in five… four… three…
This is a very personal blog entry – it involves girly stuff and aging stuff and if either of those wig you out then I suggest you move right along to something else.
Since I have always been attuned to my body and its changes, I catch on early when something is new or different. There were major changes when my daughter began her monthly cycles – oy, the hormone overload in the house did a number on me – and then over the past six months or so I’ve noticed some things that recently have escalated and accumulated to the point where I have started paying serious attention.
Like the additional chin hairs. It seems like I have to pull several each week. Always a nuisance, these seem to be on a mission to see how fast they can populate my face before I catch on and tweeze them. It’s amazing how many can pop up overnight.
The dry skin. I have gone through a lot more lotion this winter/spring than normal, and the skin on the backs of my hands is getting that “old lady” texture. My daughter even commented on it, so I know it’s not just me.
The increased PMS. I never used to get anything, and now I have the full range from bloating to back ache to tenderness to downright crankiness. I’m a walking commercial. And cramps – they really hurt now, to the point I take Tylenol for them.
My cycle has never been regular, but it’s gotten even less regular — and it’s gotten heavier (TMI, I know. I warned you up front). For years I was blessed with what I always called an Inconvenient Period (as opposed to the Debilitating Period that so many of my friends seemed to get) but mine is being rebranded and I’ve had to change my monthly supplies to keep up. And just to keep things exciting, I now have mid-cycle spotting to deal with.
Then there is the mood swings. Heavens to murgatroid, I can feel them. One day I feel great, the next I want to cry.
My sleep has been off. I need less (which is kind of a good thing) but I also have more trouble falling asleep, and for the first time in my life I’ve started waking up in the middle of the night.
Never enthusiastic, my metabolism seems to have gone into hibernation – I am eating better than ever and exercising more and yet the fat, particularly around my belly, is more stubborn than ever.
And finally, my internal thermometer seems to have a hitch. I don’t experience night sweats or hot flashes, but I range from chilly to overly warm throughout the day (and night), when previously I never really thought about it. I’ve become a sweater-toter, a shawl-packer. Today, I even layered a cardigan.
Taken individually my symptoms are all ‘normal’ and experienced by most everyone at some point. What caught my attention is that these are all happening, every month. Combined with my age and family history, I’ve scheduled an appointment with my doctor to talk about these changes, because according to my research they all point in one direction: perimenopause. Not exactly exciting news, but if I’m right, then perhaps there are some additional lifestyle changes I can make to ease this process.