I’ll never forget the day I couldn’t fit into my size 4 jeans…yes, I used to be much skinnier! It seems that somewhere along the way I got hips. And, that conversion happened in my mid-twenties. No one ever told me I’d get hips. I just figured if I didn’t have them by the time I was in my twenties I wouldn’t get them. There’s a laugh! The hips just popped out from nowhere!
Pregnancy stuff seems to be another topic, but I know nothing about it so I will not go into it here. Let’s just say I’ve heard some interesting stories from those close to me who have given birth to babies.
Now that I am in my forties, yes, I am nearing half a century, the topic is peri-menopause. No one really talks about it, you don’t really see advertisements on TV for products that help with the symptoms (or if there were they are no longer), and you have to buy books and secretively ask your best friends, “Are you experiencing it, yet? What are you doing to help the symptoms?”
To make matters worse, doctors, even female ones, shake their heads and say, “Nay, you are too young.” Or “Nay, peri-menopause is just a myth.” HA! Let’s just say I moved on to another doctor at a different office.
It turns out that every woman starts this phase at different times. One of my cousins began going through it in her mid-thirties. Another one of my cousins is in her fifties and still has not started the phase. Another of my cousins began going through it right about the age of 40 and had symptoms so frustrating and uncomfortable that she underwent the big operation and had it all removed. A dear friend of mine is in her late forties, and she hasn’t had a cycle now in 11 months.
The range of symptoms we have all experienced fluctuate. The general symptoms seem to be these:
- Extra heavy flows
- Continuous, nonstop flows
- Heavier cramping
- Hot flashes
- Elevated mental issues (eg. If you suffered from anxiety or depression before you started the phase you can expect to see those escalate and be harder to control)
- Dry skin (hands and feet – if you ever wondered why your mom smothered her hands and feet with lotion this could be the reason why)
- Weight gain
These are only a short sampling of symptoms. However, these are the ones that seemed to “pop up” in conversations that were discussed discretely via email or in face-to-face, one-on-one conversations.
Combating Peri-Menopause Symptoms
So what do you do about those symptoms? There are a myriad of products out there from OTC drugs to Rx drugs. The first thing to do though is talk with your doctor! Before starting any type of regimen to combat the symptoms you want to make sure what you plan to do is safe and healthy.
Here are some options that have helped me and others get through some of the symptoms. (Note: I’m not a doctor and am only providing this list as a sample of what my friends and I have tried and what is available to help you.)
- Estroven: This is an over-the-counter remedy. There are no strong medical studies that prove it works. You just have to try it and see if it works for you or not.
- Progesterone cream: This one was recommended to me by my doctor. She had ready studies that it helps. It worked for me for about two years.
- A-ma-ta: One of my friends uses this to control her hot flashes. She says it works like a charm for her.
- Oriental Medicine: A good OM practitioner will give you loose herbs combined specifically for you. It has worked to control my anxiety that has increased due to the hormonal changes. You can research ones in your area for reviews.
- IUD: My has recommended this for me. She says it will help with the irregularity, heavy bleeding, and may even “stop” the monthly cycle. It is good for five years, which is about how long they say peri-menopause symptoms can last.
- Ablation: This is a bit invasive and they say not necessarily the first option to try. Definitely research it before having it done. Since I never had children, my doctor isn’t recommending it for me.
- Exercise: In general, the better shape you are in the better your body will probably handle this phase.
- Healthy Eating: Gaining weight comes with the phase. Eating healthy foods, and watching how much you eat, will definitely help.
Those are all the ones I have heard about or tried. What have you tried to help you through this phase of womanhood?