can be related to peri-menopause. I am certain that I didn’t learn about this in nursing school and I also know that I didn’t get the rundown of what to expect when I first started asking my doctor about this. Here’s a short list of what you might expect:
Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia (hello 3 am wake-up for no apparent reason), constipation, urinary urgency, urinary leakage when sneezing or coughing (as a woman who has never given birth I could NOT figure out why this was happening to me), constipation (I would have loved a heads up on this one), mood swings (let’s talk about rage – oof), fatigue, lower sex drive, vaginal dryness or discomfort during sex, oh and did I mention hot flashes and night sweats – like soak through all of your clothes, have to change your sheets kind of night sweats. I’m going to go ahead and add joint mobility issues – which I can’t find much data on but am pretty sure are related to all of these changes. And the big one that everyone fights – weight gain.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list – and every person’s experience is different. You may experience some, none or all of these things. Also note that they generally come at a time when you’re at the height of your professional career (or at least IN it), you may have snarky and moody teens and your parents may be aging and needing more support. So if you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated please remember that you have every right to feel that way!
What can you do?
- Seek out professional guidance from your healthcare provider. Advocate for yourself until you find something that works. There are prescription and over the counter medications that can help alleviate many of these symptoms.
- Listen to your body. If you were up all night you likely need more sleep. Take the sleep. Other things can wait.
- Wear layers during the day and invest in a ceiling fan above your bed. Ok the ceiling fan is optional but super helpful.
- If you can afford it, buy clothes that fit your right-now-body better. Find things that you feel comfortable in and stop trying to squeeze your body into clothes that don’t fit and aren’t comfortable.
- Take it easy on yourself. Find things that bring you a little peace and joy and see if you can figure out a way to sprinkle them into your daily life.
- Read, listen to podcasts and talk to friends! This blog post was brought to you by my book club recommendation ‘What Fresh Hell Is This?’ by Heather Corinna Click here for the Amazon link. I also have been listening to “The Midlife Feast” podcast Click here for a link to the Podcast homepage which addresses all things menopause/perimenopause with the host who is also an Intuitive Eating Counselor.
Be kind to yourself, adjust routines and treatments as needed. Share this and other information with your friends and remind them that they are normal and there are treatments for many of these new and unpleasant symptoms.
All my sweaty, moody best – XOXO,