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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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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
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
It was thanksgiving 2009. I am 43 and hot flashes and mood swings came on very suddenly. I thought it was stress as I was under alot of stress at work but it continued. I went to see my doctor and she put me on some low level hormones. These hormones created havoc in my life and my symptoms got worst. I would wake up with headaches, in the back of my head, so excruciating painful, that I would be screaming and crying. A friend of my mentioned natural herbs and I went to my local herbal store and they recommended that I try black cohash. I quit the hormones right away and the black cohash has been a god send. I rarely experience the hot flashes and I have minimal mood swings. My husband calls them my miracle pill. Needless to say, be very cautious about taking hormones. Start slow and try different alternatives. I was never a believer in natural herbs but now I am. Report
I think I am in the early part of perimenopause. I have gotten night sweats which are less bothersome when I get my iron. I am on weekly infusions and when my iron is up, there are no sleep difficulties. I don't believe my thoughts and when I am cranky I try to sit still and breathe. My periods have gotten more regular as I age. And they were sooo irregular before. I wonder if this won't take me longer than most. My sisters went post at 51 and 54. I expect it will take me longer. It has only been recently that perimenopause was considered to be a real syndrome at all. Not all your doctors "believe" in it. Report
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones! I had to have a complete hysterectomy 11 years ago when I was only 37. I've never had hot flashes and have only gotten night sweats once or twice. I was on hormone pills for the first 3 or 4 years but then got off of them and haven't taken them since. I can be moody sometimes but with 2 teenagers, who isn't! Report
Please be careful with the soy products. I, too did the same thing and really did damage to my thyroid gland to the point of having to take thyroid replacement therapy. I was not aware that soy products could have an adverse effect on your thyroid. Please check with your MD about this.
Patti Report
Oh dear - you are in for a long haul - I'm 51 1/2 and thankfully nearly through this - at least it has been several months since I have had a period - YEAH! But my darling husband did ask me the other day while I was having a major hot flash how long this was going to last - HA!HA! If it were only simple and we knew Report
Wow, what a great Blog! I am 46 and have been perimenopausal I believe for about 7 years. Last year my husband insisted on going to the doctor with me and was most dismayed to hear this can last anywhere from 1-10 years! It seems the last year has gotten worse, where before it was the palpitations and moods now I am starting to get the more frequent periods and mood swings are more difficult. A couple weeks ago I woke up in the night sweating and I am usually always cold, so here we go with another symptom. I will be glad when this is through but figure it will continue for a while yet. My older sister has been going through this for a while too so at least I have her to talk to and she completely understands. Report
I realize as I post this comment that I may be the youngest woman to post. At the age of 39, approaching 40 later this year, I have found that I am experiencing the erratic mood swings and sleep cycles that are associated with perimenopause. I wouldn't think much of it and would probably attribute it to stress, because last year was extremely stressful, but I know too much. I am involved with women's health research and I do a lot of studies with women who are perimenopausal and post menopausal. There are 21 documented symptoms that are associated with peri and post menopause and it is actually called the menopausal syndrome. Hot flashes are the most common but most women don't recognize the sleep problems, depression, low sex drive, erratic mood swings (I call this my witching hours) as part of the process. In some ways it makes it easier to know that these symptoms can be associated with the change in life. But in other ways it can be quite frustrating for me...perimenopause can, at its worst, last 10-12 yrs before the menses actually cease and you are into post menopause...but the symptoms often don't stop then, either. So, I find myself looking for ways to cope. Behaviour modification and meditations, weekly sessions with a counselor to help me talk through things in a way that makes it more rational (as opposed to irrational thinking) and leaning on the friends who have been through this already. Support like what you find here at SP is so invaluable and we all need each other--otherwise, we assume that we have LOST OUR MINDS and are all alone in this process. Thanks for posting your blog! Report
At age 28 I had a total hystorectomy and had the hot flashes the very next day and menopause was on. I had premarin for the next 15 years but I weened myself off of them (I hate to take pills) but then the weight gain started and I have been battleing that since. Excercise does help. Report
YES! this is a terrific discussion thread, a great blog, and thanks for bring it up. i have had 3 D&Cs and been perimenopausal for 8 years now. i believe i have experienced every documented symptom, from the incredible flashes, sweats, chills, crying jags, mood swings, sluggish metabolism, trouble sleeping, inability to concentrate, disjointed thoughts, trouble remembering, drying skin, screwy periods, you name it, i've had it. all i can say, just like the other gals who are experiencing similar life changes, is hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride. i handle it as well as i can, do my best to take it in stride, knowing it could be so much worse. i could have some horrible, dreaded, incurable disease instead of something that is perfectly normal and natural, yet it's such a disturbing, upsetting, daily inconvenience. this is the price we women physically and mentally pay for being the child-bearers. we have to get used to (roughly) 40+ years of monthly nonsense and then it peters out like March, usually like a lion, but sometimes like a lamb. i find a strange sense of pride having come this far in my female existence in my family. no woman has ever lived this long with all of her female organs intact in my bloodline, so (pun IS intended), i'm traveling in virgin territory. here's to us ladies, experiencing yet another thing that NO MAN can truly understand. yours in sisterhood, nancy Report
I was so glad to see this topic brought up. I had a hysterectomy 14 years ago and they took everything. I started menopause the next day after my operation. The nurses couldn't understand why I was so hot with no temperature. Then it dawned on them I was having hot flashes. So I have been on the hormone premarin ever since. I have tried several times to go off it with no success.
This past month I started reading suzanne Somers book "Ageless". It all made sense, until I saw an interview with her on a blog. The woman interviewing her brought up all kinds of different issues which she didn't really have an answer for. She had also checked into the doctors Suzanne had interviewed in her book and found they weren't even doctors. So needless, so say, this confused me even more.
I went to my doctor this week and asked her what I should do, as I was concerned about taking premarin for so long. She suggested and gave me the name of a naturopath who she thought was excellent on this issue. So I am calling today for an appointment . Hopefully she will help me balance my life better.
I have had no side affects from premarin but worry about cancer and I already have high blood pressure.
When in Santa Barbara this past Fall, I met several ladies who were using a progesterone cream and thought it did the trick for them. I was going to try it but was hesitant . I just want someone to help me with the choices there are out there and when I decide one, to help me through it.
I really was excited about the bioidentical hormone replacement thing, but there are no doctors around our area that practice this . I imagine it would be too expensive for me as well , as I am sure our medical plan wouldn't cover this.
Thanks for listening to my thoughts on this. It has been really helpful listening to everyones story and realizing I am not alone on this issue.
I am going to take into consideration the Vitamin E and maybe if I get off premarin I will start taking it. I couldn't take it before because I was on predosone and methotrexate and the doctor didn't want me on another blood thinner .
Take Care
I'm 62 now and began having menopausal symptoms when I was 35. According to the doctor, it's early but not unheard of. For 5-10 years my husband says he could almost hear my brain sizzling. I bordered on psychotic. Life was hard to manage (my husband is a saint). I didn't receive any chemical treatment but I believe now that I should have asked for it. I needed hormones or something to help me. Fortunately, I was sane enough to make it through. Believe me, I welcome the post-menopausal era of my life. Report
At 56 years old, I'm hoping that this is it, that I'm definitely perimenopausal now. I have the brain fog, for sure, and have to write everything down or else I'll forget. Had what I thought were maybe hot flashes, but still not sure (I guess I'll know when it happens!). At this point, all I'm trying to do is keep on losing weight, and getting more walking in (now walking most of the way to work, about 2-1/2 miles, and take the bus for the last mile and a half), but not changing what I eat so much, except to for trying to be more vigilant about my sugar intake. I just wish my period would just go away already! Report
I am 37 and can tell already that my chemistry is changing and I always forget things. Your post was informative. Thank you for sharing. Report
After several lyears of HRT I decided that I did not want the risks involved.
So, after reading up I started taking Vit E (800mg x 1 week then down to 400mg/day) with 1000 Vit C and 1200 Calcium (with D). This has been a lifesaver! Still occassionaly have a "warm" moment but nothing like before and at much less risk.
Hope this helps someone. Just try it for 2 weeks...I noticed a difference after only 3-4 days.

45 and foggy, but I've been attributing that to job stress. Had a summer of periods every other week (Yuck), but that was attributed to an ovarian cyst and eventually went back to normal. I've been playing the toss off the blanket game every so often, but nothing like the major power surges some have experienced. I'm cranky every once in awhile, but I have two teenage daughters, so I'm not always sure if it's them or me!

I'm not sure if I'm perimenopausal, but I guess time will tell... Report
Remember foggy thinking is also sometimes a sign of hypothyroidism and as we gals age we are more prone to that. Soy products are not good for hypo's so keep a close eye on symptoms. Good luck! Report
Excellent Blog! Thanks for sharing. I appreciate reading all the comments from others as well because I am in the midst of Menopause and am looking for any and all help and suggestions I can get! I have nick named myself "Cybil" due to the mood swings, and sleep about 5 hours a night now. I wake up feeling like I have run a marathon at 3am. The heart palpitations like to start while I am asleep so I wake up to thinking I may be having a heart attack! I'd like to know what the Soy does to help? I have heard it several times now and really would like more info on it. I started hormone replacement therapy. I was to the point where I thought if I had 20 years to live feeling the horrific way I did or 5 years on hormone replacement therapy because of the risks, I will take the 5 years. I needed my life back!! I have ramped up my workouts and eat healthy. I still have the flashes A LOT! Sleep is awful. But I have my will to live back! LOL It was really bad for me. I was soooo not prepared for this! Report
I can sure relate to alot of these articles. I'm 51 years old and I think it started for me at age 46. The biggest thing for me was the sudden sleepless nights. Sleep had never been a problem. I was extremely "tired" all the time. It took all I had to make it through the day.My periods had gotten "HEAVY" every 28 days I would cycle for 1 week. Libido also went out the window. I had low iron, hair loss, craved carbohydrates, mood swings, irrability, and I also struggled to keep weight off or lose it. As Suzanne Somers calls it in her book "The Seven Symptoms of Menopause" , quite cute. I'm a consistent exerciser and have been all my life. I went to my regular gyno in tears and told him I felt I was going "crazy". I was tested for menopause and was told that all my hormone levels were in the range. I started to reads books such as Suzanne Somers "The Sexy Years",
Dr. Lee's " What your doctor won't tell you about Menopause", Christian Northrup " The Wisdom Years of Menopause", Dr. Robert Green's "Perfect Balance" and Dr. Elizabeth Vliet's numerous books titled " "Testosterone", "Women, Weight and Hormones" "It's My Ovaries, Stupid", etc. I read as much information as I could. It turned out that Dr. Vliet has
a office in Tucson, AZ (90 minutes drive). I called her office and made an appointment. Best thing I ever did. I had a whole series of tests done. Bloodwork(hormones, adrenal glands, thyroid, iron, cholestrol) bone density test, mammography, It's been almost 2 and a half years and she has worked with me using BIO-IDENTICAL hormones, I feel GREAT, energized,
sleep better, libido is up and slowly but surely I have been able to get some weight off. I'm 15 pounds away from my goal. I honestly believe that you have to be proactive in your health. One doctor told me I had to have a hysterectomy
(which I refuse to have until I got a 2nd opinion) because of my fibroid, which turned out to be so small but it had been causing the heavy bleeding. I was later told that had I had the hysterectomy it would of been premature and probably
sent me into menopause. Dr. VLiet and I are still working on getting some of my symptoms up tp par but I'm willing to be patient. She keeps close tabs on my lab
work, etc. Incase you want to check it out, here is her website : www.herplace.com . She also has an office in Dallas, Texas.
I wish you good wishes on your journey through this "phase" of our lives.
Be active in your health, keep searching for answers. You are WORTH it.

Thanks for the blog....I turned 50 December 22.....so I am definitely going thru the change. It is not so bad because I was always exercising off and on so now I try to exercise 4 - 5 times a week. I also drink soymilk since I am lactose tolerance so I think that helps. Report
I am 43 and had a hysterectomy in 2004 (at age 38) due to adenomyosis (an unusual diagnosis, I'm told). The gyn was able to save one of my ovaries, so I haven't needed HRT, thank goodness. But back in January I started with the sleep disturbances, including drenching sweats with the hot flashes. I'll throw the covers off and have to get up to change my pjs, otherwise I'm freezing cold when the hot flash stops and the clothes are wet...ugh. I'm thinking of investing some $$ in those pjs that "wick away" the sweat so that I can at least make it through the night without changing my clothes, never mind the sheets!

I was worried so I saw my gyn and she tested my hormone levels. I'm not menopausal yet, but she asked me to journal my night sweats so that we can review the information at my next visit with her. She says because of the hysterectomy, it's possible I'm peri-menopausal. With the daytime hair-trigger temper (on the days I've had a bad night's sleep because of the hot flashes), I'm pretty sure that's what's going on! Even my husband has commented, "What's happening with you?" It's a relief to read this blog and everyone's wonderful comments and know that I'm not alone on this journey! My mother had her hysterectomy at age 54, and her Change didn't happen until after that. HER mother had HER hysterectomy at age 76 (to remove cancerous ovaries), and she had already gone through The Change at that point. So I can't really go by what my mom and grandmother went through.

However, Mom says that DAD's mother had terrible night sweats (she always slept naked, which as a young kid, I thought was pretty gross, but now I understand!). So maybe I'll be more like Dad's mom. Time will tell how this all pans out. Great blog!!! Report
A friend of mine showed me an article that said Vitamin E can help with hot flashes, so since I knew it was good for your heart and skin anyway, I started taking it. It has worked very well for me. Report
Great Blog. I don't know if I am premenopausal or not, but starting to notice a couple things. But I do have fibromylagia and that can create fogginess too. But, I think I am heading this direction. I am 48. Let the games begin! Lucky me! LOL Report
I'm 47 and had my worst insomnia when I was 40. Six months, literally, of 3 hours of sleep a night. After that things settled down and I only have have occasional bouts of it, almost always in the week before my period. I have some mild perimenopausal symptoms (the odd hotflash, periodic...um...irregular periods, painful ovulation) but the only one that ever dorve me to the doctor was the heart palpitations. What I find astonishing is that, based on what I've read here, they are a fairly common perimenopausal symptom and my doctor clearly did not know this. I spent 24 hours with a heart monitor strapped to me, during which time I had not a single palpitation, and was told that my heart is perfectly healthy. This was, of course, good news but he completely glossed over my insistence that I was experiencing them.

I remember during one of my emotional roller-coaster rides that I turned to my husband and said "you have no idea what I am going through" his reply was a very definite "OH YES I DO". I had to laugh when I realized I wasn't going through this on my own...he sure got a dose of my moods. Lucky guy! Report
Yes, I know the feeling. I am on the other side of "The Change" and certain things still have not settled down. I still toss the covers off occasionally, and have trouble sleeping. The moodiness has settled down. The drs check bone scan for any loss (so far OK). So I feel greatful it wasn't worse. Good luck yourself. Report
Oh how I can relate to all of this ! I'll be 60 in September, and have had a very easy time of it...I remember when the hot flashes started - what a surprise ! Living in Buffalo, I really looked forward to them from time to time !! I still have them when I drink red wine...that's about the only time though...I was very fortunate that I didn't experience wild mood changes (although don't ask my husband about that...), but I DID become much more assertive - a good change for me. I found that I was far less tolerant of stupidity...in fact, I quit my job after about a year into menopause ! I couldn't be happier at this point in my life...just want you "youngsters" out there to know that it's not all bad ! I agree that keeping your sense of humor is paramount...good luck to everyone !! Report
I like to think of hot flashes as power surges, a great reminder that I was coming into my own voice and authority. Now as I sit here feeling a little chilled today, I wish I could conjur one up. LOL Report
I had a hysterectomy in 1999 at 37 yrs old. I think I have been going through the change since then. The hot flashes are worse than what i thought they would be, my husband laughs at me when i am throwing off the covers or whatever clothes i dare to discard at the moment. I tend to dress in layers, when the rest of my family is turning up the heat because they are cold, i am taking off another layer. Report
Nancy - Just wait - it's an ongoing process. A couple of years ago - I got this hot, sick to my stomach feeling that lasted about 10 -20 minutes while shopping in this one discount store - then a few more - then they went "away". Low and behold next time I shopped in that same store I got that feeling again - drank some soy milk for a while and no more hot flashes. It happened one or two more times - enough that I was beginning to think "That store" brought on my hot flashes - but I've been back and no more flashes. In fact - since I've lost weight I'm cold all the time - my aide (I'm a spec. ed teacher) has them regularly - she's got the window open and I'm wearing 3 layers including a sweater, and still feel cold at times. But keep with the soy products all I've read and the few times I dealt with it, the Silk chocolate soy milk really helped. Report
WOW!! Thanks for the article. I think I might be on the verge of perimenopause. I have just started having some minor flashes. Just out of the clear blue I will get hot. My sleep is also off. I can go to bed and lay there for hours without falling asleep. I am 47 and have never had children. I wonder-is menopause going to be easier for me or worse? I guess time will tell. This is great to have a place to discuss the the wonderful world of menopause!!!!!!!!!! Report
I had a hot flash reading this. :-) I've been having them for a little over a year now & am fervently hoping that they taper off soon. I quit caffeine because my chronic insomnia (which is usually minimized by a low dose of Amitriptyline) got worse for a while--I do miss my black tea these days, though I still enjoy some wonderful herbal varieties.

The hot flashes often correlate with moments of stress or busyness for me. I had none at all last June while I was away from home at a writers' workshop that was really wonderful--but after I came home they started right back up. I find it amusing to have hot flashes while I'm out in the cold this winter, walking to & from the train station. Suddenly the frigid weather becomes very pleasant!

I don't think menopause has made my mind foggier . . . I have always tended to be absent-minded, so I can't blame that on The Change. I haven't had a period since November 2007. Report
After I had my daughter in 1987, I had my tubes tied.. I was 25 years old then, and I started having some hot flashes then, and irregular periods, but I'm still having them and I'm 46 now..( the month visits, that is) lol...I'm looking forward to menopause. NO more monthly visitor!!!! LOL Report
I'm currently going through menopause and have been experiencing hot flashes regularly. It will be 1 full year without a period next week. I can certainly live without the hot flashes, and I've reduced my caffeine intake to see if that will help minimize them, but it's great not getting a period. It certainly helps a great deal with my working out as I don't have to deal with the cycling difficulties. Emotionally, I'm actually on a much more even keel than I was for the last 3-5 years prior.

As with everything, we can choose to look at the negatives or we can find the good, which is what I've chosen. Report
LOVED this blog.....Thanks Report
I started wit heart palpitations and insomnia. My doctor tried to put me on anti depressants, because she said I would need them. I rejected that notion, so they put me on sleep meds instead. BAD IDEA! I found I couldn't sleep without them and they made me more lethargic( as if that was even possible). Around that same time they found a tumor, my doctor believed it was on my ovary. After a trans-vaginal and ultrasound the tumors were on the outside of the uterus. To add even more "FUN" to the perimenopausal symptoms I began to bleed heavily; EVERY DAY. I would go through a large pad in 15 minutes. This would continue on for days. I found a gyno who said I was anemic with high blood pressure. (the reading was 180 / 160) She would not consider any procedure or surgery until I brought my iron levels up and my blood pressure down. I found a general praticioner who I liked better and I told her I wanted no more meds that I wanted to get my blood pressure down normally. It took me 3 months, through diet and exercise. The anemia went away when they put me on adifferent birth control, but it went on for 10 days and I would still experience very heavy periods to the point I couldn't leave the house. :( To make a long story short, I tried a procedure to stop the bleeding called cyroblation, but the bleeding continued until I was anemic again. My blood cell count was a 7 and should have been 14. So now I have had an injection that will shut down my reproductive symptons for aprox. 3 months, long enough for them to complete a supracervical laprascopic hysterectomy. It has been a wild ride....I had to leave my job because I couldn't work around the long hours, 12 hour days including weekends. I feel guilty, but I also felt like I had no choice...i'm not good to anyone, even my family if I'm not well. So here I am. At first misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer, only to find the tumors non-cancerous (Thank God). I haven't had the hot flashes yet. I guess God is saving the best for last. Thanks for listening

Sylvia Report
We are talking about this alot on one of my teams and I am going to share the link to this blog with the ladies! Some of us are peri and others are full blown, but we are all suffering together! I hate the foggy mindedness the most! I am blind and depend on my memory more than most people and this loss of it has been quite the struggle for me! I haven't had hot flashes yet, but have had heart palptations, memory problems and insomnia! I accept the change as inevitable, but really was unaware of the memory problems... This is truly upsetting to me! The worst part is that it can go on for 10 years! Yikes! Does soy help? Please tell us more! Thanks! Report
I'm 38 and I think I got my first night sweats at the ripe old age of 32! I wasn't even thinking menopause, or perimenopause, believe me. I think maybe once, or twice, the notion crossed my mind, and I dismissed it, because I was "too young."

My oldest sister brought me up to speed when she finally asked me whether I was having any symptoms around age 36 or 37. I didn't know what the symptoms were, really, until she ran down a list with me, and told me she'd gone through it herself, and had stopped menstruating at age 40.

The thing is, it's genetically predisposed to happen at around the same ages your mother or older siblings get it. Since my mother, and all my grandparents have passed on, there was no one else giving any of us a "heads up" that this was going to happen early in our lives.

It explains a lot. Why I can literally go from one room to the next to do something, and forget within seconds why I was doing so. Why I was so emotionally all over the map, I was sometimes crying in my classes. Or getting mad or irritated at the seeming smallest things.

It's still really strange, being this way so young, and knowing that I probably won't have kids that I give birth to, anyway. I think I would have liked to have this happen later, just so I could have a chance to experience the ending of my fertility, after having had the blessing of having a child. But raging against it would be useless, and frankly, take too much energy that I don't have (since my sleep patterns are disturbed by it anyway).

I think what else bothers me is that people don't believe that's what I have. People have said that I look young for my age, and I think that makes them discredit me, and my assertion that I'm going through perimenopause. I got a test done at the local health center, and some fresh-faced assistant (not the doctor) called and told me I was not "post-menopausal." Well, duh! I could've told her that. I have my period every month, almost like clockwork...with a couple more thrown in for good measure sometimes! I was so distraught that I didn't even bother following up, because I felt like I would just be told the test was inconclusive, and I just really needed answers.

So I don't have a piece of paper with answers; I have soaked bedsheets, grouchy emotions, disturbed sleep, a weird cycle and a flaky memory instead. I think those are all the answers I need. Now if I could just get some respect-! Report
I went through this period when I was 48 ish to 51ish. I was having heavier periods, I was moody (angry/crying) but the kicker was the night sweats. I'd be hot, I'd be freezing. I have to give it up for my DH who looked on with confusion, but patience. So much else was going on, that it was part of "life", I thought. (I'm not very in tune with myself). Fo the last 2 years I've had a period in May. That's right, 1 period a year, and both in May. I'm waiting to see what this May brings....I'm hoping it's just "flowers". Report
I too am starting the journey and it sounds like we are similar in age. I have had heart palpatations for awhile and had to modify my caffeine intake as a result. Hot flashes are unbelievable....I had so many in December I barely felt the cold! Apparently I am a little testy as well...or so my family tells me!!
The good news is this change is what brought me back to sparkpeople. I knew that the extra weight I was carrying was only going to make my journey more difficult so I was and am determined to set myself up for the easiest transition I can possibly have. Report
I started experiencing this symptoms in my 20's when I had my tubaligation. I am now 51 and still having a few and the periods are still coming strong but spiratic so I never real sure from day to the next if it will start. I use to take the estroven when it first came out and it really did help but stopped when I started gaining weight but I am sure they were not the cause and some day I will take them again I am sure. I have been menstruating for 41 years now and I think that is about enough and am ready for the full change which by the way they say once it is started can take up to 5 years to complete. They say if you go a year with no periods you should be there. I went 6 months and got all excited and then they started back monthly. Report
Too funny 2009Get In Line (post #88). I think you've pinned it down!
I have been "post" menopausal for several years now, but my husband swears that the sudden warm, flushed cheeks accompanied by sweating is still hot flashes. And after reading these posts, I am inclined to agree with him! But when does it end?! I am 58 and know I started this early or at least mid 40's.
Oh, and I have a perfect comforter on the bed whose cover stays cold, so I move my bare legs around it to keep them cool until I suddenly feel too cool and have to cover up again. Report
gosh I forgot to write that black cohosh seemed to do a world of wonders for me........was on the hormone therapy till the new findings that it could do more harm than good(heart attack..cancer) I already have that in the family tree so didn't want to take my chances Report
I SUSPECT that it was a man that wrote any book describing the "warmth" as a hot flash! For me it was heat SURGES and I was totally stupid as to what it really was.....just thought my thyroid medicine needed to be revamped..........then I was a Jeckyle and Hyde character.....still get some flushes now at times and going on 8 years since my last period.....somehow I was thinking at the onset that it was not a good exchange....no periods replaced with heat surges....yuk! Report
I am 53 and this started for me at about 45. I had extreme hot flashes about 30 a day. I went to the health food store and found out what I could take, and started on Estroven (I do get it at the grocery store as it's cheaper) which has black cohash in it. I also have suffered with extreme insomnia. I tried melatonin and valerian root for that. I fot over the hot flashes a couple of years ago. I still have insomnia. No period for 4 years!!!! Report
I am 43 and started to experience perimenopausal symptoms about two years ago. My cycles, which were always regular, started becoming a little more erratic and I am now skipping periods. I think the only symptom I haven't experienced yet is a hot flash - I'm sure that particular pleasure will be coming some point soon. But, the insomnia, heart palpitations and anger have been the worst for me. I have recently started taking Estroven and using natural progesterone cream. I have also changed my diet and am working out more. Hopefully, something will work soon! Report
For me, I found that Flush-free Niacin helps. I take 1 in the am and 1 in the pm. Also believe a "good amount" of exercise helps alot, and of course, healthy nutrition. Hang in there everyone! Report
I'm 58 and was lucky to have experienced the change without many problems. No more periods at vacation time or Girl Guide camping trips!! I've gained weight, however. But I enjoy exercise classes, especially Zumba class. Report
I only had what I called "warmths", not like my mother's HOT Flashes, but it interupted a good night's sleep. Sometimes the wrong word or number or name would come out of my mouth. It was very strange. I had heard about soy products, and started drinking soy milk and eating other soy products. These were very helpful for me and my gynecologist was very supportive and helped with the use of other herbal supplements. Report
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