After almost two years of night sweats I have had to stop pretending I have pneumonia and believe my (young, attractive, definitely unmenopausal) GP that I am in that state known as ‘perimenopause’. I have been in denial as I didn’t even really think it was a thing – and actually spell-check agrees with me, so there!
It’s an unattractive thought – sorry but no matter how much of a feminist I cannot get my head around this and pneumonia really is a more alluring option right now. When she (the young, attractive, definitely unmenopausal GP) first suggested that she take blood to check my hormone levels I almost choked on my Haribos – menopause, moi? I was only 48, just a child surely? Had I not given birth at nearly 43 years old? My levels were all doing just fine thanks! Look at me, I have my own hair (ok – a few greys…disguised cunningly with new blonde highlights), I have my own teeth (yes I lost one eating a soft boiled egg – that happens to everyone right?) wrinkles, dry skin?…I’ve done a lot of laughing (although my seven year old did remark that ‘nothing is THAT funny, mum!’ Cheers kiddo).
The list of perimenopause symptoms is long and really could, if I can be logical here, (#I’m in denial) also be caused by a host of any number of different ailments, mostly tropical diseases. I have only been camping in East Sussex this summer so this maybe a stretch too far I grant you, but you get my point.
Symptoms can include:
- Hot flushes.
- Breast tenderness.
- Worsening of premenstrual syndrome.
- Decreased libido (sex drive).
- Irregular periods.
- Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex.
- Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing.
- Urinary urgency (a pressing need to urinate more frequently).
- Mood swings.
- Difficulty sleeping.
Ok, maybe I hung my hopes too heavily on the whole tropical disease thing, although I’m pretty sure with dengue and malaria that fatigue is an issue and I’m also pretty sure no one has actually checked for vaginal dryness in that situation so we can’t rule them out, apart from the whole camping in East Sussex sitch (having said that, there was a stream and I definitely saw a mosquito, so…….let’s not be too hasty, eh?)
As for difficulty sleeping – well, I have five kids – ’nuff said.
Mood swings – well, I have five kids – ’nuff said!
I had never heard of ‘peri’menopause, I thought peri was a type of cider or the blonde one from Little Mix (see, how can I be that old? I am so down with the kids). I Googled it – obvs – and ‘Peri’, according to Wikipedia, is an exquisite winged fairy-like spirit’ from Persian mythology. I liked this better, however, further reading stated that this spirit was an agent of evil (who said mood swings?) and who would be denied paradise until they have done penance – Well, I have five kids – ’nuff said.
I genuinely thought I was ill when the night sweats started, but I have to now accept that it is what it is – age – and I know, I know that being allowed to get old is a whole lot better than the alternative and I should be grateful ya-de-ya-de-ya but it’s tough, it’s an end to something, an end to youth and fertility and….hold on,
‘Can I get pregnant if I am perimenopausal?
Yes. Despite a decline in fertility during the perimenopause stage, you can still become pregnant. If you do not want to become pregnant, you should continue to use some form of contraception until you are definitely past the menopause (you have gone 12 months without having a period).’
So I have to suffer much more painful periods, thanks to a couple of ‘golf-ball’ sized fibroids, (why is everything either compared to a ball size, a football pitch or an Olympic swimming pool? Although I’m relieved, in this case, that the ball comparison was used!) I have to sweat like a pig (although the smart-arse seven year old informs me ‘pigs don’t sweat’), I have to make sure that a toilet is never more than a cough or sneeze away, there is a chance I may have to invest in some kind of lubricant (does WD40 count? We have the obligatory rusted can under the stairs somewhere….hiding there with my elusive libido no doubt)….and I can STILL get pregnant! Holy shit…..I have five kids, ’nuff said!