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Walking through the Fog of Perimenopause

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you are old enough to remember the1970’s TV series All in the Family, then you may also remember one of the classic episodes of all time in which Edith goes through "The Change." As a teen, I can recall this episode and thinking how funny it was to see Archie demanding Edith to change right now, while Edith scurried back and forth between the dinner table and freezer undergoing a frenzy of emotions from anger to tears.

Now that I am edging ever so closer to my 50s (still 2 ½ years away) I am starting to relate to Edith Bunker, although I refuse to wear the dowdy housedresses that were so common back in the day. I am just beginning to feel the subtle, although more frequent changes in my body. I must now face the fact the change is coming; there is no putting a halt to it. However, thankfully, some days are definitely better than others and unlike a 30-minute sitcom, I have months or even years to make the transformation. While I know this is all a part of the life cycle, the emotional roller coaster I am on is driving me, and yes, everyone in my family nuts.

Although I can’t pinpoint the exact date I knew the change was coming, my first suspicion was when my sleep patterns became discombobulated last September. While I would be quite exhausted before going to bed, many nights I would find myself tossing and turning and struggling to stay asleep, which at the time I attributed to overtraining. But since I am no longer training at an intense level, the sleep disturbances are still there, which is one of the "typical" perimenopausal symptoms.

Earlier this week while I was having my hair colored and cut, I experienced what I believe was my first official hot flash. YIPPEE! As I sat in the chair chatting up a storm with my stylist I suddenly found my face and upper body flushed. My face turned beet red and I felt as though I was on fire. This all happened so unexpectedly. My stylist allowed me to go to the ladies room so I could splash some water on my face to help me cool down. Thankfully, it did the trick. But not even three hours later did I experience hot flash number two while browsing at my local bookstore. Now I am almost for certain the change is a coming.

Tonight while I was running, I had to face the realization that my life is changing whether I am ready or not. In some ways this is not a bad thing because I can at least put the blame for all my symptoms on to something that is not in my control. Now I know the foggy thinking, heart palpitations, and mood swings, all of which I attributed to stress, are all part of the process.

The hardest part of the journey is accepting the inevitable, especially when it comes to my thinking process. My thinking has been so foggy lately, although not every day, it is causing me to come up with new ways to handle life. If I do NOT keep an ongoing list, trust me, I am very likely to forget; this from someone who has been quite meticulous about order for most of her life and who has never forgotten a date to save my life.

While I know I cannot stop the change, I am doing all that I can to understand the process of this transformation. I have had to deal with lots of changes in my life, but this by far has been the most challenging, because I can’t STOP it. I am eating more soy-based products and I will continue to exercise, which is a big stress reliever for me. And I pray that I can have the patience with myself as my family has with me as I embark on the next chapter of my life. Bring it on!

Have you gone or are you going through the process or perimenopause or menopause? How did you cope? What measures did you take to lessen the symptoms? What emotions did you go through?

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Comments

almost 55 here, pre- post- menopause. Just when I think there is no more, out come the hot flashes again.

My sister had to go on anti depressives, I probably should have but was not seeing a doctor at the time and managed to get through without killing me or anyone else. There were a few tense moments on which way this might go though.

A fan , hand held, ceiling, desk top - any kind you can get your hands on, will be your best friend for hot flashes!

Advice - if you are not having a smooth sail, see your doctor and have help!
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I am 52... I think I was 'totally paused' by the time I was 47. Like a lot of people, the first clue that I was 'at that age' was a Super Hot Flash. I was about 46 and I wanted to tear my clothes off. I had to pull off the side of the road and get out in the crisp winter air. Another friend was taken by surprised, also in her mid-40s, by a SuperFlash at lunch in a restaurant - she also had to be held back from stripping in public! Since then, I've heard it all the time... when you get the Super Flash, out of the blue, you are officially in perimenopause-land. Aside from that, I only ever got mildly flushed. I am grateful that I had a pretty easy time of it... no need for HRT. Report
Good lord, people... don't tolerate mistreatment by doctors. You wouldn't put up with bad service on anything else. Those people work for you... aka make big bucks. One thing I had to learn in my teens was that if they don't know what it is it's in YOUR head ($100, please)... so I had to stop thinking someone else was driving and actively supervise my medical care. Be a good boss... but be the boss, and don't take garbage service from anyone. You're the best investment you got. (PS... I have two abstruse disabilities and have been at this - and working full time - for a long time. People will treat you as you accept to be treated.) Love to you all... Never look UP to anyone! Report
Hi Gals,

Wonderful thread. I have few comments to add...I am 57 years young and hopefully in 7 more months I will be in Menopause.

In March of '08 I was finally diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I say finally because from the age of 20 to 56 I had always been asked by any Dr. (OBGYN &/or internist) if I ever had my Thyroid checked. They would always order blood work and I always tested just below what was considered low enough to be on medication.
I also am a victim of infertility and went to a "specialist" back in the late 70's early 80's. I had one pregnancy in 6 years that ended in a miscarriage at 2 mos.

I only bring this up because I am finally seeing how all of these symthoms were in my mind some how related, but most male doctors and some female just didn't know enough to handle my situation.

Personally, I still feel women in general are very LOW on the medical totam pole.

I am currently working with my OBGYN and an Endocrinologist to make sure I am on the proper dosage of Synthroid for my Thyroid. I have 1 more week to wait as the Endo Dr. went on vacation after taking 5 vials of blood.

Although I am still wary of sharing my symthoms with "male" Drs., I became "pro-active" by calling my OBGYN and telling him my energy level was as low as it was when I was first diagnosed with Hypo T. He was the one who didn't flip me off and suggested we work as a team with the Endo Dr. If they find that my thyroid medication is indeed the proper dosage, and they rule out some other possible causes (Low Vit D., Anemia, etc.) they will work out a suggested HRT plan for me. The Endo Dr. suggested a max of 2 years on HRT if this is the route I choose.
There isn't a symthom any of you gals have listed that I have not gone through in the last 12 years and continue to go through. I am amazed that my husband of 37 years is still at my side.
He and I have been behavior moderists for over 25+ years in watching our diets and regular exercise. My anxiety level was off the charts in 2003 and I did take the advice of a good Dr. and went on Paxil - CR 12.5 mg. I will tell you it did take away much of the anxious feelings, but, it is not a magic pill. I believe it helped me enough to calm down and take a new direction in my life to find my "own" voice when dealing with the medical profession.

In addition to my weekly exercise routine, I also do some Yoga. Besides the wonderful stretching (at 57 a must....) it is useful to me when I am having those wakeful night sweats...instead of becoming anxious and grumpy...I actual allow myself to totally experience what is happening....I relax and go with it and find that I often fall back to sleep much quicker than when I fight with the "flash".

Not sure if any of my comments were helpful, but Thank You for allowing me to share.

Pepper Report
At 52, been there, and currently doing that! I found many great resources on the web and half-priced books on the topic that have proved invaluable!

I avoided Soy altogether. Yams, Evening Primrose Oil. Happy Camper (seriously, it's a real product). Find them at your local Sprouts or other health food store. Sense of humor and sharing on SP is great!

If you'd like to know the helpful book I found, drop me an SP email!

tammis



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THEAANDERSON
Thank you so much for validating what I know I've been going through for the last year at least!!! My mind still thinks I'm 19, but my body is definitely experiencing those inevitable life changes. I'm 46, raising two boys on my own (11 and 8), and oh boy has it been hard to say the least. I totally agree with adding soy to your diet and exercising - when I'm not consistent I can tell the difference. At least now I know I'm not completely losing my mind. Thank you for sharing. Report
You ladies may not believe this but I went through perimenopause when I was in my mid thirties. When I was 37 I told my doctor that I thought I was going through menopause and he told me I was too young. I kept telling him about the hot flashes and that I hadn't had a period for almost a year. He finally did a blood test. When the results from the blood test came back and he was shocked. I was well into menopause.The hot flashes were terrible. At night I would soak the sheets and sleep hugging ice packs. I am now 54 and pretty much finished with the hot flashes . Yea Report
EBAZOS
At age 45 I experienced hot flashes and missed periods. Thinking that I was starting "the change", I was excited.......my periods had always been heavy. Unfortunately, several months later, other symptoms like unexpected weight loss, extreme fatigue and jitters took me to my Dr. Finally, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Soon after the proper treatment, my periods returned with a vengence. For five years, no hot flashes!!!! At 51, the hot flashes began again. At 54, I still have periods, approx. 2 times every six months. I find that my flashes occur after drinking alcohol or eating things that are high in carbs. Since I have been exercising regularly, the flashes have been fewer. Report
I have been messing with perimenopause for 3 years or so ( thats how long I've actually admitted it!) I have the MOST trouble with sleeping, I had always had sleep problems, but now its at least 4 days per week that i think I'm exhausted untill I hit the bed! I also have a major issue with hair loss, not only do I have to empty the strainer i had to put in the shower drain, i also experiance a wad of hair loss about every 3-4 weeks. I also am on thyroid medication and at first was blaming this, but my dr said no. she never really listens to the issues i think i'm dealing with, as when for four and a half years the gallons of blood every month- i wasn't as smart as many of you to get the hysterectomy (think I was to stuborn also ) when I finally decided one more period like that and off to the dr i'd go begging- wallah they subsided. But the darn things will be gone for about 6-9 months and then bam i'll have 1 or 2 more. everyone has mentioned hot flashes, but no one has mentioned that they effect any other part of their body besides the neck up. I always start behind the knees- totally on fire, start sweating down the legs then my neck up turns to flame. so far i'm on no meds, i'm very afraid of taking them as i've read so much about the links to cancer with hormone meds. Report
K72855B
When I first complained to my gyn about heavy periods he just said "its your age". (48) After 3 years of night sweats, heavy, long periods, messing bedding and clothes, afraid to go out during my period I switched gynos. The first thing he said to me after I told him my symptoms he said "no women should soil her clothing". Bless him. After a round of tests he did a total hysterectomy and it is heaven not to have a period. I still suffer from night sweats, sleeplessnes and weight gain but things are definately better. I am unable to take HRT for several health issues. It is nice to read other women experience this and I am not the only one. At times I am surprised my husband has not thrown me out of bed for the night sweats and sleeplessness. We just laugh about and hope in time it will get better. Report
I started to get hot flashes just before I turned 50. I always wondered what they were, but, boy, the first time I had one and the top of my head felt like it was on fire (and that I might be able to bake a casserole on it), I knew what it was! The very first one embarrassed me, but since then I couldn't care less what anyone thinks. I just sit and fan myself. whew.

Just one word of advice. My period changed - radically - and I thought it was just my body changing. I accepted these extremely heavy periods for almost 2 years before I finally went begging on hands and knees to my doctor hoping she would finally OK HRT. Well, I quickly found out that this heavy, heavy 24/7 bleeding was not just a normal part of menopause. I look back and can't believe I accepted it for so long. It ended with a hysterectomy and within 2 weeks I felt like a new woman. So: please please please go to your doctor and ask if your periods have really changed and especially if you are bleeding heavily. It's NOT normal!

Hugs to us all who are going through it and have gone through it - hugs but not too long - too hot! :-) Report
Having suffered for years with PMDD (extreme form of PMS) and insomnia, it was kind of hard to tell when perimenopause started. My first clue was the hot flashes. I deal with the hot flashes as they happen. I have been on meds for a few years now to control the symptoms of PMDD, so I don't run around like Edith Bunker. Some of the others wondered about hair loss. Yes, I have noticed I am shedding more then ever. I get into the shower with a clear drain trap and by the time I finish, the tub is clogged again. On benifit of the hair loss seem to be that other hair is growing less, so shaving less. Report
STANSGODDESS
I am soooo happy I read this blog! I have had symptoms for years and it was only last year that I found a dr that told me I was in perimenopause. Rapid weight gain, missed periods, no sleep - everyone told me I was too young! It all started around 43 and I will be 47 in May. The only think I haven't noticed anyone talking about is hair loss. Has anyone else had a problem with this? Every morning, I lose at least one clump of hair in the shower. Have a dr appt. on Tuesday and will mention to her, but I was just wondering if anyone else has this problem. Report
i know exactly what you mean. many many restless nights, hot flashes, weight gain, and the whole works. i am unable to take HRT due to blood clots so after bleeding for 3 months they decided to do a hysterectomy. best thing i ever did. no more wondering when and where you will be when it hits. I have been at the same weight or heavier by a few lbs the last 2 months and i am angry and frustrated. I also take calcium with D and was taking Vitamin E.. It does work Report
Towhee: Thank you for virtually the only comment re:weight gain. I'm on 7 wks. and lost a mere pound. I've never felt so frustrated with my weight.

GoLions: MY doc also said nothing was happening but just a few months later there was clear clinical evidence. Moral to the story....YOU know your body better than a doc and you can feel the changes occurring before they ultimately can be measured by labs.

CoffeeDiva: Paranoia? Oh, Yeah....Just keep repeating "calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean" and try yoga hatha breathing

I just turned 48 and have been in menopause for the past year. Peri-pause for three--with no clinical evidence for the first two.

While many homeopathics work it is relevant to note that women's hormones create a unique multiplier in predicting clinical response. Hence why women are generally not used in pharmaceutical trials.

Patience, trial and error, and a gentle touch seem to help most. And if your doctor is less than helpful look for a new one. Not my favorite advice, but your well being is at stake and there is no one else like you.

namaste
God Speed
Blessings

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Oddly enough, I am among the few that really did not have many problems with menopause. I had a few hot flashes but quickly they were gone. I was 46 years old when this happened. I had a lot more problems with irritability when I had the monthly. So the change was a welcome change. Report
Hormones affect EVERYTHING about our body. The hot flashes, bad sleep, weight gain, mental fogginess, etc are symptoms of things being out of balance. I'm surprised that women are taking such a hit and miss approach, instead of seeing a doctor that really knows what he/she is doing in this area.

It's a chemical balance in the body -- don't just "play around" with things. Bioidenticals are NOT that expense -- it's about 25-bucks a month. It's amazing to me, that my friends won't see a certain doctor, or pay for hormones that their insurance doesn't cover, yet don't even blink an eye at plunking that same amount of money on shoes; dresses, or a piece of furniture. This is too important to mess around with!!! Don't fool around with your health. Be pro-active!!! Read and study. I would recommend reading any of Diane Schwarzbein's books-- she's a REAL doctor, that has made this area her expertise. (plus her books are only around 10-15 bucks on amazon). She's cutting edge, but "conservative", and is always updating her info.

Soy based products are NOT the answer -- they hold a real danger for women because of the estrogens, and the way the products have been processed. Soy screws up your thyroid (which leads to weight gain!!!).

We don't have to live half-lives!!

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Boy can I relate! Last semester (I'm getting another degree--go figure) I had a wonderful professor is a small-ish class...all the students were in their 20s and 30s, but the professor and I were the same age. . At least once or twice a class I would have a hot flash, and start fanning myself furiously. Apparently Prof. B noticed, because about the third time it happened he stopped talking, looked at me and announced, "Is it really THAT hot in here?"
I gave him an exasperated look and said, "Professor B, I'm 53 years old. Does that answer your question?"
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After reading the article and many of the comments and seeing that quite a few of them seem to have started perimenopause in their 30's. I'll be 33 in May and in the last year or so my periods have become erratic. Sometimes I wont have it for months then I'll have a heavy one that will last for 2-4 weeks. Just off and on like that. And lately I've become really emotional. I cry at the drop of a hat. I dont know if this could be the start for me or not, but it would be nice to have an answer. My mom started having symptoms in her late 20's and has been on HRT's since then. They tried to take her off them but the mood swings were so bad she couldnt function. She was either screaming at you or crying. Anyways, enough rambling. Thank you to everyone that shared their experiences. Report
I commiserate with all of you, my peri-menipause, started at 38, at 41 had a hysterectomy (full), and it started back at the beginning, yippee!! I'm now 51 and on the downward swing, but hey the flashes are still here. I avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, these cause flashes in me within minutes. I've had every symptom you can imagine. I have several friends that are just starting the symptoms, I just smile and offer my suggestions and condolences. I don't miss my period at all, it is a faint memory at this point.

I too have a saint for a husband, I'm sure there were points in our time together at the early onset, he was afraid to turn his back on me. Hormones can be a powerful thing.

And then I found YOGA, this was my savior. I never would have made it through all of these years without it. Other exercises have helped, but Yoga helps me find inner peace, it allows me to shut my brain off.

A new symptom creeping up on me just recently, suddenly I can't remember how to spell words, and I'm a proof reader.

To all of you just starting the M word, realize you need to take time for yourself, it is essential. Be stingy with yourself, learn to say no to stressful situations you can avoid. Remember if you don't get it done, will it really rock the world? Is anyone going to know besides you that you didn't complete the task. Pick and choose what's a major priority, do that first, the rest will be waiting for you tomorrow. De-stress yourself, this will alleviate some of the symptoms.
Learn to love yourself, listen to your body. Good luck, 13 years and counting....
does it end? REALLY? Report
LISAPANT
I will be 50 in May and everything in your article is me. Its nice to know that I am not alone in the crazyness. I keep a fan and a glass of ice water at my desk at work so when a hot flash appears I'm ready for it. Living in the northeast, I just walk outside to cool off. doesn't take long. Report
Hi to all!! I am about half way through the change and at 49, I find it very hard to sleep, and all of the above STUFF that goes with this. The only ways I can relax is to wear silk and or polyester clothing, 3/4 length sleeves-LOSE! I don't drink much dairy or eat much dairy. I only seem to sweat around my neck-which I seem to be drenched in alot. So I have learned not wear tight clothes and especially cotton or blened cotton. The drink of choose is WATER and lots of it too. I also take WARM showers and use only natural soaps and a loofa to clean with. As all of you start throught this, you also will learn little tricks that will be comfortable for you. Eileen~~~~P.S. Stop smoking-that also hads to alot of discomfort. I stop smoking about 8months ago and have noticed alot of changes.
EAT A LOT of raw veggies and fresh fruits-garauntee it works!! Report
My menopause started in 1981 at age 31 following surgery. My OB/GYN discussed with me the pros and cons of various HRT's, and I elected to approach this experience without chemicals. To me the single-most important aspect of this is making an informed decision about HRT! I feel that women who can't control their behavior towards others probably should chance the risks of HRT rather than lose friends. I was able to keep my feelings to myself so my approach was to increase exercise, make some dietary changes like doubling my intake of leafy greens and eating less red meat.

I can't relate to the experience of women who are very focussed on the problems of the change because my comparison of pain-to-change was a delight that made any and all Change symptoms totally insignificant. Actually, I found it all rather funny and simply accepted it as a normal transition.

I played more raquetball than before to help me with the emotional swings...and am sure it worked! Report
YOLANDA55
The title "Walking through the fog of permenopause" really caught my attention, because that is how I felt that I was in a fog. I started 11 months after my 50th with that feeling, no hot flushes, just forgetting things and feeling like I was in a fog. I finally came upon a website for Women where they outlined symtoms and most of which I had. I started on their hormonal balancing treatments (vitamins) and have felt so much better. I came out of the fog. I do continue to workout and to stretches. I still get the hot flushes now and then, but not as bad. Sleeping is still sometimes a problem and that I what I miss most. I would lay my head on the pillow and sleep the whole night, but not anymore. There are still nights when I do not sleep the full night. Report
Hi, I am 48.5 and have been working with change my whole life :) This is just one more facet of my life as a woman!

Symptoms- swelling ankles, period erregularity, mood swings, sleep disturbances, hot flashes need for lists and keeping things in their place so I do not misplace or forget.

Helpful actions- lose extra weight through yoga ( mind and body) and exercise- cardio and weight training- Diet include less bread products which make me sleepy. Flax seed oil- to improve period regularity and duration as well as mood.

Most of all- Live in the moment, do not resist what is happening, let it pass through,

hey- I made it through puberty ;) and it seems kinda the same! heh! accept I do not have teen angst- I am becoming calm... Report
I have been going through the change for about a year. Insomnia, hot flashes, lose of my period and feelings of hypersensitivity. Thank God, not all at the same time. During this time, the need to exercise is paramount. It helps to keep me mentally on an even keel. Report
I started experiencing the hot flushes whilst on holiday about a couple of years ago. Then nothing for a year. When I turned 50 last June, I was looking forward to more symptoms but they waited another few months. I now have mild heat flushes once in a while that last perhaps a day and disappear. Sweaty nights the same. I take them as signs that I have come of age. My period since the last six months arrives on time every two months and skips one. It's a bit confusing when you've always been regular and timed like a swiss watch. I remember my Mum's experience which was difficult for the whole family. I pray not to have the same drastic mood swings. Happily these days medical help and social support are open and available. It's no longer something that we have to bear in embarrassment or silence. Report
LAMARKS4695
I have been and are where you are the 50th birthday for me is in 6 months,what has helped me is working out regularly and low dose hrt Report
I've been period free for 3 years now. Yes I was MOODY! Hot flashes weren't as bad but the sleeplessness was something else! Along with weight gain! AAAHHH!!! I'm still trying to loose the weight. I've taken black cohosh for the moodiness. It has helped a lot. I don't take it on a regular basis anymore. I've found that exercise has really helped. Not to mention that it has helped with my bone density. YEAH :) Report
MSTRISHYNBS101
Thank you for the article. Its great to know what to expect when age creeps upon me. Report
CRACKERMOM
Next week I celebrate one year of being "period free"!! No more monthly bloating (as much as 8lbs at a time), no more crippling cramps, no more PMS! Don't hate me, but I've never had a hot flash! I've always been a moody person so that hasn't changed any. I love being able to finally lose a few pounds in the month and have them actually STAY off longer than 3 weeks! I've always been a list maker so I don't forget things, but I do believe my memory has slipped some lately. Overall, I feel SO MUCH Better without the monthly curse!! Report
MOMMAFITZ
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. I had a complete hysterectomy three years ago (44) and have not had hot flashes or night sweats and I lost weight. My doctor put me on hormone treatments but I just stayed on them for a couple of months, didn't like taking them. I exercise almost daily and try to eat the right foods and take my vitamins. The one thing I don't miss is periods, so nice not to worry about it. It's nice to hear from other women and what they go through. Report
I started with night sweats about 20 years ago, then progressed to mild "warm flashes" and not so mild (according to my husband) mood swings about 15 years ago. I was on HRT for a while, but my body did not like it and I took myself off of it about 6 months before the whole HRT "blow up" occurred (my GYN was happy that I had done that). It is really nice to not have to worry about TTOM, but the brain fade is certainly frustrating. The biggest downside is that weight loss is very slow - about 2 pounds per month on a good month. I'm exercising about an hour each day, getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated, but the weight still sticks. My MD has checked my thyroid function (her idea, not my request), but it's normal. Like a lot of other unpleasant things in life, I've learned to live with it. Report
MUNCHIESO
I started change of life at 35 and finished at 39. It runs in the family. I was glad when there was no more monthly friend...very glad because it was always very heavy and caused unpredictable weight fluctuations.. I only have a few gray hairs and they don't really show (I'm blond). I also have two grand kids... Report
By the number of comments left, you know now that you are not alone. I wish I had the information that is availabe now 10 years ago. There is almost too much information out there now, and it is very hard to understand what is good and not so good. I was relatively lucky with hot flashes that were not too bad. My biggest problem is sleep patterns. I have decided after research and soul searching that hormones are not for me. I truly think that evening primose supplement helped me. The good news is that it does get better. I find exercise and weight control are very important and I now understand a lady that once told me she gained weight just looking at a lettuce leaf. Take good care fo yourself and take time to do good things for yourself. Report
wow, Ive been having night sweats for about a year (I am 42) and have had insomnia for 7 years (Im on sleep meds, but they dont even keep me asleep) Im very forgetful and of cource had weight gain. I had a partial hysterectomy at 25, only have one ovary, havent had a period since then (I do NOT miss it LOL) maybe I am peri, or even full fledged? I dont have insurance so I cant get checked out, but I guess since it is a natural process I dont have to be checked for it right? I do have oestoe (sorry cant spell it) and take extra calcium and vitamin d. I have another thing, um havent seen it mentioned any where, but I was constipated all the time from childhood till about a year ago (I figured my change in diet made that better) but for the past month or so I have the runs (sorry I know this is gross) is that also a symptom? maybe no one mentions it or doesnt know it is one? or maybe its just me LOL and I lost my sex drive a long time ago, probably 10 years (and I thought it was supposed to get stronger around then?) Of cource in 2002 I hurt my back, have had many surgeries and am in pain 24/7 so I know since then that is why, but i lost it before then. as for the night sweats, it was off and on for a year or so, but the past couple weeks it is every night, I have no temperature, at first I thought I was getting sick, but im not sick.
well Im very happy to read this blog, its nice to read that maybe there is a reason for things going on with me. Report
Most of the time I can't tell if the hot flashes are from medication I take or "the change." Either way my rosy red cheeks signal to the world that something is going on with my body! Report
While I partly feel that it's grossly unfair that I still have my periods, more or less regularly, at the "tender" age of 56 :-( ..... I have staved off the worst of the perimenopause symptoms with tofu and Black Cohosh supplements. I think the symptoms that bothered me the most were the "dark dreams and feelings" - nightmares that someone dear to me was killed, and gross stuff like that. The supplements seem to alleviate the "dark" stuff. I had a spell of irregular heartbeats, which were a little unnerving; and the occasional night sweats...

I think it's critical to deal with any symptoms/moods, etc. There are plenty of books available offering help. I know a woman who slid into the abyss of alcoholism, trying to escape her symptoms - and that's NOT the way to deal with it! Report
Thank you for this article and to all the ladies who have shared their experiences. I know I'm not alone in this and it has been very helpful to read other ladies suggestions. I recently had my doctor run a blood test which showed I was very definitely in menopause and I'm only 46. Unfortunatley she also tested my cholesterol and that came back as very high too. I have been making excuses as to why I had gained weight and that there was nothing I could do about it. But I know that I can, I just have to "make" the time, 'cause "finding" the time hasn't worked.
Thanks againg for the help and the encouragement.

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I was 41yrs old when I was told I was in early menopause from a car accident besides being a cancer survivor. I refused all medications for menopause & I got healthy instead. I learned that me exercising & keeping active also changing my way of eatting & life style made a big difference in this time of my life. I've lost 173lbs & kept it off sence 2002.I'll be 50 yrs young this month & yeah I still get night sweats every now & then But I have made it through the bad times . I no longer have TOM. Its been 5yrs sence I've had it.YES I too get forget full but hey I'm hoping that gets better..lol..Everything else did.. Report
I am 47.5 and thus far I've had no sx's. One thing that struck me in reading so many of these responses is that 'inevitableness' of feeling like crap! WHAT THE HECK! You DONT have to feel that way! What has happened to women? We must take charge of our bodies and stop accepting what untrained, uncaring physicans tell us. Post #234, Ireneaz, mentions some books/authors (Christian Northrup's book is a great start) and also explains how she saw a specialist in women's health and finally got the treatment that she needed. I plan to utilize bioidenticals (not a med term, btw.)because I've always treated myself with naturopathic/homeopathic/herbal remedies for nearly everything. I cared for my daughters when they had severe PMS with great success. It breaks my heart that so many women are given rx's for mood altering medications - thereby enforcing the stereotype that 'hormonal/menopausal' women are crazy. It also causes me some concern that so many women here began perimenopausal sx's in their 30s and early 40s! What have we been doing to ourselves to bring this on so early?? Is it the hormones in dairy products? lifestyle stressors? Im sure there are a myriad of possibilities. What I implore all women to do is to seek out
physicians who will genuinely care about what is happening to our bodies. Someone who will not so readily scribble out an rx and wave us off. Someone who is knowledgable about what tests to run, the specifics about those tests; who recognizes that the 'norm' doesn't fit most women - our bodies are all different; someone who will take the time to find the treatment plan that fits the individual, no matter how long it takes.
I've been doing tons of research on perimenopause/menopause tx's and plan to go the most natural route that is possible. I will fly to the mainland if I have to find a physician there. Whatever it takes to feel good and be happy! There is no reason to feel so defeated, unhealthy, unhappy, etc. We MUST eradicate those myths!
*much Namaste* to all my sisters!
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I have been going through menopause since I was 35, still have everything in there. Finally at the age of 48, I skipped a month. I still get the hot flashes but only when it is close to that time. I can only hope it goes away soon. I watched my mom go through this and she drove us crazy, now I know how she felt, poor mom. I do not wish this on anyone, it will drive anyone crazy. Report
I went into full menopause stage at the age of 38 because of a full hysterectomy. I am 54 now. I have suffered with the night sweats the up and down moods and all of it. There I times when I feel like my head is on fire. I have to take look warm showers because for some reason getting in hot water, which I love, set the flash off. You just learn what keep the flash in line for you because I don't think any of us expirence them the same way. Oh yes, I'm having mine and yours is coming. Report
I'm right there with you!! I'm 44 and have been dealing with hot flashes on and off for almost a year, just recently progressed to night sweats. My sex drive hasn't changed, but the flashes are certainly interesting! Report
FIRELADY58
Hello to all and welcome to my world. I married my wonderful husband 6 years ago. Prior to my wedding I joined Weight Watchers and was able to lose 30 pounds before my wedding. Luckily I went on maintenance and was able to maintain my weight loss with careful monitoring of my diet and exercise. Three years ago I began the whole menopause experience (I chose to look at it positively) with night sweats, horrible sleep patterns and weight gain. I continued to participate in Weight Watchers and unfortunately I was not successful. I continued to participate in Weight Watchers and I paid weekly and would lose and the next week I would gain. So I continued to work on my own and stopped going to Weight Watchers. This website has been a great help to me and slowly I am losing the weight. I have never had hot flashes, just the night sweats. I have not taken any types of supplements. My period comes periodically, sometimes I will miss 2-3-5 months and then get it 3 times in a row. I am dealing with it and continue to work at losing the weight I gained. So far I am winning, and with the support of my family, friends and coworkers, it is a battle I will not lose! Report
Just starting I think. Although the doctor does not agree, I have sleep disturbances, night sweats occassionally, foggy thinking, irregular cycle and moody behavior. Xanax or Ativan did help as did Ambien (only when I become severly sleep deprived). The one great thing about it is I am going through it with my best friend so we can talk about it to each other and have someone who understands fully what it is like and what it means to us as women. Report
I started the process at about age 40 - skipping periods. Went through the emotions soon after - prayer is the only thing that helped there. I have gone through the power surges when I was cold and hot at the same time - awful feeling! I took a black cohash natural pill called Flasheaze or something like that - it worked pretty well. Periods eventually stopped and the flashes minimized. I think I am over the hump although still having flashes less intense, but still there. I find some things that will increase it like caffiene and no rest. Report
Both my best friend and I are perimenopausal. She suffers worse from the insomnia than I do, poor thing - but we both have developed extreme sensitivity to personal slights (bordering on paranoia) a couple of days a month, which neither of us had experienced before. Does anyone else have that? Report
No more periods!!! yipee doodle :) I now realize that I was peri at 42, the year that I felt a surge of independence and a need to take care of ME and my needs. I had a scare at 47 when I thought I might be pregnant-I was SURE that's what all the weight gain was. ha. well, no...it was menopause in full bloom...and I had "Power Surges" all day and night, waking up soaking wet. Today, at 49, and now divorced for 2 years, after 28 years of marriage, the freedom from it all is rewarding. I am a Strong and Free Woman, who now is controlling what I do, how I do it, when I do it, and whom I do it with....and along the way, I still get a mini spark reminding me of myself. Report
ANDIBETH3
Ladies - I can sum this up in one word - XANAX! Seriously, I have been in perimenopause for ove 10 years. I will be 53 in April. Those of you who have not menstruated for "several months" - don't be fooled. I had gone 9 months without a period, and then I menstruated for another 2 years. Now, the last one had was on Labor Day (no pun intented). The best way to find out how close you are is to have your gynecologist take an FSH level. The first hot flash I ever had? I was at a concert, sitting in the middle of a row of about 20 people. I told my boyfriend to "get me out!" I said I didn't care how he did it - he could 'get a crane and lift the roof off the building!' I seem to get the hot flashes and night sweats monthly during the time I would be menstruating. I take Estroven (or wal*mart equivilent). I use to take Black Cohosh, etc. but this has all of them in one pill. Report
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