Are You Living with The Pre-Menopausal Monster?
Perhaps pre-menopausal symptoms will pass you by, or maybe the symptoms will come in small poofs of spontaneous combustion, leaving you perspiring, but not in a way to truly disrupt your life OR it perhaps it will hit you all at once, leaving you to wonder if you are a candidate for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Night Sweats & Hot Flashes
My early premenopausal years were nights of… “Oh, dear God, not again,”! I would crawl out of bed and head to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. Despite the cool temperatures in the house, I would often stand in front of a fan while awaiting the internal fire to stop and the shivering to begin.
DURING THE WORST of the pre-menopausal monster, I would repeat the process every 90 minutes…sleep was not easy with the roller coaster of night sweats! Not getting sleep made me grumpy, unforgiving of myself and others, and sex…what is that?
During the daytime, spontaneous combustion episodes were my constant companion, leaving me to expose myself while stripping clothing off, no matter where I might be. When you see a woman quickly disrobing in public, her face turning red and beads of perspiration forming on her entire body; it is a sure bet she is having her own personal summer.
Regardless of which road your body takes through the pre-menopausal years, it is not a medical condition or a disease to be treated; it is a naturally occurring phase of a healthy woman’s life — even if it feels like a monster looming over you. Keep the mantra, “this too shall pass.”
No pills and years of embracing my fitness journey were going to be the ticket to smooth sailing through the murky seas of perimenopause. Was I wrong!
AFTER, what seemed a lifetime of symptoms, I relented and headed to the doctor, throwing away the idea of going through this stage of my life “the natural way.”
|· Dry Skin||· Forgetfulness|
|· Backache||· Problems Sleeping|
|· Lower sex drive||· Lack of energy|
|· Headaches||· Hot flashes|
|· Nervous tension||· Night sweats|
|· Fatigue||· Dizziness|
|· Insomnia||· Vertigo|
|· Palpitations||· Weight GAIN|
|· Constipation||· Muscle weakness|
|· Mood swings||· Anxiety|
|· Memory Loss||· Vaginal dryness|
|· Breast tenderness||· Aching or stiff joints|
|· Irregular periods||· Discomfort during sex|
|· Urine leakage||· Urinary urgency|
KEEP IN MIND that this is just a list of possibilities. Not all of these symptoms will occur, and they are a normal part of transitioning into menopause. The length of time passes through the per-menopausal phase of life could be as little as a few shorts months. However, the average is 4 years, and it could be as long as 10 years.
See your doctor determine if you are indeed navigating through the pre-menopausal years.
The light at the end of the tunnel! Once you’ve completed 12 months without a menstrual cycle, you will have moved to the stage of menopause and onto another phase of life.
How to combat the symptoms and find some comfort?
For a short period of time, as an alternative to HRT’s, taking a low dose birth control pill or other birth control methods can reduce symptoms associated with pre-menopausal symptoms. Check with your doctor to determine if this is the right treatment for you.
You may also find some relief with…
- A regular exercise routine
- Routine sleep cycles
- Avoiding alcohol
- Making sure your calcium levels are adequate
- If you smoke – QUIT
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Healthy eating habits
- Mind/Body relaxation (Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Meditation, etc.)
- Limit sugar (simple carbs)
Each of us will experience a different journey through the pre-menopausal years. Some will choose HRT’s; others might find relief with over the counter remedies (talk with your doctor — there are plenty of them) and/or changes in diet and exercise. Educate yourself on treatment options. Experiment and find what works for you. Be patient with yourself, and ask those important people in your life to be patient as well. There is a light at the end of the journey, and the menopausal years can be glorious.
My doctor, a woman, encouraged me to meet with an OB/GYN and consider Hormone Replacement Therapy. I did, and that didn’t last for long! What evolved is another story in itself! See my blog on heart disease.