This is a rant. This is about the hellish transitional period a woman goes through between being fertile and menopause. It’s called perimenopause and I didn’t hear of it until I turned 47. It’s like a particularly evil right-of-passage that women go through to say, “Have a baby, now or never! In the meantime, your body is going to be one whacked-out mess of hormones where NOTHING will act as it once did.”
I’ve been dealing with perimenopause for almost a year and it sucks. You want to know what’s worse? Perimenopause lasts between 4 months and 10 YEARS (on average). Yes, I said “years.” That isn’t a joke and this isn’t a laughing matter.
The reason I didn’t hear about this from my mom is the fact that she had a hysterectomy after “bleeding every day for a year” and never dealt with it. She had her own brand of hell to walk through.
You want to know what some of the symptoms of perimenopause are? These are the ones I’ve personally experienced:
• Heat flashes
• Night sweats
• Dry skin
• Irregular periods (We’re talking 16 to 36 day periods, randomly.)
• Morning poop explosions (Like spending an hour on the toilet 2-3 times a week in the morning while your butt goes through the equivalent of dry heaves. I literally need to make all my appointments for the afternoon now because I never know when my body is going to act up on any given morning.)
• Mood swings (Crying at commercials, laughing at unfunny things, general moodiness—oh, you think you [or your loved one is] are being moody now? You ain’t seen nothing yet.)
Some I haven’t experienced but was told about:
• Tender boobs
• Urine leakage (laughing, coughing, sneezing, living)
• Increased PMS symptoms
• More that I can’t remember or don’t know of because bodies are all different
Remember… these symptoms, on average, last between 4 months and 10 YEARS.
You wanna know who has or is dealing with this in your life? Mention the word “perimenopause” to any group of women and see who makes a face and that “ugh” noise.
You wanna know how you might be able to treat this? Birth control pills. Not to keep you from having kids, but a low dose to try to regulate your hormones. But birth control pills come with their own set of problems. Between side effects, political talking points, and religious I-know-what’s-right assholes, that’s something I don’t even want to think about.
Why don’t more women talk about perimenopause? We know all about men and their erectile dysfunction AKA the much more polite and less embarrassing “ED.” No, women have to talk around the bullshit happening to their body because it’s too embarrassing, it’s “TMI.” It’s not polite.
This is something almost all women have to go through. I’m tired of it being a secret rite-of-passage for older women who are already facing enough discrimination in health care. Thank goodness my doctor is plain spoken and blunt about what’s happening to me. It sucks and I wish I’d known sooner this was going to happen to me. There’s no real physical way to prepare for it, but there are mental ways.
And knowing is half the battle.