So for the past few weeks, I’ve had a surge of BIG FEELINGS and try as I might, nothing has helped to calm me down. It’s caused me to lash out at hubby and the kids and it’s a frustrating and scary place to be in. I also know I’m not where I’d like to be healthwise. I’m significantly overweight (I gained a lot of weight while breastfeeding/pumping with our second) and my once 5-times weekly gym habit has turned to nada while navigating two kiddos and a pandemic. I’ve also stopped meditating and my at-home yoga practice. All recipes for disaster for someone like me who struggles with anxiety.
Having concerns about my health, I went and got my yearly physical/check-up done, and thankfully no diabetes or thyroid issues (both run in my family) but the blood tests came back indicating I now have high cholesterol. I knew something was going on because I’ve never ever had high cholesterol and I have been feeling quite off, if I’m honest.
When I got my period yesterday, I grew concerned because for the last few months I’ve been getting my period twice in one month. This month my first period finished on August 5 and I got my period again on August 27. That’s about three weeks in between and not my usual cycle (it’s usually at least 4 weeks between periods). On top of those super big feelings I’ve been having (constant irritation and frustration toward hubby and my kids) I’ve also been sweating a lot more (a symptom that my father, embarrassingly, pointed out to me when I was visiting home).
Google is by no means an expert, but when I did a bit of searching, it looks like my symptoms could be due to perimenopause. I just turned 44, so this makes sense if this is indeed what is going on with me. Perimenopause typically starts when a woman is between the ages of 40-44, but some women can experience it in their 30s. This period of time before you enter menopause can last 8-10 years.
Here are symptoms the Mayo Clinic lists that are in line with what I have been experiencing:
- Irregular periods. As ovulation becomes more unpredictable, the length of time between periods may be longer or shorter, your flow may be light to heavy, and you may skip some periods. (Yep, what's been happening with me!)
- Hot flashes and sleep problems. Hot flashes are common during perimenopause. The intensity, length and frequency vary. Sleep problems are often due to hot flashes or night sweats, but sometimes sleep becomes unpredictable even without them. (I’ve been complaining to hubby about my sweating problem and this is something my father noticed, too!)
- Mood changes. Mood swings, irritability or increased risk of depression may happen during perimenopause. (I’m glad to know this is a symptom because I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me, only that I had no control over how I was feeling.)
- Changing cholesterol levels. Declining estrogen levels may lead to unfavorable changes in your blood cholesterol levels, including an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol — which contributes to an increased risk of heart disease. At the same time, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “good” cholesterol — decreases in many women as they age, which also increases the risk of heart disease. (This symptom was surprising, but makes sense given my latest blood test results!)
I’ve made appointments with medical professionals to determine the best course of action and I’ll keep everyone posted here on the next steps.
I am relieved that this could be the reason why I’ve been feeling the way I’ve been feeling, symptoms that have become acutely unbearable for me (and hubby) in the recent weeks and last month. I am blessed to have a super supportive and loving hubby despite my temperament (I told him the other day I wanted to get a divorce and the next day to separate…these are not words I utter easily!) and I hope that others who read this who are experiencing similar symptoms may find relief as well.
The more we talk about these issues, the more others out there can find help and get the help and support they need!