Tag Archives: shorter cycles

The never ending Peri

When my periods first started to change back in 2012 at the age of 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.   However, I found nothing online so started keeping a chart on my cycle length as well as notes on my symptoms and I now have another 12 months worth of data to share with you.

I’ll start off with my first chart.  I’d 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.  The red line indicates 28 days – click on each chart for a larger view.

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 FSH level tested and it came back as “normal” which isn’t at all unusual in the early stages of peri-menopause.  However, it was in this year that my previously unknown mast cell disease exploded and I was very unwell.

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.  By now I’d started on a low histamine diet and thankfully had stopped passing out every time I ate.  Many of my other MCAS symptoms remained, however, and continue to this day.

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 hooha only usually lasted a day or two around my period.

mc2015


In 2016 I continued to have vaginal dryness and mood changes, but the dreadful rages I felt in 2015 thankfully disappeared.  I did still have a short fuse at certain times in the month but it was nothing I couldn’t control.  I also had some really weepy episodes, usually in the few days before my period started and by the end of the year was starting to feel quite overwhelmed.  As someone who usually has very stable moods this was unusual for me.  I didn’t know how much was down to the perimenopause and how much was down to what was going on in my personal life, ie the situations with my parents and my Mum’s drinking, so decided to see a therapist to help me work through it.  Three months later and I was feeling much calmer, so you really shouldn’t put everything down to your hormones!

mc2016


In 2017 my periods became even more erratic.  My moods had fairly much evened out, though, and I was back to feeling more like myself despite episodes of anxiety for no apparent reason which is fairly common in peri-menopause.  I still hadn’t had any hot flushes, though my sleep was definitely affected and there were times I struggled with insomnia.  I did have some wicked skipped heartbeats and palpitations, though, and in the end had this checked out by wearing a 24 hour holter monitor and it show up on the trace but was put down to peri-menopause and not any kind of heart issue.  My migraines around ovulation and menstruation definitely became worse and could last for days which was crippling.  My energy levels took a nosedive and my brain fog some days was dreadful, however this may have be due to the fact that I was borderline anaemic rather than being solely down to my hormones.  Two other symptoms I noticed this year were weight gain and very painful, itchy breasts which were checked out via mammogram and were thankfully fine.


In late 2017 I started taking iron supplements for my low ferritin levels and my insomnia and exhaustion improved.  In fact, my sleep during 2018 was the best it’s been in 25 years for which I am grateful beyond words.  I continued to struggle with weight gain despite eating the same amount of food, though I did have the rampant munchies and know I ate more sweets and crisps than I should have 😉  I still didn’t have any hot flushes, however I had some very scary episodes of feeling like was having a stroke which I put down to vasomotor issues – about 5 in one year, which doesn’t sound a lot but they frightened the life out of me.   My skin was becoming much drier and I developed jowls on my face – I now avoid mirrors first thing in a morning because I look like my Nan!


During 2018 and the early part of 2019 the trend for erratic periods has continued (ignore the months on the chart as I no longer have a period every 28 days so the months now don’t tally!).  I had my shortest cycle to date at 12 days and my first missed period and thought “hurrahh, I’m finally going to reach menopause” only for Aunt Flo to continue her visits as usual.  Bugger it.  I have been profoundly tired and often horribly brain fogged and confused again in the last year and really should get my iron levels re-checked – the more tired I am the less well I can cook and then I don’t eat as much iron-rich food as I should.  My migraines have also been the worst in years, which is so disappointing as they had settled down quite well since going on a low histamine diet.  My weight seems to have stabilized even though I’m now 10lbs heavier than I’d like to be, but I do have to be careful what I eat and certainly can’t eat the portion sizes I always have.  I’ve had a few more of the stroke-like attacks, which I still think are hot flushes in disguise, and am definitely hotter in general than I used to be particularly first thing in a morning.  My skin is now very dry and my ladygarden is very itchy (though not dry as yet).  In 2019 my joints started to constantly hurt and if I do any kind of activity I tear my ligaments.  However, I’m still sleeping really well most of the time which is the biggest blessing from all this hormone malarkey.

So, my peri-menopause seems to be trundling along at a snail’s pace and, despite the fact I will shortly be 52, there is no sign that my periods are imminently going to end.  I’m having many of the symptoms of peri-menopause, but so far they’re nowhere near as bad as I was expecting and nothing like the horror stories I’ve read about online.  They can be annoying but are manageable and it helps that I know what’s happening and that it will all eventually pass.  Everything that’s happening to me is normal and to be expected – very few women just stop their periods with no symptoms at all and I’m happy for nature to just take its course.  Howwever this all may change as the actual Menopause arrives and I’ll probably end up reaching for the Prozac and the desk fan, but so far so good!

 

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Yet another year of Peri

Even though we’re only half-way through 2017 I already have an entire year’s data on my ever changing menstrual cycle.  That’s because my cycles are now regularly shorter than 28 days, so I’m managing to fit in double the amount of periods than I used to.  Lucky me, especially bearing in mind I have endometriosis and adenomyosis and they are excruciating.

When my periods first started to change back in 2012 at the age of 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 hooha only usually lasted a day or two around my period.

mc2015

In 2016 I continued to have vaginal dryness and mood changes, but the dreadful rages I felt in 2015 thankfully disappeared.  I did still have a short fuse at certain times in the month but it was nothing I couldn’t control.  I also had some really weepy episodes, usually in the few days before my period started and by the end of the year was starting to feel quite overwhelmed.  As someone who usually has very stable moods this was unusual for me.  I didn’t know how much was down to the perimenopause and how much was down to what was going on in my personal life, ie the situations with my parents and my Mum’s drinking, so decided to see a therapist to help me work through it.  Three months later and I was feeling much calmer, so you really shouldn’t put everything down to your hormones!

mc2016

This year as you can see from the chart below, my periods are becoming even more erratic.  I don’t have a clue when The Curse will arrive, which makes planning difficult.  I am grateful my moods have fairly much evened out and I’m back to feeling more like myself, though I have periods of anxiety for no apparent reason which is fairly common for peri-menopause.  I still haven’t had any hot flushes though my sleep has definitely been affected and there are times I struggle with insomnia.  My migraines around ovulation and menstruation have definitely become worse and can last for days which is crippling.  My energy levels have taken a nosedive and my brain fog some days is dreadful, however this may be due to the fact that I am borderline anaemic and now on supplements for my iron levels rather than being solely down to my hormones.  The biggest two things I’ve noticed this year have been weight gain and painful, itchy breasts which have been checked out via mammogram and are fine.

I’m definitely having symptoms of peri-menopause but they’re so far nowhere near as bad as I was expecting and nothing like the horror stories I’ve read about online.  They can be annoying but are manageable and it helps that I know what’s happening and that it will all eventually pass.  Everything that’s happening to me is normal and to be expected – very few women just stop their periods with no symptoms at all and I’m happy for nature to just take its course.  This all may change as the actual Menopause arrives and I may end up eating my words but so far so good!

A full 5 years into peri-menopause and there is absolutely no sign of Aunt Flo packing her bags.  Due to my endo and adeno my monthly cycles are incredibly painful and debilitating, and I have to say I’ve been ready for some considerable time for the monthly torture stop.  So, periods, if you’re listening I am over you – feel free to leave the building!

Weekly roundup

I seem to have had all sorts going on recently, so apologies if I ramble on more than usual in this week’s roundup!  And for those of a squeamish disposition this post talks about my periods, so if you don’t want to know look away now 😉

As I’ve mentioned before, my 10 month hiatus from the peri-menopause seems to be over and my period cycles have become less regular again.  In 2013 they were up and down like a Bride’s nightie, alternating between a short cycle and a longer cycle, but I now appear to just be having the short cycles.  It’s not always drastically short – I’m averaging 26 days – but things are definitely on the move again.  I just want the whole fertility thing over with.  I’ve never wanted kids and 31 years of four weekly sweating, nausea, insomnia, migraines, vomiting, cramping, backache, diahorrea and fatigue is enough for anyone.  However, in order to get to my final destination I just wish the journey wasn’t quite so bloody rough.

Apart from my cycle length I’ve had no other symptoms I can put my finger on (although it’s hard to tell as many peri-menopause symptoms are things I already suffer with), but I think that might be a-changing.  I’ve noticed a definite alteration in my mood particularly in the week before my period: I’m either an emotional wreck or I’m Attila the Hun 😉  I’ve never suffered from PMS, so to be at the emotional mercy of my hormones is weird.  It’s like puberty all over again and I was unimpressed dot com the first time round.

The only other change I’ve noticed is that I’m now getting period pain/cramps up to 4 days before I actually bleed.  My periods have always been horrendously painful and to now have this extended by several days sucks, especially as I can take no form of pain relief.  Having Googled this I’ve found it’s not uncommon and some women report cramping all month but no bleeding – kill me now!  This month’s period is the most bizarre I’ve ever had.  I started with quite bad period pain on Tuesday, which usually means Aunt Flo will arrive within 24 hours.  But she didn’t appear.  The cramps kept coming but still nothing happened.  On Saturday morning I discovered a little trickle and thought “finally, let’s get this thing over with!” but the trickle stayed a trickle then petered out.  Last night (Sunday) I was kept awake nearly all night with excruciating pain, but no bleeding.  Maybe this will turn out to be my first kind’ve “missed” period.  Or maybe the flood gates will open.  I have no idea what to expect.

I’ve gotten nowhere with my complaint about Permanent Health Insurance policies despite contacting the Financial Services Authority, my Insurance company, the Equalities Commission, my MP and HM Treasury.  I also tried contacting the BBC Panorama programme who never got back to me, so I’ve now written to the political correspondent of The Guardian newspaper to see if she will cover the story.  I can’t believe no-one gives a shit that the Government are basically scrapping state sickness benefits but allowing insurance companies to opt out of providing private sickness insurance til retirement!  If you get sick between the ages of 65 and 67 you are going to have NOTHING to live on until you can claim your state pension.

I am fighting no less than 5 battles at the mo:

  • HM Treasury on PHI.
  • Tesco pet insurance after they upped my premium by a whopping 113% because I made a claim.  My complaint is currently with the Financial Ombudsman.
  • Dolphin stairlifts, after they forcefully tried to sell my sick parents stupidly expensive insurance then failed to repair their stairlift.  I’ve made a formal complaint to them which they have so far ignored.
  • Domestic & General Insurance, after they failed to meet the terms of my parents’ appliance insurance.  They are currently looking at my formal complaint and “will get back to me” though to be fair they are so far being very nice.
  • My neighbours, over their incessantly barking dog.  I’ve been complaining to the local Environmental Health Officer now for 3 years but they simply don’t want to prosecute cos they’re skint and it’s expensive.

Then I wonder why I feel stressed some days and my arse is covered in hives 😉

I might have a new lunch recipe for you soon, as well as a blog post on histamine if I ever get time to write it – watch this space!

I’m very much looking forward to the coming week and just hope my weird period doesn’t bugger everything up.  My Camera club takes a 4 month break in the summer and I’ve really missed it!  It’s my only form of social life and I enjoy the challenge of the competitions.  It re-starts this Wednesday, yayy 🙂

The Club also hosts a 9 week workshop for beginners interested in improving their photography skills and I am very proud to announce that I have been asked to take the opening training session on Tuesday.  I have to give a slide presentation and a lecture having never done either before in my life!  I feel like I should be nervous but am just excited 🙂  My only worry is that I’ll be too ill on the day to do it, but have a backup plan in the form of another club member who has a copy of my slides and will take the session if I’m unable (though it will grieve me as I’ve worked for weeks on my slides and don’t want someone else stealing my thunder!).

It is also my 48th birthday this week.  My friend is coming through to see me tomorrow, then on my actual birthday my folks are taking me for Afternoon Tea up the Lakes.  Here’s where we’re going:

And here’s what we’ll be eating, although obviously I won’t be having any wine or strawberries!:

I’m so lucky to live in such a gorgeous area – if only it wasn’t freezing cold and raining 300 days of the year it would be perfect 😉