Ladies. If you’re born with ovaries you’re destined to go through the – what they call natural – transition where your ovaries stop working like they did during your reproductive years. Your menstrual cycle has been regular for years, it starts getting wonky. However, that’s truly not the only thing you’ll experience. We’re getting into some real talk here today about the perimenopause symptoms nobody’s talking about (along with the few they do talk about).
The Blah, Blah, Blah Symptoms Women Do Share About Perimenopause
Listen, we all know about the blah, blah, blah symptoms all women are talking about when perimenopause hits, right? If you’re new to this, I’ll touch upon them. Briefly, because anyone in your life who has been making that beautiful transition from your reproductive years into menopause, can clue you in on these. These aren’t why you’re here.
They’re real, friends. And yes, they can hit you at any time, even when you’ve managed to toss and turn yourself to sleep. SURPRISE. Hot flash wakes you up, and usually in a puddle of sweat. Sounds delightful, I know. So far, during my perimenopause I haven’t suffered from as many hot flashes as other women suffering through this “most natural transition” from childbearing years to the rest of your life with no uterine walls shedding through your damn vagina.
Weight Gain (in your belly)
The world calls it “meno belly”. I call it annoying and a symptom I could do without. Personally, I worked my ass off to lose weight in my twenties, and then again after I had each of my children. I kept the weight off for 13 years following my son’s birth in November of 2008. I expressed concern about a few strange things happening with my body at my 2022 appointment, and asked about perimenopause and menopause. My gynecologist told me I was far too young to worry about any of that, and to take some medications to handle the weird shit happening to me.
After her gaslighting me, I experienced sudden and rapid 30 pound weight gain. In just six months my waistline grew so fast I couldn’t wear much more than elastic waist leggings. Again, at my 2023 appointment the doctor tried to blame my eating habits. I told her to stuff it, order the bloodwork to check my hormone levels. Guess what? All of my symptoms I had told her about, coupled with the bloodwork results, proved I most definitely have entered perimenopause.
Never let unexplained and rapid weight gain go unchecked. It’s absolutely related to hormone level changes, and could be a sign you’re going through perimenopause.
Between the hot flashes waking you when you finally do drift off to a semi sleep state of mind and the damn hormones levels dropping too low, sleep just isn’t your thing anymore. It sucks. It affects every aspect of your life, too. If your body doesn’t have proper rest periods, the stress levels increase and causes weight gain, along with a super cranky disposition.
Now, I’m cranky in general, as I have constant pain permeating throughout my body all day and every day. Try as I might, my positive mood and energy level are both a struggle to maintain. But normal people who were once a bright ray of sunshine are now, more than likely, not sleeping and their moods are CHANGING!!!! And not for the better. Sleep is essential for a healthy, happy, and beautiful life. NOW is the time to explore how to combat insomnia when your perimenopause starts up.
Perimenopause Symptoms ALL WOMEN Need to Talk About
Now that those common perimenopause symptoms are out of the way, let’s get to the real talk. The sh*t most women aren’t talking about, mostly because they probably aren’t aware it can be attributed to perimenopause! Doctors seem to keep secrets, or gaslight ladies when we bring up some of these issues. I know, personally, I was told I was too young for perimenopause and all of these symptoms were — wait for it — in my head and a result of anxiety. I was BLAMED for creating all of my health problems by a FEMALE gynecologist. Shocking, right? A woman not believing another woman? A fellow female not showing support for another female is basically an epidemic in our world. It isn’t okay, but that’s a whole discussion for another day.
After digging around for months, I found out many of my symptoms were thanks to perimenopause. Instead of keeping this quiet, I’m sharing because I know other women are out there in the world being told it is all in their heads, or it’s anxiety and they are causing all of their problems. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the doctors out there are throwing anxiety meds at women and calling it a day. Let’s not let this happen anymore!
Just to be clear, I’m not a doctor. I’m a woman going through perimenopause and I want other women to know SPEAK UP AND DEMAND DOCTORS LISTEN TO YOU if you’re experiencing symptoms you have never experienced before! Don’t let doctors brush you off, or gaslight you. If I had not spoken up, my doctor would not have ordered bloodwork, and I would never have found new doctors who worked with me to help me through this transition with minimal discomfort and depression.
When you can’t move your shoulder it could be from a drop in estrogen. There isn’t a direct link connecting frozen shoulder and menopause, but guess what? This was the first symptom my body endured before a slew of others hit me. However, since my weight gain started fairly close to when my frozen shoulder started, it was chalked up to me eating too much and not moving enough.
I went to multiple doctors for the shoulder problems, and was told it was a few different things… tendonitis was often the diagnosis. Granted, I had been painting a lot around my house, I type all day, and every doctor assumed I had overworked my arm and shoulder, etc. I kept pushing and finally found a chiropractor who diagnosed and treated my frozen shoulder.
This is when I started Googling and low-and-behold, I found out my frozen shoulder was probably thanks to hormone level changes brought on by perimenopause.
When your joints begin to ache, your brain automatically thinks “damn, arthritis already”? That’s where my brain went after waking up every day with joint pain. Hands, wrists, knees, and hips. But it was almost overnight from head-to-toe! Even my headaches were worse.
Don’t get me wrong, it could be arthritis. My point: push your doctor for an actual set of tests to get a real diagnosis before you start taking meds for arthritis. You may have started perimenopause, and that requires a different course of treatment than what you’d need to alleviate arthritis pain.
Your mental health takes a hit during perimenopause. First, your body is changing and the uncontrollable weight gain starts to really get to you. Second, your hormones are going nuts so you’ll have mood swings a-plenty. Finally, you won’t sleep much and we all know that causes all kinds of health issues, including mental health issues.
You’ll need help getting through perimenopause and menopause. Real help, not doctors throwing medications at you and telling you there’s not much that can be done so just shut up and deal with it. Or, the ones who gaslight you, like I had to deal with. Gotta love shitty insurance that doesn’t let you find real help!
Hair uncontrollably growing on your chin? It’s probably a big RED FLAG letting you know your estrogen is dipping lower but your testosterone isn’t dipping as low. The imbalance causes hair sprouts and they all seem to show up on your chin. No idea why, but man it’s annoying. I couldn’t keep up with my little tweezers. If you can’t keep up and it’s a huge bother, you might want to consider some laser removal. Or, just shave every day….sometimes a few times a day.
I cannot tell you how often I was fine in the morning, not a stray hair anywhere. Then I’m in the car driving to get a coffee, I touch my chin and it’s like a five o’clock shadow happening just an hour later. What the PLUCK? I now carry tweezers with me all the time so I can pluck those bastards out of my chin. I have a car pair, a laptop bag pair, and one set for each bathroom in my house!
Constant Urge to Pee
Seriously. It feels like every time I move, I have the urge to pee. There’s times when I pee before I go to pick up my kid from tennis practice, and when I get to the school which is about 10 minutes away, I have to pee again. The constant urge to pee is STRONG and never lets up. I bet not one woman in your life mentioned this lovely symptom to you…. well, I’m here to tell you this symptom is a royal PITA.
Ever go on a road trip when perimenopause hits? If you do, make sure you plot out all the areas you can stop to pee. It will save you from peeing on your front seat. OR, get yourself some leakage protection.
Ladies, it’s time to start talking about what’s really going on with our bodies
Society makes sure to instill in girls that their health, and bodily functions, are not important. Even worse, they should keep it to themselves because there’s something wrong with what our bodies do. All of the natural processes our bodies go through to populate the world with babies are never to be discussed, and forget talking about what happens once our bodies can no longer produce humans. The message is shut up, be ashamed, and suffer alone.
SCREW THAT. Start talking about your bodies and DEMANDING doctors listen, and researchers start researching the female body and the different ways various illnesses affect our bodies instead of always basing everything on the male body. Never settle for one doctor’s answer. Always push for further tests, and hunt for second opinions, as well as third and fourth ones, too! It’s your one and only body, so advocate for it.