Do you feel moody, tired all the time, breast tenderness, hot flashes, irregular periods, mood swings or difficulty sleeping? Of course we could be describing a lot of different conditions here, but if you are basically a healthy person and starting to feel some of these symptoms in your early to mid-thirties, don’t rule out peri-menopause (“before menopause.”) Doctors give us the impression that woman cannot experience peri-menopause until we are in our 40’s, but that is not true in everyone.
Since symptoms vary from person to person, how do you know if what you are experiencing is peri-menopause? Start by keeping a calendar and start tracking your cycles. Any changes – even being a few days late could be a sign of hormonal shifts. Also make notes on any changes…are periods heavier or lighter. Track other symptoms. If you suffer from headaches, anxiety and depressions only a week or two before your cycle and the symptoms are gone as soon as your menstrual period starts, then you probably have PMS. Peri-menopause symptoms usually don’t go away. If you go a couple of months noting these symptoms constantly, see your doctor. If they tell you it’s all in your head, see someone else – perhaps a place that specializes in hormone replacement. There is no need to suffer, or make your family suffer. There are things that will balance your system and make you feel more like yourself.
If you prefer online tracking versus a written calendar, there are iphone/iPad apps available to help you track your cycle, mood and symptoms, like Pink Pad or Period Diary.