The Shite They Don’t Tell You About the Menopause!

 

The Chinese call it “A Woman’s Second Spring”.
Westerners call it “The Change”!
I call it “The Hell of my Forties”.

 

YES – I am referring to the menopause. Or to be more specific in my case, perimenopause. It’s the lovely period leading up to the time when our ovaries shrivel up for good and resemble nothing but a pair of dried raisins attached to our ever-thinning uterus.

Today I turn 46. It’s strange to see that number written down, as it confirms that I am closer to 50 with every passing day and yet it doesn’t seem possible. I still feel 21 in my head, my body acts like a 30 year old and my outlook on life remains young – yet I can tell my body is changing and it hasn’t been the smoothest of sailing.

Entering my forties was a breeze, I was fit and healthy and in better condition both physically and mentally than I was in my twenties. I felt awesome! Then two years ago, something happened. I started to feel unwell. I felt as though my whole equilibrium had shifted, I started to experience vertigo that left me unable to walk properly and sometimes not even able to get out of bed. This in turn lead to vision problems and the feeling that my head was being held in a vice, followed by bouts of nausea and vomiting. Each of these episodes would last me three to five days and leave me utterly exhausted. It was a hellish time for me as my new business had just started to flourish and I wanted to invest a lot of time and energy into it, yet most of the time I felt so discombobulated, I could barely make myself a cup of tea.  After a year and a half of tests and visits to ENTs and neurologists, it was determined that I was suffering from migraines with aura. The reason: hormones. After specific bloodwork, my gynecologist confirmed that my estrogen levels had plummeted, the result of which was that I was entering perimenopause.

menopause-mem

This was the start of my journey and honestly, it has only gotten worse!  I also know that when it’s over, when the bright light of menopause (a year without periods) arrives, these symptoms will subside.

This is not a sob story but rather a chance for me to start talking about menopause and the effect it has on women. I have spoken to numerous peers, clients and fellow trainers about this, and it has been determined, beyond doubt, that everything our mothers ever told us about “the change” was crap!  Now I appreciate that every women will have their own experience, and not everybody will suffer; in fact some women float through this period with a joyous glow on their face – lucky ladies!!  Still, we need to talk about this, we need to be open and share our trials and tribulations.

This is the first of a six part series where I will be interviewing specialists in the fields of nutrition, gynecology, physical therapy and personal training amongst a few, to get experts’ perspectives on this confusing time of a woman’s life. Before I dive in, I thought it would be prudent to share my experiences so far.

 

My Own Personal Perimenopause Hell

 

 

Migraines 

See above. Yeah I now know how to manage them, and life is so much better, but it took a lot of experimenting with foods, meds and relaxation methods to reduce the stress that often contributes to this multi-faceted infliction.  I still suffer, but with less intensity, knowing that most of the time migraines stop when we reach menopause.

Memory Loss

Tied in with mental confusion and clumsiness, makes me a joy to be around. I sometimes even forget the most basic words so I have to make a list of things to do every single day otherwise I would remember nothing.  This is probably the most frustrating aspect of perimenopause for me as I feel as though I appear stupid to others. I know this is a common feeling among menopausal women. There are ways to help with our cognitive skills as we age in general and this is an area we will explore in more detail.

Depression

Probably just fed up with feeling unwell with migraines, I hit a period of time during my second year where I started to feel numb, bored, lifeless and utterly fatigued. Initially I thought it was my marriage – my poor husband. I just assumed I was bored of HIM, maybe bored of the kids, too. It really took a lot for me to sit back and see that I wouldn’t change any part of my life if could, so why was I feeling this way?  Everybody was noticing, even my kids. They were worried about me, I wasn’t myself and I wasn’t reaching my potential by any stretch.  It was only when I went for my six month check-up with the gynecologist did he see what was happening. He put his arm around me and I sobbed; what had happened to me?  It turned out that my severely low estrogen was causing me depression and it was simply ruining the quality of my life and that of those around me.  This wasn’t something I could simply talk my way out of and counselling was not going to help me; my body was not coping with the changes that were happening.  I now take a very specific SSRI for menopause and it keeps my depression at bay. I know this is only a temporary measure as I can stop taking these drugs once my hormones are not in constant flux.

Urinary Stress Incontinence

On a 5km run in the hilly beauty of Scotland in 2014, I realised that I had peed myself. WHAT?! This had NEVER happened to me before – and how could it? I’m a fitness trainer, I had two kids years ago and never experienced anything like this before. Skipping, trampolining, jumping, sneezing and coughing had never been an issue for me in the years following my two births, yet now, at the age of 44 I was peeing myself. I was devastated and embarrassed!  I immediately went to see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist for help.  I knew this condition was common and I also knew it wasn’t normal, so I didn’t need to accept it as such.  After some therapy I definitely saw a change and things were under control, but again this is another thing that I just wasn’t expecting. Reduced estrogen means that the body’s collagen tissue isn’t as elastic as it once was (hence wrinkles) and the lining of the uterus thins during perimenopause, which can affect the strength and function of the pelvic floor as a whole. Now before you start clenching tightly and performing kegels, take pause, this area of physiotherapy is quite unique and women need to re-learn how to correctly strengthen and correct any dysfunctions they may have. This is why I want to take time helping us through this complex area. 

Marshmallow Tummy 

I think I have always weighed exactly the same weight since the age of 16 (with the exception of pregnancy), so when I came back from my summer holidays 8lbs heavier than EVER I was gutted. My body had stopped forgiving me for my indulgences! I have always been a pretty clean eater, and love looking after the health of my body, so WHY NOW? Changes in estrogen levels change the structure of fat deposits in the body – moving fat more predominantly to the belly area.  Now let me clarify, hormonal changes didn’t get me extra curvy (eating cream cakes and bacon sandwiches every day made me gain weight) but the way my body reacted to these indulgences had definitely changed. It has given me pause for thought!  We know that our metabolism usually declines by 10% per decade as we age, for both men and women, but this number is not even close to relevant if you have lean muscle mass.

Strength training actively and regularly builds lean muscle mass which is more metabolically-active, whereas fat mass is metabolically-inactive.                          

Now more than ever it is important to keep moving, to lift weights and to stay nutritionally focused.

Smells

Yes I stink! I really do. My armpits smell like a dirty old jock-strap, I have never stunk like this before. On occasion, down in the nether-regions, I am certain that I detect an old lady stale odour  (yes sorry I went there…it’s so gross, but if I won’t and don’t talk about it nobody else will)! Only the other day I squirted my whole body with a bottle of Febreze! Note to all you lovely ladies out there: start carrying Febreze in your handbags.  Changes in hormones also can affect your smell sensitivity similar to in pregnancy, maybe I think I smell worse than I do? Who knows.

the-seven-dwarves-of-menopauseWhat has saved me?

It has become only more apparent to me over these two years that nutrition, exercise and relaxation are key to making this period of my life manageable.  A strength program that is geared towards building lean muscle and keeping my metabolism revved up is key. Avoiding shitty food also helps keep my migraines at bay and my moods lifted – if I binge on starches and sugars (which I seem to crave more than ever in my life) it just makes me hit rock bottom.  Alcohol is not my friend, but it’s on my list to reintroduce once my periods stop forever. I can’t wait to get a little tipsy again! Taking time each day to have some ME-TIME is imperative, a time when I read, nap, knit, go for a walk, something that presses the reset button. Talking about my symptoms to others has been key – speaking to a male trainer friend recently, he explained to me that it’s important that this is a normal dialogue in the industry.

Women in their 40s and 50s are going to be suffering from fatigue, stress and hormonal issues that are just so unique that we all have to be aware of them.

 

[Tweet “I’m here to save you from your menopause hell, one hot flash at a time #fitnchips #menopausehell”]

Any benefits?

A few!  My periods are almost over. I have only had three periods this year- HELL YEAH!  

The hair on my body has stopped growing, so I haven’t needed to shave my legs more than twice this year, pretty neat right? Hot flashes (flushes) – I only had this for four days but I loved them, as I am always so cold, it was almost a treat to feel that warm all the time. Truthfully though, they are strange and the best way for me to keep those at bay have been regular exercise. Finally, my boobs have grown  – this is a bonus for my husband, but not for me, I hate this actually.

It’s been pretty hard for me to lay bare my issues in this format, but I think it is essential. I am looking forward to producing more information on this topic in the following five articles, and at the end of the series I will be providing you with strength programs that will provide benefits the perimenopausal  symptoms. I am also looking forward to interviewing some industry leaders so that you don’t just learn about my experiences, you also will get facts that will help you with the WHY it happens? And the HOW to find solutions to THE CHANGE in our lives!

 

Are you suffering from perimenopause? Are a trainer, male or female and have encountered similar issues with your client? Tell me your experience.


 

If you are looking for a community of women to support you during this time, please come over to my private Facebook Group CLICK HERE

99 Comments on “The Shite They Don’t Tell You About the Menopause!”

  1. Happy birthday Amanda! I’m sending you this email as I don’t have my own Facebook presence ( I am often on Stephen’s which is how I saw this blog) Congratulations! This is very helpful information. I’m sure many women suffer through much of this on their own. Even if there isn’t a simple fix to the issues, it’s nice to know we aren’t going through these changes alone. ( I’m particularly annoyed with my almost complete intolerance to alcohol and my inability to stay awake past 10:00 pm, no matter what) I wanted to know if you will address vaginal dryness in the blog. Full disclosure-I’m now selling a product for this that has been in Canada for a few years, but it’s really taking off. It’s called RepaGyn. Please do your own research and come to your own conclusions, but I personally think it’s a terrific product and definitely a helpful addition to the marketplace. If you want any further info about it, please don’t hesitate to email me. I hope you are all doing well. We are in the middle of taking Declan around to high school open houses, so he can decided where he wants to go. Is Cameron doing the same? I vaguely remember that he left Dewson for a private school-or am I mistaken? All the best, Gillian.

    1. Thank you Gillian. It’s great that all this research is happening and that we start the conversation so it’s not just an embarrassing subject. I don’t actually deal with products but people on here will be reading your comments and might find it helpful.

  2. I could hug you for posting this and I am so excited to read all the research you are planning on sharing. I just read Menopause Confidential by Dr. Tara Allman and it is one of the best that I have read so far. It is quite possible that I have read just about everything published – because as you said, what our mothers told us – or not isn’t all that helpful. And in my case, I am the fist of my peers to go through this (I am 47 – my period ended when I was 45). Perimenopause wasn’t so bad for me – or I wasn’t paying attention. For me, the bumps started once my period stopped. All the messages out there that HRT is bad, that menopause isn’t a sickness and doesn’t need medication all made it very hard for me to eventually make the decision to go on HRT and now I feel so much better. I am happy to share more if it interests you! Thank you again for this!

    1. I call BS on people who say that Pilar! If somebody had asked you 10 years ago about peri-menopause or menopause I am quite sure you would have thought it was going to be a breeze, I knew I thought that. HOW WRONG WE WERE!! hahahaha I know it doesn’t stop once your periods do, I am hoping my migraines and depression stop then though. We should all be united in WOMEN WHO DON’T BLEED (or bleed irregularly, or quite a lot)

  3. Thanks for sharing. I turn 50 in one week and this is really hard for me. So far I only have a marshmallow tummy and my boobs are sagging. I’m in great shape but my mud section just doesn’t look as good as it used to.

    1. Knowing you are not alone Ada, and hopefully this helps others create dialogue too is only going to help us stop this being such a taboo subject. Thanks for reading.

  4. Wow!! Thank the Lord for this blog!! Everything, (apart from self dousing in febreze – though I have now added it to my shopping list) you have described is ME! I thought I was going crazy. My GP (he’s male) put my symptoms down to ‘age’ – not to worry… it’ll pass…. In the meantime , however, my family sit in the other room (for their own sanity & safety) whilst I mumble & chunter & pass wind like a grumpy, bloating, farting, mad woman, recently prone to wetting myself en-route to the loo and forgetting what the hell I was doing on the way!! Thankyou for your blog.. . Its such a relief to know that it’s not just me…. I am not alone! More to the point, there is help out there…… and febreze! I can’t wait to read more….. Thankyou! !

    1. OK. I am literally DYING!!! This is brilliant. Keeping a sense of humour is also another way to save our sanity.
      ps Hoping to get a sponsorship deal out of FEBREZE for this plug

  5. This is great Amanda. I am also 46 and haven’t had too many problems yet except occasionally night sweats, but I know it’s eventually going to happen. I do have a friend who went straight in to menopause after a hysterectomy because of a cancer scare and she has told me how much harder it is to keep her weight where she wants to be and has hot flashes often. I am looking forward to learning more and being able to help women as I am a new personal trainer and I think this is something a lot of younger trainers might not understand.

    1. thank you Shauna. I think this is going to be the perfect series for trainers, male and female to follow. When I was 25-35 I had NO idea, honestly, how could we, nobody dare speak about it!!

  6. Now I’m lmao sitting in my car reading this blog post. I’m intrigued bc I’ve been looking into this very topic for the past few years. It seems you are about to go way deeper than i have and I’m definitely going to be reading every post.

    Yes after years my boobs grew. WTF?!! And this gut won’t go away. Certain food no longer agree with my system. I haven’t eaten turkey or turkey products in over 10 yrs. chicken doesn’t like me either but I try to sneak it in a few times a year because I miss it. Insomnia and periods of being full of tears and then ready to punch somebody’s lights out. My periods are very regular haven’t stopped or slowed down.

    But I’ve that menopause (peri etc) is referred to as the second adolescence. Like the first one we have no damn idea what the hell is going on with our bodies from day to day but we are more mature and emotionally wiser than the first trip through adolescence. And it’s non discriminatory. If you were born with a vagina you will get some of this! Lmao. So yes, I’ve pulled up a seat and I’m all in for this ride. Let’s see what the experts say. Especially this damn breast increase.

    Tips… I am 48 soon to be 49. I was warned by older friends to get as close to Vegan as possible; don’t fight the tears; be alone when I feel the raging coming on and most critical of all… DO NOT stop moving (working out). It’ll be the only means of staying sane.

    1. this was so very refreshing to read, thank you Rene. One of the funniest comments I received was this from my Facebook post;
      I have asked more women about their periods in the past six months than is socially acceptable. I am so desperate for peer information that I’ve lost my ability to care if I make people uncomfortable. I get my period “whenever”. And by whenever I mean one month 35 days…the next 3x in one month. After a barrage of tests I was told this is normal. WTF how is this normal?????I am 47 years old and now going through a desperate search for the right birth control to regulate this shit. I have a punch card at LaSenza because I have to buy my underwear in bulk now I’ve ruined so many. Ugh. Where are my donuts.

  7. Thanks for writing about this, Amanda. So far, I’ve only experienced some new belly fat, memory loss, and yes, occasional peeing when I don’t want to! My mom went through a depression when she was menopausal though, and I did when I was pregnant, so I’m expecting that may happen again when I go through the bigger hormonal shifts to come. My periods are still regular though so I’m not quite there. Being honest about it makes such a difference, and I appreciate you opening up the conversation here.

  8. Hi I am 52 and a trainer and I can tell you the struggle is real. The migraines for me started post menopause as well as the fatigue, the belly fat….well whom am I kidding has always been there so at least now I have an excuse….. Picked up 10 pounds and I can tell you trying to lose is seems almost impossible but I train like crazy strength to keep my sanity and I always try to eat and do the right things and my promise to myself everyday is just keep on trying it is when we give up or in that we lose the battle…so onward and upwards. By the way loved the blogg.

    1. Susan thank you so much for your honesty. It’s so good that women see people like us trainers, who appear to have all our shit together, suffering too. I love that last line where you say you promise yourself everyday to just keep trying. Well said. Let’s keep talking about this important subject.

    2. the migraines have been my absolute worst thing by far – so so debilitating, so I feel your pain. I am glad the blog post resonated with you and provided you some help. The future posts will have practical advise too.

      1. Amanda, thank you so much for this honest and funny article. You have to laugh right? You are looking to collect period data… here’s my story. I’m 52 and my period was never regular unless I was on the pill. Averaging every 35-45 days but I never kept track of that like my mom told me to do. Nothing to complain about, no PMS. Minor cramps now and then but every once in a while really bad cramps causing nausea. Normal otherwise lasting 5-7 days. So recently… holy crap! My periods are like SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY. Not only did I discover SUPER tampons but did you know the make SUPER PLUS?! I wish they made SUPER PLUS PLUS!!! But now they only last about 3-4 days so I’m guessing I’ve got the condensed version now. Then at some point during COVID I realized when the heck was my last period? It had to be a few months at least… just when I started contemplating disposing of my period underwear I got it… three months in a row like clockwork (30 days ish.) Around this time I noticed the headaches which I never ever get. And then came my first hot flash. I too am always cold so at first I thought I just wore too many layers to bed. But now I know what it really is! Hadn’t gotten the sweating until tonight. Very brief but still. Also some tingling in my hands and feet which I had to look up but read is normal. And lastly… my jeans from college (yes I still have some) don’t fit anymore. I’ve been around 110 pounds my whole adult life and now I’m not. I don’t have a scale so I can’t say for sure what I weigh… the mirror says I’m still skinny but my old jeans say not as skinny as before. Oh and super tired lately too! Usually I go to bed between 12-2am but lately I’ve been passing out around 9 which is totally unlike me. The only reason I’m up at 2:36am right now is because a hot flash woke me up. Thank goodness I still smell the same everywhere (or don’t smell!) I’ll take bigger boobs and less shaving… just make the headaches go away! Going to try more ME time, relaxation and exercise. But it’s great to have other women to talk to when suddenly you feel like you must be dying from some unknown illness when in reality it’s just menopause. If I see a travel size Fabreze the next time I’m searching for Super Plus Plus tampons I’ll buy it and think of you! Thanks again for this wonderful article. ~Stefanie

  9. Great post Amanda. It takes courage to put that out there. Thank you for posting it. It reminded me I’m not alone.

    I’ve expienced many of the same things you wrote about. I’ve also found I have more gastrointestinal issues and insomnia that comes and goes. It’s been a few years since I’ve had my period so I’m full-on menapausal. I’m also less than a year away from turning 50 and I can say, it has gotten better. I think that is partially because I am making changes to help minimize the symptoms this change has brought on and acceptance of it. I really look forward to reading your future posts on this topic and thank you again for posting this and starting the conversation within your network.

    1. Insomnia and GI issues are so common, eating a well balanced diet is key as you know. I have some really good advice coming along soon from a PHD in Women’s Nutrition (hint: eat carbs)
      Thank you so much for commenting, and also so nice to see you this morning xxx

  10. Yes! This started for me when I turned 40 last year. Unfortunately my doctor thinks it’s not possible. Apparently I’m “too young”. Baloney!!
    I’ve also found out I have major adrenal issues on top of this so I am a walking basket case these days and decided it was best for me to pull away from my online presence (kettlebell mom) in order to take care of myself.
    Thanks for tackling this very important subject. I look forward to what you find out!

    1. yes I know you Angela – oh I know what you mean. Everyday things just seem an impossible task to do never mind trying to keep up with social media feeds. You know the bright light of all this might just be that we learn to take care of ourselves better and prioritise what is important to us.

  11. Thank you, thank you and once again thank you, the best thing I have read in ages. I too like you am going through the menopause, it really did make me smile, it was as though you had written it for me! The thing I hate most is not being in control, I am a control freak in every thing I do, my home, my work and my daily routine. But this takes over me in ways I didn’t think it could and I can’t stop it. one minutes I am happy the next I am the bitch from hell and no one can do anything right. I am so lucky I have a very understanding husband. After couple of weeks of really bad symptoms as you have expressed as above I thought I should go to my doctors, I didn’t know what to expect from him but felt I came out none the wiser!
    After reading your article at least I now know I am not going mad, senile or have the early signs of dementia, I could go on and on and do feel the need now and again to apologise to everyone I meet for my odd ways, mood swings and just generally not being me. As my doctor said it could last up to 18 months or longer, great pass me the pills!

    1. I feel it’s like an illness, that there is no way to describe. Our symptoms are so random and yet so similar all at the same time. Why can’t our doctors help us? We really have to start to advocate for ourselves and keep talking about it until we get answers. Hope you like the rest of the series! Thanks for the great feedback.

  12. I’m a 54 year old health club manager that has been in the fitness industry for 30 years! You have just about summed up my last 3 years of my periomenopause hell. I am now patiently (haha) waiting to get through this nightmare.
    I so appreciated reading your post and knowing I’m not going crazy! The migraines/vision/vertigo/hot flashes/sweating/nerve pain, etc have been the worst ! Hell!

    1. I saw this the other day and it felt like the perfect wording for how I feel right now;
      All women face menopause, but the passage is seldom easy. Distracting symptoms, confusing medical advice, unsympathetic reactions from loved ones, and the scornful attitudes of society at large often make menopause a lonely and emotionally draining experience.

  13. Such a brave and revealing article Foxy. I applaude you for sharing. I am not there yet, but having had a host of other gynae problems in the last 10 years (including cysts, fibroids and endometreoma) plus rheumatoid arthritis and unexplained infertility, plus hearing about my mothers experiences, I am certainly not expecting an easy ride! Being a woman can certainly be shite, but also rather wonderful at the same time!!

    But having you alongside me for some chuckles and perspective will certainly help! Don’t forget to send me a virtual slap when I start wallowing in self pity or become too self critical, or a hug when I need a little reminder that I am not alone. And I’ll be set on sending them back to you.

    I look forward to reading the rest xx

  14. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking this on. I’m 51 and my previously lean, strong and fit body is practically unrecognizable. The last year of peri menopause has been nothing short of HELL. Headaches, 15 lb weight gain ( all in the boobs and mid-section), loss of strength, insomnia, emotional swings, adrenal issues, crushing fatigue, Zero tolerance for alcohol (a few glasses of wine ) and many other things I used to enjoy. I have been really struggling with it all and feeling really alone and that there are no good resources for how to manage this time of life. Bio Identical hormones have been a bit of relief but I would love to know other experience with them. Thank you so much for tackling this topic. I cant wait to read more. It would be amazing to have a community (Fb?) of fit and healthy women who can share how they are managing their peri/meno experiences. Or at least to commiserate with others who make me feel like I’m not the only one on the train to crazy town and fatville!!!

    1. can I firstly apologise for not responding, I have transferred over the platform of my website and somehow missed a few. Since your comment I have created a space on facebook called Menopausing So Hard and would love you to join us if you haven’t already. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      we really do just support each other and I am talking about this more and more, there is now a podcast on this site you might find useful. Thanks Jennifer

  15. Amanda where have you been all our life
    or should I say all our crappy menopause life, who are one amazing lady and I am feeling so happy that I have found this site. Power to you my love (:

  16. Thank you Amanda for you great site, have been following it for awhile now, I am 59 years and started all of this lets say 5 years or more now, I must say does not get any better thats for sure, for me anyway, have gone on SRRR as well did not want to go on HRT, but getting some help from it know, my depression and and panic attacks are
    my elephant in the room, starting to smell the roses and hoping I will get back my life soon. cheers.

  17. I have been going through this HELL for about 5 years now and I am sooo fed up with the lot of it I could cry, my temperature issues have been and continue to be an absolute nightmare, and the anxiety and depression is relentless, I honestly feel that this is never ever going to end for me and Im exhausted with it all. There are many days when I just think what’s the point, I have nothing to look forward to in my life, I am never going to meet anyone and would anybody really care if I was here or not. It kind of feels better having just putting it down in words. I just can’t see an end in sight.

    1. This is a scary time where we often do not recognise the person we have become. I am so sorry you are having such a bad time of things, and I think I can relate to this. I am glad the blog helped and I will continue to write about menopause so we truly start to get to the bottom of what women really go through. If it helps I have a private facebook support group http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard and am in the midsts of writing a book on the subject. FWIW I am now at the stage where I am coming out of perimenopausea nd the symptoms have dramatically reduced and I am starting to recognise the person I once was. Please, if you haven’t already, consider going to the doctors. Menopause can increase depression and anxiety to the point where we can’t cope at all, I took medication and it really helped me. It was hard to do this at first because I never wanted to admit I needed an anti-depressant, but 3 years later I no longer need them. They got me over the hump and a good doctor will prescribe one that can also reduce other menopause symptoms like hot flashes. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

  18. Jesus, I really thought I was losing my mind. I am in love with my husband, madly in fact. Now all of a sudden, I can’t stand the way he smells. WTH is going on? And it’s not just his smell, but my own that is putting me off. How in the hell am I supposed to explain all this to him? I’m so crabby and sad. Between the flashing and the sweating and the stinking, I just don’t know what to do. I have an appointment with my Gyno soon and I am grateful to have stumbled upon this discussion. Please include me in your conversation. I hope it’s possible because I no longer use Facebook. Thanks. Quiggles

    1. sorry for the late replay. I too had the smell thing, it reminded me of being pregnant all over again!!! This is a confusing time where we often do not recognise the person we have become. I am so sorry you are having such a bad time of things, and I think I can relate to this. I am glad the blog helped and I will continue to write about menopause so we truly start to get to the bottom of what women really go through. If it helps I have a private facebook support group http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard and am in the midsts of writing a book on the subject.

  19. I can’t express how much I am feeling not alone in my hell atm, I’m not a fitness instructor but have always kept as fit and healthy as possible.
    The last 3 years have become, for want of an entirely accurate description ‘unbearable’
    The mind games I play with me are getting to resemble a chess game where you lose your queen in the first few un-strategic moves and the pawns (like me) are depressed and no use whatsoever.
    My marriage is, Let’s just say, present yet null, my husband suffering too I am well aware of but I’m no help to him as I feel I need more help than he. Selfish? Or desperate? Possibly both.
    I’m 51, menopause struck following a hysterectomy at 23 yo from cancer scare, years of energy and positive active life, then 3 years ago my hell and (insane bouts of self assessing and sweats that resembled a scene in Titanic) unleashed.
    Right now (and for past 12 months) I think I have the full gamut of post menopausal symptoms.
    Sweats, chills, depression, aches, migraines with aura, lethargy, insomnia or both if that’s a thing, lack of motivation, confusion, memory loss, dry skin, itchy skin, Vag soreness and (first time I’ve had the courage to mention this to anyone bar my husband) extreme pain with intercourse, among a few other less hellish symptoms.
    My depression and lack of marrital intimacy are absolutely hellish and unbearable.
    I live in a regional town (I call it clinically primitive) and doctors here are not terribly great at support, follow ups, or have much interest in investigating my symptoms. Doesn’t help that they are mostly under the age of 30 and have no idea how to relate compassionately.
    Life for me right now is close to (this is being kind the menopausal process) sitting for exams without study, finding the answers with no knowledge on a subject that I was never taught.
    I’ve tried humouring myself and seeking happy thoughts and surrounding myself with as many happy people as I can find, but even humour isn’t helping. My laughing is now a mask and becoming noticed more and more.
    Your blog has helped me by knowing I’m not alone and I am extremely grateful to see the topic being discussed without shame.
    To be able to read the above blog and responses and smile genuinely at each one has helped immensely so I thank you. It’s been the virtual hug I need. X
    Now I must go for my forced interval walk, if I remember how to get back home, my gps is my new bff 😉🌷

    1. sorry about the delay in responding, but thank you so much for sharing your story with me. This is a scary time where we often do not recognise the person we have become. I am so sorry you are having such a bad time of things, and I think I can relate to this. I am glad the blog helped and I will continue to write about menopause so we truly start to get to the bottom of what women really go through. If it helps I have a private facebook support group http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard and am in the midsts of writing a book on the subject. Regarding the migraines, a few things you can do to lessen the severity are: Magnesium each night 400mg, minimising stress, getting enough sleep, resting as soon as you get the onset of one, reducing caffeine, sugars and alcohol and finally, get medical help if you haven’t already. Thanks Amanda x

  20. Oh tee hee……if you think this stops after one year after your periods have stopped, you’re sorely mistaken. I’m 4 years post menopause and it’s got worse! More flushes, insomnia, mood swings from hell, anxiety, dry skin etc etc……Post menopause hell is jyst another layer. Hey ho…….

    1. hey ho I know you are right!!! I know the symptoms don’t stop, but I do know they lessen, the more severe ones in peri-menopause. This is quite a unique journey for us all and I love feedback like this from my readers. I hope you are doing ok!

  21. I am so happy to find this blog. I was just in tears talking to my husband tonight and trying to explain to him that I was mentally insane. I can’t even explain how many times a day I have to tell myself that I am ok…it is not a brain tumor that is making me forget everything. It is not some sort of disease that is making me feel like I am a confused weirdo that can’t solve the simplest of problems. I had an endometrial ablation 10 years ago and then a follow up for continued issues this past May. My doc did a hysteroscopy and cleaned up fibroids etc. Since that procedure in May, I have felt like a complete and utter crazy person. I have always worked out daily and now cannot find the energy or drive to get out of bed. I have a terrible time focusing on what people are saying and am scared to death that I won’t be able to comprehend it anyways. I don’t want to learn anything new…because I think I am incapable of learning. I am literally losing my mind! I am 48 years old and was told a couple of years ago that I was in perimenopause… I have no periods due to the ablation, so I now have no idea where I am in the process, but I know that I either have something dreadful that is stealing my life, or I am in the throws of menopause. Thank you for giving me hope that I am not losing my mind.

    1. Thanks for the comment Sarah. Listen we have all been there, it’s a shitshow, but honestly when you know more and get clued into what to expect then things become so much less stressful. I am writing a book, its called The Menopocalypse, I cover all this, in my true unique way. What might help you is that I have a closed Facebook group called Menopausing So Hard and honestly it’s been a godsend to most of us. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard

  22. I think somehow our generation seem to be getting menopause worse than previous generations, probably because of all the rubbish they have put in food/ synthetic hormones in the environment, etc. in the last 50 years. Or maybe previous generations didn’t know what was wrong with them, putting it down to something else, and of course it wasn’t talked about, or it was made fun of.

    I occasionally get stress-triggered shingles with or without a rash, and believe I had the internal, rashless version for the last month. I caught a cold virus on top of that, and where everybody else was experiencing a cold, I was in bed for over a week as I felt I had been literally punched and kicked everywhere. My whole organ systems were out of whack and with odd twinges of pain – heart, liver, intestines, the lot, not to mention it was “the week before”.

    I was on the verge of calling an ambulance, but in my experience doctors and hospitals are so useless, and wouldn’t be able to do anything anyway, that I thought I would almost rather die from flu than go to hospital and probably pick up yet another infection.

    I have met so many women the same age and they have experienced the symptoms described on this page and elsewhere, and put it down to something else, with the resulting treatments being potentially harmful.

    It’s almost best to know what is happening, reduce stress and worry as much as you can, drink plenty of fluids, eat what you fancy when you fancy, and avoid doctors, hospitals, and medications as far as possible.

    1. Thanks for your comment Kat. I honestly feel the same. Opening up the dialogue, making this conversation a norm is key to women feeling so confused and isolated.

  23. Yes I call this HELL! I never write stuff on the internet but it’s nice to hear what others are going through. I’m currently 36 and am going though “mentalpause”…As I call it. It really started 1.5 years ago. I got MAJOR anxiety( never had that before) went on medication for it. And then a long dang list of everything…pools of sweat at night, hot flashes, hive rashes from head to toe, eczema, Charlie horses in my feet, freezing cold feet even though I’m on fire, stinky arm pits, fatugie, just feeling not myself, and the Nausea… OMG 🤢. Looking back I started having symptoms in my late 20’s. Didn’t think to much of it as I was young and very healthy, 5’6 120lbs, worked out 3 days a week and ate very balanced. Greens, veggies, meat, milk, water. That kind of thing. Everyone said “oh your to young”. After hearing that several times I wanted to punch everyone in the face that said that. I’m not making this up and most women don’t go through it this early but if you do hang in there things will get better… so I’m told. My biggest thing is to let your partner know what the heck is going on with you even if your not sure. I’ve been married for 17 years and at first my husband was very taken back by my limitations because I was always a “ super wife” which put a huge damper on my mental state because I couldn’t do what I wanted to. But because I have told him what I need and can or can’t handle he has been a huge support. It won’t last forever! I feel like nobody prepairs you for this crap. And you woman that “ brezze” through this… count yourselves blessed.

    1. Wow that is hard Samen. Yes you are very young to be going through menopause but for sure it happens and I am horrified that people don’t believe you. Have you visited a specialist, a GYN who can run blood work for you and test your hormones levels. Hormone Replacement Therapy might be a good option for you and I highly suggest you reach out to your specialist to discuss it because you simply don’t have a great quality of life.

      Thank you for sharing, I completely understand it must have been hard.

      Also if you are on Facebook then I am going to suggest that you head over to my private community group called Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Amanda x

  24. Love reading all your stories help me a lot l am 51 years period up in the air brain fog like u wouldn’t believe felt so healthy last few years never ending gastrinitus problems nearly every month stomach off never had before please tell me I am not the only one x

    1. you are definitely not the only one and yes GI issues are horrible and very common. I am sorry you are going through this, there are a number of things you can do to help with the gut problems and bloating. I might direct you to an instagram post I made about it here.
      https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs8hIQHhe75/
      Also if you are on Facebook then I am going to suggest that you head over to my private community group called Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Amanda x

  25. I can relate to every single thing you discussed, and I appreciate an article that finally mentions some of these things. I began perimenopause at age 40 and periods completely stopped at age 45 (I am 49). I am now wondering if the sudden onset of very painful, daily headaches is due to menopause. I’ve been at a loss as to figuring out why, as I’ve never had headaches before except rarely. Sex is excruciatingly painful-I mean “I need something to bite so I don’t scream” painful. It is not a lube thing-I’ve poured what seemed like half a bottle on myself before and it didn’t help. I had my mammogram today in order for the doctor to prescribe me vaginal estrogen. She explained that loss of elasticity in there makes it feel like my husband’s penis is going into an unbending tube and let me tell you, that hurts like hell. If this happens to anyone else, talk to your dr. about the cream. It is supposed to rejuvenate your vagina haha!. Don’t even get me started on the anxiety and depression. My next dr. appointment is with a psychiatrist. I’m taking things personally, forgetting many things on a daily basis, and I am seriously considering HRT, at least in a low dose perhaps. My sister had breast cancer, so of course that’s a concern. At least my hot flashes stopped after I was done with perimenopause. Also, the nausea and vomiting got much better, but still occur occasionally. Hang in there, ladies!! I do think it gets better, but I’m starting to wonder if this is my “new normal.” And I, too, wonder why some women breeze through this!

    1. firstly Cindy, sorry for the late response by me. Next, please don’t start wondering if this is your new normal, it certainly isn’t. I personally felt the same way, especially when I wrote this article a few years ago….I am now menopausal and feel much less symptomatic and also my mental health has improved. If you are on Facebook then I am going to suggest that you head over to my private community group called Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.

  26. I just want to say that my pre menopause has been severe. Started with having trouble swallowing, then went to full blown panic disorder. I presented at the ED with blood pressure through the roof, then found out I had excessively high cholesterol. Heart pain, now nausea. I have been forced to change my diet, and despite looking well, when I am having a good day its a great day, but the rollercoaster can change in an instant to the point when I am out socializing I have to return home because I get a panic attack and cannot breathe. I am 45 and my doctor said I was too young for pre menopause. I have sworn off the medical industry now. I will handle this by myself. I am also irrational and sometimes depressed, excessively anxious and usually worried that I have a terminal illness. Despite anything physiological being ruled out. I know that it is linked to hormone fluctuations, because sometimes all this disappears and I am my normal self. It is so severe it is ruining my life, by one day at a time.

    1. You are not too young. This is such a disappointing comment to hear from you, GP’s are just not trained to help women through menopause, I have interviewed them – in undergrad or post-grad, menopause is completely ignored. Please go and see a GYN if you can, or a menopause specialist. I started perimenopause at 38 years old and that is completely within the norm. Anxiety is a massive symptom of perimenopause and is directly related to your falling hormones. Please please go and see a specialist.
      Listen if you want to find women who are going through the same thing as you, to connect with them, please come over to my facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard

  27. Hi

    Just found your blogg and dont ever post anything, however, just wanted to respond after reading the various comments from women. Found this really helpful, I have not had a period in over 1.5 years so am firmly in menopause now. The most difficult thing for me is the brain fog, forgetfullness, word finding difficulties and am wondering if other women are finding this as a symptom of menopause ? Am too scared to go to the GP, as terrified it may be something else, i.e. dementia. Are there other women out there experiencing these symptoms and if so, is there anything I can take to help ??

    1. Oh yes brain-fog, memory lapse and other cognitive problems are very much a symptom of perimenopause. I have seen extensive studies on this. The good news is that this seems to improve when entering menopause. I have to tell you I experienced this really HARD but seem to have come out the other side. Also for me, I started taking HRT and it has changed my life!! I feel completely normal again.

      Listen if you want to find women who are going through the same thing as you, to connect with them, please come over to my facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard

  28. I’ve had every symptom that has been talked about here. I’m in menopause hell. I took estrogen for a long time and I felt fine. I want to go back on

    1. You should totally consider going back on, it’s safe! Thanks for commenting on the post and also if you are on Facebook then I am going to suggest that you head over to my private community group called Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Amanda x

  29. I’m laughing and crying at the same time. On top of all of this, I am taking care of 2 elderly parents with health issues – 3 moves in a year! – and running my own business. Why does the avalanche happen all at once? I am 54. I can deal with many symptoms with a sign, groan, or sometimes laugh, but not sleeping because of hot flashes and freezing, joint aches, and headaches are killing me. And I cannot have even 1 glass of wine without being in agony the next day. One girlfriend told me, oh, hmmm….come to think of it, mine just stopped and I did not have any symptoms. XX#!!??#XX Glad for her but grrrrrr. One thing I have found is a product called Aloecadabra. Not only provides moisture and feels natural, but also feels like it is healing the next day, I guess because of the aloe properties. Exercise daily has become a must, even if just a short walk or light stretching, both for physical circulation and mental unwinding. Thanks for everyone posting.

    1. If you didn’t laugh then you would go mad don’t you think! Also if you are on Facebook then I am going to suggest that you head over to my private community group called Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Amanda x

  30. oh and did I mention my hair is falling out in gobs and not coming back? Guess I will have to start looking into some colorful scarves….the other stuff will eventually level out (I hope…) but hair will not spontaneously grow back. 🙁

  31. At 52 I was a supe rfit and lean powerlifter with a physically hard but fun job and bags of energy and stamina. Then my periods just stopped. I thought this was a blessing and was very happy – until within a month, my health collapsed.
    I have had three years of sheer hell including sudden onset severe asthma, going from 130lb to 195lb in 2 years partially due to immobiity caused by a slipped disc in my lower back which just “happened” while I was sitting reading, chronic painful post nasal drip which leaves me rasping, breathless and unable to speak, vaginal atrophy which means not “dryness” at all, but everything stops working and you are so sore it hurts even to wash yourself. Sex is out. I actually have before and after pictures from aged 52 to 55 i which I look like I have aged TWENTY YEARS. My doctor, who I trust, says all the health problems I have are due to menopause and are not at all unusual, but people just don’t like talking about them. I disagree on principle with using the urine of tortured pregnant horses (Premarin etc) to try and make myself artificially “better” (HRT) and my doctor says as soon as people stop taking it, their symptoms come back again. HRT is a “workhorse” drug to keep women going until retirement, and then they won’t let you have it. Be prepared for everything ladies. I was not.

    1. Menopause is so challenging, I am so keen to open the dialogue and help women realise that they are not alone and not going crazy! Thanks for reaching out Lynnda. Also if you are on Facebook then I am going to suggest that you head over to my private community group called Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Amanda x

    2. It’s been awhile but I just wanted to comment because I was in a similiar state as you and I could not stomach the cruelty involved in producing Premarin either – I don’t honestly know how the Animal Cruelty Society has not gotten involved. It is appalling. In any case, there are LOTs of other, plant-based estrogens that are even bioidentical (which Premarin is not). I hope you’ve already discovered this yourself (assuming you would be willing to take any HRT) but, just in case, I wanted to post. I have gone on it and it changed my life. Perhaps it is cheating but, then, in my opinion, there is no point in being a martyr. There is no prize at the end of the day for ‘suffering through it’ and if it makes you feel better, why not? You, of course, may not agree which is your right. but I still wanted to mention it. Good luck to you

  32. Hey Amanda, bloody loved your blog and all the posts from the girls….
    I went perimenopausal about 42, falling in love, periods all over the shop, nasty..
    Got to 49 and a half then hot flushes every hour, periods even more irregular, even more crazy brain…. So I tried Soya Milk which for me almost demolished hot flushes but my mood changed. Got really tired and miserable. So stopped Soya late Feb 2019. Then my hot flushes came back but not so bad but depression got worse – anxiety increased. Then lost my ability to sleep. Then lost my appetite.
    Been without a period now since Halloween 2018. Can’t sleep. No appetite. Miserable. Can’t be arsed. Tits, arse and middle got fat even though I am not eating hardly anything. Skin peeling off. Hair greasy even when washed. Smell downstairs permanently like a haddock even though I shower more often.
    Basically I am fucked until whenever…. Good luck lovely ladies!xx

    1. Just reading through the posts, apologies for being late to the party..”basically I am fucked until whenever” This made me feel better in a depressing kind of way! Reading everyones comments on here is actually giving me some sense of not just being alone in all this. So, this is my fourth day in bed with nausea, vomiting, fatigue and dizziness. All my oestrogen has drained away with the last horrible, heavy period ive just had. They come every 3 months with stubborn regularity and leave me wasted afterwards, like totally ravaged. This one has been the worst in terms of aftermath. I curreny look like that Helena Bonham Carter character in Harry Potter. Obvs can’t remember her name because my memory is non-existent.
      Does anyone have any advice on managing the oestrogen crash after a particularly heavy perimenopausal period please? Im convinced all of my symptoms atm are related to this. Im reluctant to see my GP like so many ladies on here as they just look at you like you’re slightly insane, want to hand you a script, and get the next patient in. Im feeling like this is a journey im not prepared for, didn’t want to go on, and im scared where its going to take me..

  33. Since about aged 44 entered perimenopause – periods irregular and getting heavy. Emotional, want to fall in love every five minutes. Nasty, snappy, broody even though never had a baby…
    Continues like this all my 40’s until 49 when I get REALLY heavy periods, want a baby….. then August/Sept 2018 start very irregular periods, start with mild hot flashes. By Xmas 2018 no periods since Halloween and have mega hot flushes, every hour….. have to buy a fan!
    Start taking soya milk, by Feb reduced hot flushes ✔️
    By March stop taking Soya cos it has fucked with my hormones… No sleep, very miserable, crying a lot.
    April 2019, hot flushes back but not as bad or often. But still no sleep or feeling of contented…..

    1. I am so sorry you are having such a shitty time. Honestly I hear this ALL THE TIME! Have you considered HRT? It sounds as though your symptoms are bad enough that you would benefit from reintroducing estrogen and progesterone into your life. If not then there are a ton of things you can focus on in your lifestyle. I write a lot about menopause in my Facebook group, Menopausing So Hard. It will help you feel less isolated and also you can have an open dialogue with other women who feel exactly the same as you. http://www.facebook.com/groups/menopausingsohard
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Amanda x

  34. Loved reading your story. It is almost identical to my own. I am currently 44 and my introduction into perimenopause was a migraine aura. I never heard of one before, so when my vision suddenly was filled with blind spots and flashing colorful lights, I was terrified. I also have vertigo and visual disturbances. In hindsight, I started peri around 38. Now, I have a heavy period every 20 days, anxiety through the roof, and a general flu-like feeling. No one tells you about peri/meno. I thought it was *just* hot flashes. How could I be a women and be so naive?! Thanks for the article.

  35. Like everyone here I was completely floored by the menopause, I think my total ignorance about the perimenopause caused me problems that I could have avoided if I had known there was a five year hellish lead-in to the menopause. I believed I was being poisoned by the laboratory work I was doing and left a good career because I felt so unwell. My doctor never mentioned the menopause even though I was in my forties. By the time I was so ill I needed to spend the best part of 2 years at home I was sure I was dying of some awful disease. My husband got a GP to visit after I spent a full fortnight in a red hot delirium and he just said ‘you’re having a breakdown’ and prescribed anti-depressants without either asking me any questions or doing a blood test. That is fairly typical of doctors I’ve seen, total ignorance mixed with misogyny. Eventually I saw a nurse practitioner for the extreme migraines and she helped me both with the headaches and by prescribing HRT. Most of all she listened and asked questions, that gave me faith that she was prescribing on the basis of my symptoms and personal situation. HRT has helped me a lot, along with high quality vitamin and omegas supplement and migraine meds. I am back at work, still very tired, full of aches and not feeling great at all but much better than 4 years ago. Hope that we can together educate women and doctors about this, because nobody really needs this hassle to go on for years – doctors may not care about women but perhaps they can at least spare our husbands, family and employers this nightmare.

    1. Hi Inga!

      I totally get what you said about feeling like you are dying from a terrible disease! I am by no means a hypochondriac but lately with how crappy I’ve been feeling it makes you wonder. Hang in there! It’s nice to hear from others to know we are not alone.

      XO
      Stefanie

  36. Omg, I had genuinely given up hope of ever getting my ‘life back’ then I read your blog. Just realising there were others out there with the same symptoms was a huge relief. The anxiety and depression were the worst-I had never connected them with the onset of perimenopause. Not knowing that joint aches, migraines and weightgain can too be symtoms. The feel of isolation and lack of understanding from health professionals all added to my shear fustration. Thank goodness for all these like minded women who share their thoughts and emotions. Together we’ll get there. Small steps ladies ❤

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  38. I agree about smells! I am in perimenopause and started smelling like a fox/ hellebore plant “down there” a few years ago, and only shaving all hair off and washing with hand wash after every trip to the loo will sort it out. Also got stinky pits, sweating like a pig in mud MOST of time, cannot get sleep as the sweating comes in waves (I start sweating, then get too cold, then get hot again) and it has been like this for about 3 years now.

    People ask me what is the matter with me, and I have so many life problems atm including unemployment and homelessness, that I just want to tell them to eff off!

  39. Thank you Ms. Amanda for speaking openly about menopause as a transition state
    I think most of women are worried and anxious because of the psychology of numbers. number 50. everybody since childhood has been thinking when “I get 50 I will be old”.
    of course, the concentration of some hormones will influence women’s behavior and body, especially skin.
    I am 24 and searching for my mom to help her to pass through this transition state and then get relax (not old). I like to get 50 because I will be relaxed of having period pains and troubles, which sometimes prevents us to sleep, to go to university, to study, to exercise.
    please celebrate your 50 in your heart for yourself and enjoy your life without trouble. and don’t pay attention to the lines which appear in your faces. these lines make your face more cute and kind.

  40. menopause is a transition state and not getting old of course. changes in the concentration of some hormones will cause some changes in women’s behavior and body.
    I am 24 and searching about menopause for my mom to know how i should behave and help her to pass through this transition state and then get relax (not old) and I think it is my duty.
    most of women are worried and anxious about 50 and menopause because for many years we have been thinking that when we get 50 we will have menopause and this means getting old.
    but menopause actually means feeling relax and living without troubles related to periods.

  41. I’m almost 47. I think I’ve been going through peri menopause since I was about 36…. but the last few months I am so itchy everywhere I can’t even begin to describe it. At first I was itchy in my groin and under my breasts but now it’s mostly from my groin up to my head – just half of me! And I get especially itchy at night. But I have no rash anywhere just misery. I have been doing some reading and found a website where a lady talks about eating low histamine foods during the times of menopause so I am going to give that a try. It’s hard not to think that I have something majorly wrong with me because let’s face it, I find most of my answers on Google which I know is not right….But it’s hard to find anyone who has my symptoms. Like it’s concerning! I hope I find someone on here who has itching probs and can shed some light and hope on the situation!! 🙏🙏 Thank you!!

  42. I’m 45, and started with all symptoms in my late 30s. They are still going on…
    GP will not prescribe HRT despite my going for multiple tests. When I had huge fibroids 3 years ago and my oestrogen results on the test were clearly through the roof, the GP just said “oh that’s normal”.
    Anyway I have suffered with period problems all my life and my cynical response to those who don’t suffer until the menopause is “oh, welcome to the club”.
    List of symptoms:
    1) Before perimenopause (I.e. from age 10):
    *Flooding (no one I talked to at the time bar my mum had experienced this. They gave me funny looks when I tried to talk about it)
    *Massively explosive temper probably mistaken for mental illness
    *Constant crying, I used to pray that I would not start crying as once I started I could not stop
    *Acne (for 30 years)
    *Infertility (which has made my continuous suffering absolutely f-ing pointless)
    *Fibroids (it was discovered upon a scan that my womb was almost all fibroid and no womb)
    *IBS, diarrhoea, bloating, you name it
    *Migraine, without fail, every 1st day of the month
    *Period pain so bad I could not walk
    *Painful fibrocystic breasts (my ex husband used to come up behind me and squeeze them deliberately, and eventually I got wise to when he was approaching and used to thump him one before he could get nasty)
    *Vomiting from pain (at this point I went to GP, as OTC medications did not work. She prescribed me a set of 6 high strength painkillers and said “if these don’t work you’ll have to go to A & E, because there’s nothing more we can do for you”)
    2) During perimenopause:
    *Fibroids growing so big they got in the way of my digestion
    *Vision changes – dramatic over last year
    *Morning sickness
    *IBS, diarrhoea, bloating
    *Feeling like death whenever I get my period
    *3 periods in a month! Sometimes. Then nothing for ages
    *Abuse of alcohol (previously, I never drank)
    *Loss of appetite
    *Nails that won’t grow
    *Hair that won’t grow properly and falls out in handfuls
    *Greasiness, sweatiness, smelliness despite having baths/ showers (the only thing that combats this is using turmeric and fenugreek in cooking)
    *Hot flushes and night sweats for 3 years continuously. I would get so hot I slept naked on top of the covers, then got cold again and dived under the covers again. 5 minutes later the whole process began all over again and in the morning I would be lying in a pool of my own sweat and still not have gotten any sleep
    *A variation on the above where I was so burning up one morning that I took a cold shower. After the cold shower I had a freezing flush and could not get warm. I had to lie in bed with 2 hot water bottles all morning
    *Seriously bad depression (I tried committing suicide 3 times in a weekend once and it didn’t work so I gave up on that one)
    *Shouting at people a lot. Particularly younger Millennial women who think they are all that, and who get my goat
    *Crashing tiredness
    *Bleeding receding gums
    *Aches everywhere. The latest is chronic backache, breast pain and tennis elbow in both arms even though I do not do any heavy lifting. I feel like 99 and as though all I can do is sleep
    *On top of all that, issues with homelessness, unemployment, finances, bereavement and general lack of stability

    Reading through all this, I am amazed I have managed to get anything done at all during my life.

    I hate the fact that women are so pressured to “have it all” these days, it is sort of a pathetic attitude and actually quite nonproductive for society. For myself, what has worked best is not putting too much pressure on myself, trying to sleep as much as I can and doing as much Art as I can (after a 5 year hiatus).

    I really do think that being a woman completely ruined my life. I was a happy little girl before the age of 10, but when periods happened, bam, it just all went down the toilet, literally. Academically, socially, you name it.

    To those women who have never had any symptoms with periods or menopause, and who “sail through it”, I don’t want to say I hate you, but I do.

  43. last period was when I turned 51 had almost no pre symptoms but from when it stopped I have had such bad hot and cold flashes 7.5 min appart for 3-4 hours in the morning’s and them again late evenings and into the night drives me crazy and the migraines are horrid! I am 55 now so you have butt cheek sliding down (gravity) Boob sagging, skin above the knee sagging, and overly dry leg and arm skin to look forward to lol You are changing completely once again against your will and are pretty much at the mercy of your hormones or lack of even your brain chemistry changes I hated banana’s and Avocado’s all my like now I love them so yep even your taste buds will change! Crap the depression only got worse so check that now. and it can last up to 12 years sooo prepare for the worst hope for the close to best you can get to livable ! sorry that this does not go away when you stop bleeding its just the beginning : (

  44. I lost my Husband to another lady, we’ve married for 5 years and he is all i could call a true best friend and best in all , the man that handle my problems perfectly , the man that sacrifices for my happiness . I wanted him back in my life . I was so confused . i went online for relationship books while i came across a spell caster called “ROBINSON BUCKLER”. I read about him, reviews and testimonies so i contacted him immediately, explained my problems to him. Same day, He cast a spell for me and assured me of 48 hours that my husband will return to me and to my greatest surprise after 48 hour my husband came knocking on my door and begged for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again, I wouldn’t stop talking about him. Contact him today if you need his help and he can cure Herpes: email robinsonbucler @gmail com ………🙂

  45. Great article thank you! I am 41 years old and in full menopause. Periods totally stopped when I was 38. I’m wondering why you are looking forward to periods stopping totally? Are things supposed to get better then? For me it is still hell. The depression and moodiness and hot flashes have not gone away at all but definitely get slightly better if I follow a strict diet and do lots of exercise and yoga. I’m wondering if this hell will ever stop though as I feel like I’m losing myself and wondering what the point of everything is. But it sounds like you have it well managed which is great. Good luck and thanks for speaking so much of what we are all going through.

  46. I’m so glad I found all of these unique but relatable experiences. I really thought I was going doolally. 🤪

    What saddens me is a lot of people tend to shove the subject of menopause under the carpet. Which has forced us to be silence.

    I am going for a blood test to see if I am menopausal. Looking at everyone’s hellish experiences looks like we are related to each other. I also am having strange feelings in my body. I think it’s the menopause.

    1. I sometimes feel like a spiders’ crawling on my back.
    2. Tingling in my fingers
    3. Peeing regularly
    4. Low mood boarder line depression.
    5. I’ve lost weight maybe because I’m anxious about taking the blood test
    6. Dread feelings like I’m dying.

    Amanda, you nailed this. I just love your honesty and “say it as it is” approach. When you finish writing your book I’m the first person who will buy it.

    All the best in this hellish journey.

  47. I am not the only one in HELL…but I just feel very alone. don’t have any friends going thru this at this time and older friends don’t wanna talk about it, mom had a couple hot flashes that’s it.
    Everyday is a nightmare… not just how I feel but looking in the mirror makes me me so upset. I WAS beautiful, people told me all the time. And now I everything has gone to shit since my period stopped about a year and a half ago. I have gained much weight and it went to my belly and arms, my shoulders look like a football player and my breasts are moving into my armpits. I am not in any photos anymore and find myself avoiding seeing anyone because I am embarrassed of what I look like now.
    I can barely write this because I can hardly remember how to spell, haven’t slept for monthes it seems, I sweat so much at night my bed feels like it is a sauna. I feel sorry for my husband , he doesn’t know what to do when I start crying about how awful I feel , he just gets mad a t me that “I am beautiful to him and that’s all that matters.”
    And so many other horrible things happening to me…..somebody tell me this will end??? please….

  48. WOW! Thank you. Thank you. So good to be able to draw all these strands together and to know that I am not just falling apart at every seam. Apart from the migraines (which debilitatingly dogged me during puberty so I sympathise wholeheartedly) you just described my experience. Great blog.

  49. Loving the dwarves……
    However, not that I’m trying to burst any bubbles, but 2 years since last period and menopause only now kicking in…..perimenopuase was a breeze. Now have achy joints, and I mean REALLY achy joints that keep me awake all night, carpal tunnel syndrome, hot flashes every 40 minutes day and night, am sweating, irritable, stupid, forgetful and fat…….tried HRT but got horrible, long, painful, exhausting periods back
    AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    Stuck between a rock and a hard place ladies, a rock and a hard place….

  50. Omg yes, I have been premenopausing and it sucks. I noticed that now I am not in the mood anymore for sex like I used to be. Things feel drier down there and not like it used to be. Not to mention the hot flashes, the last thing I want to do is have sex while sweating so much. I read an article that brought some insight to taking control of my sex life while going through menopause, https://www.ez.insure/landing/2019/12/how-to-own-menopause-and-your-sex-life/ It’s a great read. What are your thoughts about sex while going through menopause?

  51. I am so thankful I found this. I have had been under a lot of stress and don’t take crap lately. Ever since I hit 48 bam…I had a partial hysterectomy in my thirties so I really had no clue this was coming. I would say I started with the moods, hot flashes at night, and just got diagnosed with vertigo. I am in peri menopause my blood work confirmed it. I can say I’m not handling this very well. I’m not ready for this.

  52. My symptoms got much, much worse, and for 5 years, *after* my periods stopped.
    The actual cessation of cycle was only the beginning. Symptoms don’t improve for everyone at that point. Far from it.

  53. No, it really doesn’t get any better post-menopause and I hate to tell women this but, for many, it doesn’t. And no the symptoms don’t lessen either.

    I’m 5 years post menopause and still suffering from headaches, aches and pains, nausea almost every other day, asthma so bad most days I feel like I’m suffocating, the inability to draw a deep breath due to air hunger, hot flashes etc.

    I exercise for 1-2 hours every day, I’m vegan and eat very very healthily, I have never smoked, I drink a glass of wine probably once every few months and I do yoga. Even with all this, keeping the weight off is a massive struggle.

    I have tried every natural ‘remedy’ in the world, nothing works and now I have pretty much given up on them. I did go on HRT for 6 months, which stopped the hot flashes, but made me bloated and sick and gaining even more weight so I came off that. Nowadays, I just struggle through my days doing as well as I can and, most of the time, try not to think about it.

    One day maybe it will go away but..I doubt it. My mother still struggles some days, and she’s in her 80s.

  54. Thank you Amanda and everyone who posted here. I’m in this boat for sure, just turned 50 and the last year has been h-e-double hockey sticks awful in terms of my mental health and hormonal symptoms. I wanted to recommend the amazing Dr. Sara Gottfried’s books and website. She is an amazing thought leader on all of this as well as a woman who gets it herself. Unlike male doctors, she’s living it too, and has tried most of the treatments on herself. Best of luck to all of you. I’m about to consult with a naturopath for more help. This shit sucks!!! Thanks for sharing. Ps: acupuncture! Very helpful. And yoga. And like 5 hours a day of self care activities you don’t have time for unless you’re very wealthy.

  55. Thanks for the information. My wife is going through this and it is HELL. We have been together for over 30 years. Now nothing I do is right. I get yelled at for stupid things and her periods last over 3 weeks. Then in a few days it starts over. There seems to be no end in sight. I really want her to feel better but this has been going on so long she just tells me to get used to it. Hoping this will not go on forever.

  56. I am really sick of this issue not being addressed in the medical community. I actually know of no woman in my life who is not on anti-depression medicine except for myself and one other woman who chose not to take cancer treatment and instead dealt with it dietarily which was extremely brave and effective. But most of us go to the doctor and say hey I’m not feeling good help me. And the only thing they can do is say well your mood swings and your depression and all that you should be feeling good so I’m gonna give you some medicine for it. Then when you go to the doctor they don’t say it well how’s your shoulder hardware from your bicycle accident feeling, or how’s your thyroid medicine working for you or how’s that RA we diagnosed you with? If you’re female the first thing they ask you is so how is your mood? Every single woman I know is on antidepressants (Except for me and I would be but I have SSRI syndrome so I have five different ones in a bag that I’ve tried and I just can’t take them. I literally get so sick I wind up in the hospital) But the problem isn’t us being female it’s that they aren’t doing some thing about these weird hormone things. And the reason I even found this blog is because my breasts have become so annoying that I want to get them surgically removed. They itch so badly that I have to spray them with burn spray to stop them from tormenting me so I can read and work. And this is been going on for at least four years. And I just can’t stand it anymore. I’m completely asexual because I don’t want to be touchedBut I would have a partner if somebody wanted me but men don’t want older women. So nobody is interested and I am so unhappy because of my weird hormones that I don’t take care of myself anymore. So it would be easy to get my breasts cut off because I’m facing being an old lady and not wanted by anyone. And then it doesn’t help to have this meme out there to describe all of us. And I feel sorry for all the people named Karen. But seriously isn’t it bad enough that we’re going through this without people calling us names because we can’t handle these up-and-down hormones and the shitty way we feel all the time? I can’t stand it. And why do we have to starve ourselves and not eat anything to feel better? Half the population of the world is female why can’t we address the last half of our lives medically?And then if you drink too much people are quick to call you an alcoholic and tell you that you have a mental problem and then you need to go to a support group that tells you you’re helpless and crazy and then you need to go to therapy. Well that’s a great way to end a life where I gave up a lot to make money and get a doctorate degree and be successful for it to end this way. In humiliation because of my female hormones. Absolutely disgusting and unconscionable. Even if my life sucks I hope people do something about this for the next generation.

  57. And to quickly follow up with what I just said and forgot to say before is I don’t know of any man who is on antidepressants. It just seems to be what they do with women and it’s just curious and strange that every woman I know is on antidepressants but no man I know is on antidepressants. And I would totally take them and I’ve tried several different ones but because I have serotonin syndrome. The issue for me responding to this blog isn’t what medicine women should take or not take. It’s that men aren’t in need of it. Which means that the medical community is putting a Band-Aid on it by prescribing medicine that some people can’t take. And a lot of us don’t want to take it. There should be another way besides going vegan. And that really isn’t a life if you have a family because there are certain foods that people want to have and it’s weird if you can’t eat it. you’re vegan so you can control your hormones. That to me is not a life. I have been trying it and I don’t think it’s fair or right that women have to exercise their ass off and not eat anything to feel normal and in combination take these terrible medicines that make you feel gross. we have done warp speed to get a vaccination for Covirus and I would do the math here and say a quarter of the population needs help with the hormones. Because half for women and then half of that are reaching an age where they need help and then the rest are coming up behind and they’re going to need help so we need a solution for this.

  58. Inga, I also left a scientific career thinking I was being poisoned by my job. And maybe I was. I never thought that it was menopause but maybe it was. I keep posting here because I also I’m not on Facebook. I just wonder is there any hope? This has been going on too long. I have spent so much money on sports bras and I was always flat chested. I have to wear FOUR SPORTS BRAS to jog. I have been a distance athlete my entire life until a car hit me on a bicycle trip which took me out just long enough to put on enough fat for the breasts to start signaling and growing and now I’m battling it and it’s driving me bat crap crazy because I can’t keep up with it. Sometimes I’ll exercise FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT. Most days I do not eat at all and reward myself with wine which goes straight to my boobs. And I just don’t seem to be able to manage any of this anymore. I can’t stand it.

  59. Inga, I also left a scientific career thinking I was being poisoned by my job. And maybe I was. I never thought that it was menopause but maybe it was. I keep posting here because I also I’m not on Facebook. I just wonder is there any hope? This has been going on too long. I have spent so much money on sports bras and I was always flat chested. I have to wear FOUR SPORTS BRAS to jog. I have been a distance athlete my entire life until a car hit me on a bicycle trip which took me out just long enough to put on enough fat for the breasts to start signaling and growing and now I’m battling it and it’s driving me bat crap crazy because I can’t keep up with it. Sometimes I’ll exercise FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT. Most days I do not eat at all and reward myself with wine which goes straight to my boobs. And I just don’t seem to be able to manage any of this anymore. I can’t stand it.

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