Tag Archives: short cycle

Another year of Peri

When my periods first started to change back in 2012 when I was 44 and I realized I had probably started peri-menopause, I wanted to know about other women’s experiences.  There were legions of horror stories online, very little about the positive and hardly any actual hard data.  “It’s different for everyone” was a common theme, which is all well and good but I still wanted to know what was physically happening to other women to give me some companionship in my own journey through The Change.

Being as though I didn’t find a single story which tracked progression through peri-menopause I thought I’d track my own, so began compiling data on my menstrual cycle.  I’ve been a regular 27/28 day cycle person my entire life but in 2012 my cycle length started to subtly change and I initially experienced slightly longer cycles than usual.

MC2012

In 2013 things went totally haywire.  As you can see from the chart below I basically had alternating long and short cycles, with a couple of very short cycles (for me at any rate).  I had my first daytime hot flush this year, but only the one, and no other real symptoms.  I did have my hormones tested and they came back as “normal” which isn’t at all unusual in the early stages of peri-menopause.

MC2013

In 2014 my cycles were still abnormal, but not quite as erratic as the year before.  Again, no other symptoms of peri-menopause that I could put my finger on.

MC2014

The start of 2015 saw my cycles even out, only to become erratic again in the second half of the year.  I also saw a couple of symptoms appear – vaginal dryness around my period, which doesn’t half make your ladygarden itch and is well uncomfortable as your undies rub against your bits, and changes in my mood.  I had sudden and inexplicable rages which were absolutely overwhelming.  Having never suffered from PMT I found being so out of control of my emotions really difficult, though thankfully the emotional hooha only usually lasted a day or two around my period.

mc2015

I already have a full chart for 2016 even though it’s only October because my cycle lengths have shortened so I’ve fitted in 12 periods over only 10 months.  Despite the change in length my cycles have been fairly stable, apart from one very short cycle in August.  I’ve continued to have vaginal dryness and mood changes, but not felt the dreadful rage episodes I had last year – I still have a short fuse at certain times in the month but have been able to control it.  I’ve also had some really weepy episodes and feelings of being unable to cope, usually in the few days before my period starts.

mc2016

From everything I’ve read about peri-menopause, in the early stages your cycles shorten then get much longer as you finally approach Menopause.  However, the very first sign for me that I’d started the change was a slight lengthening of my cycle, and only after a full year of that did my cycles start to get shorter.

The table below summarizes the changes in my cycle length and as you can see I still appear to be in the “shorter cycle” phase:

menotableAccording to the research online, this means I’m still in the early-mid stage of Peri-menopause after 5 years!  You can see from the table that I’m progressing, but it’s painfully slow.  As you all know, because of my horrendously painful endo and adeno I’m desperate for my periods to stop but it’s still looking like a very long way off.  Somebody shoot me.

Probably because I’m still in the “early stages” I’ve not had any really troublesome symptoms and so far only had two hot flushes, though I’m assured these will increase during my final Menopause year.  I do have awful night sweats, but have had these for well over a decade so I’m not convinced they’re particularly menopause related.  Due to everything else that’s wrong with me, it’s impossible to tell if I’m more tired than usual and being as though I’ve had insomnia for 20+ years I have no idea if this has been made worse due to changes in my hormones.

With regards to bleeding, I’ve never had long bleeds – usually 3 days, followed by a couple of days of spotting – and this hasn’t changed.  I am more clotty but other than that no flooding.

So, that’s where I’m currently at.  At 49, and after 5 years of hormone changes, I honestly thought I’d be a bit further along in the process but it’s looking like I’m going to be one of those women who take 10 years to finally reach Menopause.  Bugger.  I know risks of things like osteoporosis (for which I have a very strong family history) and heart disease increase after menopause and most women want to stave it off as long as possible, but due to my horrendously painful periods I can’t wait for the 4 weekly torture to be over with.  I started my periods at the age of 11 and after 38 years of mess, pain, nausea, insomnia, diarrhea, migraines and exhaustion I’m soooooo over the whole thing.

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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!