What Your Mother Probably Did Not Tell You
I am at that age that can be called middle aged. Which means I have middle aged friends. I also work primarily with women and between discussions with friends and clients I have found most women are sorely under-prepared for the hormonal shifts that occur in middle age. In fact, most women seem to think menopause just happens. You turn 50, your period turns off, you may have hot flashes but that is it. But it is not it. Google mood swings and perimenopause I dare ya.
Perimenopause is that period leading up to menopause where all sorts of things may happen, or not. Menopause is official when you have stopped menstruating for a year. Perimenopause can be the up to 10 years (YES 10 YEARS!!) prior that you have other symptoms. These might include anxiety, tearfulness, bursts of anger, hot flashes, insomnia, breasts that hurt, irregular periods, depression, and many more fun things. What is striking to me in talking to women is how often they just put up with the symptoms. They don’t know what is going on. They feel crazy. They may try and see a doctor but more often than not they are told to either take hormones or just suck it up.
I have found that for most women finding some connection with other women that can normalize the experience for them is a big help. It is also good to find out some information so you can have reasonable expectations. Everyone is different and some women go through the entire experience super smoothly. Most have some bumps along that way. There are all types of herbal supplements and products you can try if you wish (please always do due diligence and research each thoroughly and let your doctors know what you are taking).
The most important thing is to recognize that if you are on an emotional roller coaster it will pass and you are not crazy even if it feels like it in any given moment.
A few books that are highly recommended are below. Please note that these are Amazon affiliate links which means I get a small fee if you purchase through the link. My affiliate disclosure statement is here.
This article on “Is It Perimenopause” from Prevention online is also short and helpful.