Me: Another sleepless night, staring at the ceiling, with eyes wide open. My body has rolled over every corner of my bed within my ‘vicinity’.
My husband rolled his sleepy eyes and his face was saying: “again?…why are you still not sleeping in this middle of the night?” I was feeling helpless and speechless — he could never understand me because he is not a woman.
Oh, No… should we sleep in separate rooms for his and my well-being? I was feeling guilty for disturbing his sleep, again…
Perimenopause: Hi, this sleep disruption or insomnia is a typical symptom of me. *chuckles*
Welcome to Perimenopause!
It happens to women usually from the age of 40s to 50s. Some women may experience it as early as their mid-30s if they have a family history of early menopause. Besides, other reasons such as smoking, cancer treatment, or having your uterus or ovaries removed can also make me come to you earlier.
Me: My menstrual cycle has not been as regular as before. The length of time between periods is longer, or shorter sometimes! Also, the menstrual flow has been varied from light to heavy, are all these because of you?
Perimenopause: Yes! This is the transitional period to menopause. Your ovary begins to make lesser hormones, causing your menstrual to become erratic and irregular, before ending your reproductive years officially.
Also, have you experienced some kind of dryness in your vagina? Have you noticed that you often have a mood swing without apparent reasons?
Be careful though, not to slip into depression.
Me: The hot flashes! Why is there a sudden surge of warmth from my upper body and sweat spread across my whole body? Why am I sweating on and off while everyone around me doesn’t feel the hotness?
The sweat comes out of nowhere! I would have taken off all my clothing if I’m home alone!
Perimenopause: Well, try to wear breathable fabric clothing. You can wear a few layers of cloth so that you could remove them without embarrassment when needed. Ha.
Besides, carrying a foldable fan whenever you go will come in handy. Try to stay in a low-temperature environment so as not to trigger hot flashes.
Me: Oh, No!… At the time when I finally feel that I could live the life that I dream of, you come and disturb my peace of mind with all these discomforts
Please can you don’t stay with me for too long?
Perimenopause: Well...I’m not too sure, it could be from 4 months up to 10 years…before my big sister Menopause takes over the baton from me. My stay is 4 years on average.
You would not see me again when your menstrual period has stopped for 12 months consecutively, this is when you will meet my big sister Menopause.
Me: I want to enjoy my life! I have heard so much about your notorious fame from my elderly friends long before. What can I do about it?
Perimenopause: This is a natural phase of life and 75% of women will experience the symptoms from mild to severe. Usually, it’s tolerable that you do not need to seek any diagnosis because symptoms may be subtle and come on gradually.
You can do this to subdue its effects on your well-being:
1. Diet — Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet is a very good staple food to follow.
2. Exercise — Do regular moderate exercise e.g walking, hiking, and strengthening exercises e.g weight lifting. You may do yoga or meditation as part of stress management if it helps with your mood swing.
3. Sleep — get quality sleep e.g avoid screentime, and do some mild stretching before bedtime.
4. Maintain optimal weight. Try to lose weight as perimenopause may cause weight gain. Staying at the optimal weight can reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
5. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
6. Quit smoking.
Me: Why am I feeling my body is itching as though there is dust on my skin? My house is as clean as before! Where does all this dust come from?
Now I understand why mom used to tell me her body feel itchy but we kept telling her it was only in her mind.
Is this part of you too Ms.Perimenopause?
Perimenopause: Em..this I’m not sure, could be…maybe it’s something the medical field is yet to discover…
Me: I often feel fatigued and not well, are you sure I do not need to seek medical advice?
Perimenopause: There is no treatment for perimenopause. However, you may need to seek medical attention if you experience any of these to check what are the causes and see if needs further action:
1. Bleed for more than seven days in a row.
2. Bleed between periods.
3. Change pads or tampons every one to two hours.
4. Have periods more frequently than every 21 days.
It looks like there’s no way I can run away from it! I might as well do whatever I can to reduce its effects on me. This is part of women’s lives, though it’s a less pleasant one!
For all the husbands, daughters, or family out there, please bear with your wives, and moms for their mood swings that may upset you. Your understanding and support are very much needed and appreciated!
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* Originally published at https ://medium.com
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