Tag Archives: perimenopause

You’re Fired!

I am as grumpy as a bear with a thorn in its arse.  I started my periods at the age of 11 and am now in my fifties, yet does The Curse show any signs of gasping its last breath?  That would be a big, fat, no.  I’ve read all the blurb online about Menopause and every article states that it happens at the average age of 51, but my body clearly hasn’t got the fucking memo.  I’ve had 40 years of cramps, backache, migraines, sore boobs, insomnia, nausea and painful bowel movements and I have had about as much as I can take.  Both my oestrogen and my progesterone need to jog the fuck on and leave me to my old age.

I can’t believe that not only are my periods not stopping, they’re getting ever more frequent.  In fact, Aunt Flo has just been back for a visit only 9 days after she last left the building and she didn’t come alone.  Oh no.  She brought with her Migraine-The-Torturer and his hanger-on Nausea, The Munchies who moaned there were no Star Burst in the house and made me drive 14 miles to buy some, and my old friend Back Pain who still thinks it’s hilarious to keep me awake half the night in agony.  My exhausted ovaries have served them all with an Eviction notice but they’re not playing ball (although it feels like someone’s playing ball with my bladder, the amount of peeing I’m doing!).

There is one person who has vacated the premises, however.  Energy.  Yup, he deserted me months ago and only flits back now and again to have his washing done before packing his bags and sodding off back to Siberia.  Traitor!  I hope he gets frostbite or eaten by Cossacks.

I’ve worked out that in the last 40 years I’ve spent at least £2,400 on sanitary products and what has my Uterus given me in return?  Agonizing, fiery pain that’s what.  I could have gone on a cruise with that cash.

Hormones you’re fired, and if you don’t vacate the building soon I’ll have security escort you off the premises!

 

 

 

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Carry on Matron

My peri-menopause has definitely ramped up a few gears this year (OMG, when is it going to end?!).  I’m getting some of the more common symptoms like dizziness, insomnia, emotional ups and downs and itchy skin but also things which aren’t much talked about, like what’s happening to my breasts.

When I was in my early twenties I wasn’t exactly well endowed, wearing a 30C bra size.  I referred to them as fried eggs cos that’s just what they looked like – they were quite round but didn’t stick out very far, which was fine by me.  I was a size 8 (US size 4), am 5ft 2″ and weighed about 7½ stones (105lbs) so they were in proportion to my small frame.

Fast forward to my early forties, by which time I’d been unable to exercise for 15 years.  Inevitably my body shape had changed and I’d gained weight, now wearing a size 10 (US size 6) and weighing 8½ stones (120lbs).  My boobs had also increased in size to a stupendous 30DD and I was into the realm of having to wear supportive (code for fucking uncomfortable) bras, with straps an inch wide and underwires so painful they were like a form of torture.  Thank God the Belvia bra was finally invented without which I fear I would just have let the puppies run free 😉

Ten years on, and in my fiftieth year, my boobs seem to have taken on a life of their own.  Pre-perimenopause I’d ovulate mid cycle, my breasts would swell and be achy and sore, I’d have my period and they’d go back to normal.  Not any more.  Oh no.  They swell and are achy and sore, I have my period, and they fucking stay swollen achy and sore.  I have what feels like two water melons on my chest which disappear under my armpits making waving impossible.

So I Google “peri-menopause + larger breasts” and discover, to my horror, that 1 in 5 women during their Menopause years get significantly bigger boobs.  OM-flippin-G.  At 5ft I don’t need to be bigger than a DD and simply can’t imagine having to wear bras to fit an E, or god forbid, EE or F cup.  Gravity would pull me over and I’d end up flat on my face 😉  And if that weren’t bad enough breasts also start to sag in middle age, in some women up to 4″.   When my floppy boobs meet my spare tire my belly button might disappear forever.

“Quit moaning” I hear you cry, “women pay good money for big boobs” and I’m sure they’d look fabulous if they sat above a flat stomach, lean thighs and a perky arse.  But they don’t look quite so alluring sat above back fat, a muffin top and a tummy so swollen I look five months pregnant.  No-sir-eee-bob.  My scales no longer say 8 stone something they say 9 stone something and my size 10 clothes have been at the back of the wardrobe for so long they’ve been eaten by moths.

This peri-menopause malarkey is a right old carry on.  I started off as Barbera Windsor and have ended up as Hatty Jacques.  Ooo err Matron 😀

 

 

 

Peri-menopause update

This post isn’t meant to be whiney because I personally feel menopause is a natural event and just something we women have to get through.  That being said, I write about it because it‘s still challenging and I personally trawl the message boards looking for other women having the same symptoms as me so that I know what I’m experiencing is ‘normal’.  Well, as normal as you can get when you live with 4 other diseases (I’m now counting my Endometriosis and Adenomyosis as a disease in its own right, because I suffer from the symptoms every day of my life).

My menstrual cycle starting changing in 2012.  I’ve always been regular as clockwork, sometimes down to the hour, with a 27/28 day cycle but in 2012 this shifted slightly and for the first time in my life I experienced 30 day cycles, and 26 day cycles, and everything in between.  As the years have ticked by my cycles have been consistently longer, or consistently shorter and this month I’ve had my shortest one to date at 19 days.  It’s come as a bit of a shock because my vision of peri-menopause was that my cycles would get longer and longer and then just peter out but the reality is that my cycles have been all over the place, and on the whole shorter than usual not longer.  This apparently happens in the first two phases of perimenopause and only in the latter two stages does the cycle lengthen.

Other than my cycles being a bit nuts I’ve had virtually no other symptoms.  I can count my hot flushes on one hand, though I’m sure these will increase the further along the line I get, and I’ve noticed no worsening of my pre-existing insomnia.  In fact I sometimes think my deep sleep has improved.

I do get night sweats.  Well they’re not sweats as such, I just feel like my legs are on fire.  By 9pm every night it’s like someone’s flicked a switch and my legs are boiling hot and jumpy.  However, I’ve had restless legs my whole life so this isn’t new to me and the hot leg thing has been happening for about a decade now so whether it’s caused by my pre-existing illnesses or part of my hormonal changes I’ll never know.

I’ve luckily never suffered from PMT.  I can have a short fuse, or be a bit weepy, around my period but nothing that has ever interfered with my life and at the moment this hasn’t altered.  I have had two or three massive meltdowns in the past 3 years which are totally out of character for me, but these could be as a result of my own stressful health situation and having to adjust to caring for my parents every bit as much as they could be down to the perimenopause.  There have definitely been times, though, where I’ve been snappier than usual and felt boiling rage for no particular reason which is definitely hormone related.

Bleeding-wise my periods are heavier.  They don’t last any longer, but the flow has increased and is much more clotty than it used to be.  I usually have a break from bleeding after day 3, only for it to return on days 5 or 6 which isn’t usual for me though from what I read is normal for perimenopause.

My menstrual migraines have definitely increased this year which is a bummer.  I can only pray I’m not in for too rocky a road in that direction over the coming years as my hormones surge, crash and finally burn.

Many women complain of increased joint pain and muscle weakness during this time of their lives and I’ve had my fair share of both.  I feel like I’ve turned into a pensioner overnight and do the whole “oomf” thing every time I get out of the chair 😉  I can still crouch down to get something out of a drawer but genuinely struggle to get back up again. Whether this is an EDS thing or a hormone thing, or a combination of both, is impossible to know.  I’m 48 going on 78!

This month my short period has hit me hard in the exhaustion stakes.  I took Bertie out Saturday morning, came back at 11am and had to go back to bed where I slept until 1pm.  This was repeated on Sunday, and both times after I’d woken back up I felt like I’d been hit by a truck and was useless for the rest of the day.  This morning I’ve woken feeling just as weak and knackered but I’ve got too much on to be able to snooze the day away.  In my 22 years of having M.E. I’ve never been able to sleep during the day, even when I’ve only had 1 hours sleep at night, so this daylight kipping is totally new to me and makes me feel like crap.  As I’m typing this I feel like someone’s slipped me a couple of Valium and my brain feels so foggy I simply want to lay my head down and sink into oblivion!

Perimenopause is supposed to last between 1 and 10 years, though most doctors wrongly tell you it will last 2 years and you’ll be done (I wish!).  This is year 4 for me and it feels like very little is changing – my periods are continuing on their up down up down course and not really moving on.  So far the experience isn’t at all like I expected and is better than the horror stories I’ve read online.  Or it could be that I simply cope with the changes in my body better than healthy women as I’m used to feeling rubbish all the time anyway.  Maybe I’m in for a rude awakening in the next couple of years as the whole thing goes belly up but I hope, just for once, I’ll catch a break – I think I deserve that at least!

More On Hormones

As I’ve mentioned before, I am nearly 46 and think I have started the peri-menopause (blood tests are inconclusive, but apparently this is common as hormones fluctuate so wildly during this time).  Having looked online at the symptoms I’m yet again staggered at the similarities between this and the other conditions from which I suffer.  Peri-menopause (and full menopause) can cause:

  • palpitations
  • flushing
  • itching
  • nausea/GI problems/reflux
  • dizziness/vertigo
  • insomnia
  • night sweats
  • fatigue
  • confusion/brain fog/memory loss
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • muscle and joint pain
  • new/increased allergies
  • and a host of other undesirables

MCAD can also cause all of the above, as can a combination of ME, dysautonomia/POTS and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  I pity the poor doctor who has to try and unravel my symptoms: which are transitory and which are not; which will respond to anti-histamines and which won’t; which would respond to hormone therapy and which would not (not that I can take HRT due to my MCAD!); and which I just have to live with.

The weird nose thing which started a few weeks ago turned out not to just be a virus.  My cold is now on its way out and the prickly nose and running mucus carry on unabated.  Super!  I also have the worst case of itchy skin I’ve ever had in my life – it feels like someone is tickling my entire face, scalp and body with tiny feathers.  I can’t help but scratch, which brings on my Dermographism, so then I’m covered in red welts and look like I’ve been dragged through a thorny hedge backwards!  I’ve switched my washing powder to Fairy non-bio but it hasn’t helped.  Other than that, nothing in my life has changed so I’ve no idea why I’m suddenly itching and suffering from hay-fever like symptoms.  My heart is also performing all sorts of acrobatics, flip-flopping all over the place and doing random huge beats that surely can’t be good for me.  Could it just be my changing hormones?  Am I having an MCAD flare-up?  Have I developed some new allergy?  Heaven alone knows because I surely don’t!

Unhinged

Which is exactly what my jaw has become apparently!  I went to bed one night absolutely fine about 10 days ago and woke up unable to chew anything on my right hand side.  The jaw joint doesn’t click or pop, it’s just really really painful and the pain goes up the side of my head and into my ear.  Super.

Made an appointment to see my Dentist yesterday thinking that I’d have to wear some kind of brace or retainer while I’m sleeping to keep the jaw joint in place.  But he doesn’t think this will help.  Most people with jaw problems develop them because they grind their teeth in the night and cause wear and tear arthritis on the jaw joint – gum shields help keep the mouth slightly open to stop the teeth from grinding.  But in my case the ligaments holding my jaw in place are lax which is making my jaw joint move, hence the pain.  A gum shield, he didn’t think, would make one iota of difference although he said we could try it as an experiment (which would cost me £50).  I think I’ll leave that for now as I’m stony broke.

The only thing he could suggest is resting the jaw as much as possible and only eating soft foods on the left side of my mouth, which is what I’ve been doing in any event.  If I could take drugs he’d suggest some anti-inflammatories and maybe a muscle relaxant for the spasm, but as I can’t I have to try rubbing some Ibuleve gel into the joint every 4 hours to try and calm any inflammation.  He hopes I’ve just sprained the ligament and it will settle down in a week or two.  Me too, because with chewing everything on the left side of my mouth my left jaw joint is now starting to hurt!

I currently feel like I am falling apart in spectacular fashion.  My hormones (and emotions) are all over the place – had a blood test to check for perimenopause last week but don’t expect it to show anything as it’s early days.  My back hurts me every second of the day and I can no longer find even one comfortable position in bed consequently I don’t sleep (don’t let’s talk about sitting and standing which have been an issue for years).  My fingers are falling apart.  My pelvis is shot.  My gums are receding.  My stomach is painful 24/7 and I have constant nausea. My uterus and bladder area is inflamed all the time, causing awful period-like pain and a need to pee a dozen times a day (and during the night).  The floaters in my eyes are so severe they interfere with reading and driving and drive me absolutely bonkers.  And to cap it all what little energy I ever possessed has bogged off too (I hope it’s in the Caribbean  and eventually comes back all tanned and refreshed from its holiday 😉 ).

My mast cells also seem to be having some kind of dicky fit.  I keep having what look like blistery bug bites all over my body, which itch like crazy.  Maybe they are bug bites, but I get them when I’m covered from head to toe so how do bugs get through jeans and wellies, or jumpers and anoraks and bite me under my bra?!  Then a couple of weeks ago a whole new and peculiar nose issue began.  My nose is inflamed and prickly, but with no itching, no feeling of being blocked and no running.  Occasionally I’ll have a massive sneezing fit for no good reason, but once it’s over my nose isn’t runny or blocked or itchy………..just inflamed and prickly.  I bought an air purifier for my bedroom, thinking I had developed an allergy to my dog, but it has made not one iota of difference.  My brain fog is also dire and my eyes constantly dry and sore. There’s something afoot, I just don’t know what.

I currently wake up in the mornings wondering what life is all about.  Am I depressed?  Probably.  Do I swing between crying and wanting to end it all, to telling myself to get a grip andPhoto of my dog stop being such a bloody whimp?  Absolutely.  My life currently feels like a pile of shite with no redeeming features and, if I’m being honest, that’s probably a fairly accurate description.  The only thing that keeps me going is my little dog, the fact that my parents are elderly and can’t manage without me, and the thought that some day the man of my dreams will come looking for me on his white charger brandishing a winning Euromillions lottery ticket.  You can add ‘delusional’ to my list of ailments 😉 .