Am I in Perimenopause? The Big Checklist

{When Will I Feel Like My Old Self Again?}

Am I In Perimenopause?
This page may contain affiliate links. I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me.
I hope it can help you too x. Please read the disclaimer for more info.

“I just don’t feel right. I don’t feel like my old self. What’s happening to me? Am I in Perimenopause” 

These were the exact words I spoke to my husband a few years ago when I was trying to figure out what was going on with my body and mind. 

I had gone from being an organised person with a sharp mind to a vague and confused dizzy lady who found it hard to remember what she was doing from one moment to the next. I would walk into a room and stand, looking around vaguely, trying to remember what I had come in for. Goldfish brain was definitely the operative word.

Who put this random bottle of wine in my trolley?

Strange things would happen to me. I often found items in my supermarket trolley that I had no recollection of putting in. I knew I must have chosen them, but I had absolutely no memory of it. It was like having a phantom shopper adding surprises at the checkout. 

I found items in the fridge that totally didn’t belong there. I lost and misplaced things. I stumbled over words and forgot old friend’s names. I actually started to wonder if I had some kind of early-onset dementia [and scared myself to death by googling it!}



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And there were other strange symptoms too. Old injuries flared up. An old ankle fracture from 20 years ago suddenly started to ache. The small of my back started to feel stiff and I got a literal pain in the butt which made me hobble about when I got up in the morning. I started to feel like a rickety old lady. I felt like I had changed overnight from a fit youngish person to a frail 90-year-old.

This was what gave me the clue that maybe there was more to this than sudden and dramatic overnight ageing. Maybe it was something to do with the fabled Menopause. At that time I didn’t have any of the classic symptoms such as hot flashes so it took me a little while to figure out what was going on. Maybe I was a little in denial too. 

However, when I put two and two together I understood and accepted what was happening. This was Perimenopause!. It was actually a relief to realise that I wasn’t going mad and that there was also something I could do about it…

What is Perimenopause? Am I in Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is simply the period of time when your fertility starts to decline. It can start anytime between 40 and 58 but the average age is 51.5 years old.

What I didn’t realise was that the language around menopause is very confusing. When we say “I’m going through Menopause” what we are probably referring to is Perimenopause. 

What? Menopause lasts a day?

Menopause itself is defined as the moment when a woman has gone a full year without having a period. So you are through menopause in the blink of an eye and are then defined as Post-Menopausal. Menopause itself literally lasts a day.

Its the damn Perimenopausal transition period that’s the tricky bit!.

So Perimenopause is the time period when our sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone decline and fluctuate. It’s not a calm controlled decline either. Hormones are fluctuating up and down like a crazy wild rollercoaster and that is what causes some of the more unpleasant side effects of the transition.

Perimenopause can last anywhere between 5 to 10 years. Some women will sail through it smoothly but others will have to cling on for dear life through the toughest storms and wild waters before reaching the calm on the other side of transition.

Why it’s important to know when you are in Perimenopause

The short answer is “So you don’t think you are losing your mind!”

Before I realised what was happening to me I truly thought I was going mad. I didn’t feel like myself at all and this started to affect all areas of my life including my relationships and family, my work and other areas of my health.

I believe that knowledge is power. Once I understood what was happening I could stop worrying, and then take steps to improve the situation {some of which I will share with you below}.

I understood that the aches and pains, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, disappearing libido and memory issues were all parts of the jigsaw and could be improved.

hormones

Am I in Perimenopause? The Big Checklist of Perimenopause symptoms

  Classic Symptoms

  • Hot Flashes

    The classic symptom. A sudden rush of heat to the face and chest. However, I didn’t get these until much later in perimenopause which threw me off realising I was perimenopausal. Even now hot flashes are rare for me so don’t let this confuse you if you don’t have them. You may still be in Perimenopause without them.

  • Night sweats

    Waking up drenched in sweat from a hot flash in bed. I did get these and managed to convince myself I had Lymphoma after spending too much time consulting Dr Google. In my defence, I had just recovered from another cancer so I was probably a bit paranoid and also had perimenopausal anxiety. My advice… NEVER consult Dr Google at 4am when you can’t sleep!

  • Emotional Issues

    Anxiety, depression, irritability, anger and mood swings. A bit like PMT on steroids.

    Waking up drenched in sweat from a hot flash in bed. I did get these and managed to convince myself I had Lymphoma after spending too much time consulting Dr Google. In my defence, I had just recovered from another cancer so I was probably a bit paranoid and also had perimenopausal anxiety. My advice… NEVER consult Dr Google at 4am when you can’t sleep!

  • Memory problems

    Brain fog, being unable to think clearly. Goldfish brain – completely forgetting what you were doing halfway through doing it. Wandering into a room and wondering why you are there. Being unable to find the right word or name for something or somebody and substituting “the whatsit” for everything.

  • Sleep problems

    Being unable to get a good nights sleep and waking sweaty, tired and anxious and then worrying about things you can’t control from 3am onwards until one minute before your alarm goes off when you fall back asleep.

  • Sex issues

    Where do I start!. A libido which has flown away with the summer birds. Vaginal dryness. Discomfort during sex. More Urinary Tract Infections. Sigh

  • Headaches and Migraines.

    Having only had a few migraines in my life, these turned up with a vengeance during Perimenopause. Thankfully they were more visual than painful. A swirling blind spot would appear in my vision and I would feel nauseous. They would only last 30 minutes but were disruptive to my life as I had to stop everything for half an hour and sit down somewhere quiet. At one point I was having 3 a day. Of course, I consulted Dr Google at 3am and decided I had a brain tumour. I really should learn!.

  • Other symptoms of perimenopause can include...

    • Random periods which are all over the place.
    • Random and unpredictable PMS as hormones fluctuate
    • Weight gain around the middle
    • Hair loss
    • Palpitations
    • Migraines
    • Sore breasts

When will I feel like my old self again?

So this was the question I was asking. “When am I going to feel like my old self? Is this it? A steady downhill decline?” It can be scary to stand at this point but I want to reassure you that you will come out the other side and start to feel more like your old self. 

It may just take a little bit of working out some lifestyle adjustments to help you sail through the choppy waters.

With the transition period lasting around 7 years on average, it’s worth doing a bit of sleuthing to find out what will help you. 

Transition & Bloom

The positive point of all this is that you are standing on the threshold of a new and exciting time in your life. Perimenopause may mark the end of one life period but it is the start of a new and positive one. One marked by growth and being able to focus on yourself.

Understanding what your body is going through is the start. Then making small changes to support your body and mind will power you forward.

Lifestyle changes. What can you do to feel more like yourself again?

Quit Smoking

If you smoke this is the number one thing you can do to support your body. Smoking is linked to early menopause and puts pressure on all your bodily systems. Stopping smoking allows your body to heal. 

Limit Alcohol

This is the lifestyle change that made the most difference to me. I realised that my Perimenopausal Migraines were related to red wine intake. Once I cut that right down they went from up to 3 a day to once a month if that. 

Other symptoms such as anxiety, brain fog and weight gain also improved. I still drink a little when I go out or for special occasions but I drink a lot less and don’t miss it. I feel like I have found my “off-switch”

 It made such a difference I have written a whole blog post about it here, with a link to a free download outlining exactly how I cut down on alcohol in easy to follow steps. I hope it may help you to get back in control of your perimenopause.

Maintain a healthy weight

Losing weight during Perimenopause can be extremely tricky. Cutting back on sugar can really help. Exercise such as yoga can keep you in shape and boost your metabolism. Keeping to the right weight for you avoids putting extra strain on your joints and organs.

I learnt a lot about how to lose Menopause Belly Fat in my research to improve my own health over the last 3 years. I have put all my information into my structured weight loss plan The Belly Fat Solution. Its a holistic weight loss plan which the emphasis on healing your hormones to help with menopause symptoms and make weight loss easier.

You can find out more about by clicking here or the link below. 

Natural Menopause Remedies

Women over the centuries have discovered various roots and plants which had properties to help ease menopause symptoms. These include things like Black Cohosh, Turmeric and Red Clover.

I have put together a comprehensive list of Natural Menopause Supplements which helped me on this page. There are a few other surprises in there too which I found really helpful.

Hormone Replacement Therapy {HRT}

Whilst my instinct is to try natural remedies first, for some women this is just not enough. I have met ladies who were absolutely incapacitated by Perimenopause and really needed the extra help of HRT. It seems like Bio-Identical Hormones should have a greater chance of working in harmony with the body. However, this is a confusing minefield so please do some careful research before deciding what to take.

There are a lot of natural ways that you can try to balance your hormones before you try HRT

Positive Perimenopause

There are lots of positives to the Perimenopause. Once hormones are under control and have fallen you may find a new calmness in your life. I feel I have reached this place whereas before I was renowned for my volatile personality. People actually now describe me as a “calming influence” which makes me giggle inwardly. They obviously didn’t know me 5 years ago!

Sex can improve as well, being free from the constant pregnancy worry that is drummed into us as teenagers and still sticks there at the back of the brain. 

But the biggest positive for me is feeling that I am at the beginning of a new and exciting part of my life where I feel free and finally able to be myself without the expectations, pressures and harassment that come with the fertile years [I haven’t been catcalled by a builder since perimenopause kicked in. How do they know!}

So in short. You will feel like yourself again. Take control, take care of your body and move forward positively into your exciting future.

Love and Light

PS. If you feel like you need a little extra help to balance your hormones  download the FREE ebook below for information about how to start.

 

How to get your life back! [Even if your hormones are out of balance!]

Hormone Symptom Checklist EbookHave you struggled with weight gain, depression, low libido, fatigue, and other seemingly un-related symptoms?
Just don’t feel like your old self…

It’s time to take your health into your own hands.

Download the FREE E-book NOW to discover the hormone causes of weight gain, mood swings, low libido and fatigue.

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Helen

Menopause and Perimenopause can be a tricky time to pass through. I certainly had a turbulent journey. I learnt a lot from my intense battle. I rediscovered my Menopause Mojo and you can too. I truly believe that Menopause can be the start of the best part of your life. I am an Artist, Certified Transformation Life Coach, Holistic Health Coach, Hypnosis practitioner and woman's health researcher. NB. I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me. I hope it can help you too. x