What’s it like being a woman on her journey through perimenopause? Well, you forget a lot of things, you lose sleep, you sweat a lot, you put on weight and you cry and get angry all in the same five minute period. All joking aside, for every woman going through this inevitable event, the journey is different. For some women, it’s a piece of cake (wait there’s cake)? For others it’s literally living through a horror movie on a continuous loop. So I thought I would share my journey through this and some of my solutions to the side effects I have had.
I feel pretty lucky that my side effects are not severe. Yes, I have hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, and depression. But I don’t have these so severe that it paralyzes me. I know that there are women who get severe symptoms and my heart goes out to those who suffer. I do know that there are a lot of “solutions” and it takes a lot of research, trial, and patience (of which most of us going through this have none) to find what will work best for each individual situation.
My first signs (like most) was my irregular period. I’d have one for 3 – 5 weeks, then none for 2 months. This was annoying, but luckily it wasn’t anything to be concerned with. Then I started having brain fog. I started to get really worried. I am young (ok, I’m 50 now, but started over a year ago). It was the simplest things, words for things, or just remembering. I blamed my high stress level from a job I was disenchanted with, but I was scared. So I started to research. And yes brain fog is a symptom of peri-menopause. And mostly it dissipates when you are through it. But I also wanted to get a remedy. I am a teacher, and when I am teaching and all of a sudden can’t find a word or forget what or how I was teaching, that’s a problem. So I learned that Omega 3s can help with this along with getting a good night’s sleep, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly. Ok…I got the diet and exercise down, I can increase the omega 3’s in my diet, but wtf…sleep. I have struggled with sleep since my son was a preteen.
But, I am not a quitter, so I researched ways to help me sleep. I started with turning off the electronics at least 30 minutes before I go to bed. I get ready – wash my face, put moisturiser on all my skin (another side effect), and then I read. Reading has always allowed me to turn my brain off of the day’s activities or to-do list and lose myself in a story. I also take 500 mg of magnesium. This helps with my restless leg syndrome (have had for many years) and helps with sleep. I also have a handy pair of ear plugs, because I sleep with snorlox (sorry honey).
My next symptom was night sweats and hot flashes. The hot flashes were never really bad. I didn’t break into a sweat or feel like I was on fire, and they didn’t last too long. The night sweats, however were pretty bad. They didn’t happen a lot, but when they did, it was a drench fest. I felt as though someone poured water on me. My hair would literally be dripping. This of course is not fun in the middle of the night. I tried to minimize it by keeping the bedroom cool, wearing cotton, cool pajamas, and not covering up with a big blanket (or any at all). That didn’t work. So I did what I do best…I researched it. I read a lot about black cohosh. I read a lot about HRT, bioidenticals, CBD oils, and all the natural remedies out there. Between my research and some testimonials, I tried Estroven: Sleep Cool. The first time I tried it, I had a terrible bout of night sweats. I said, “never again.” But I guess my brain fog got in the way, because I used it again. And I noticed that I slept better, no sweats. I continued using it and found that my hot flashes were fewer and my sleeping improved. So, I am a fan and am currently continuing using this product, because for me it works.
My last side effect is depression. I talked a lot about it here: https://fitscholarvickie.com/2018/06/25/the-blues/ . So I won’t go into a lot of the details. I attempted to use some prescribed antidepressants, but they didn’t work for me, or I didn’t have the patience to see if they would work. Partially I really don’t want to put pharmaceuticals in my body, if I can avoid it. I am a firm believer in nutrition to heal, so I turned to that. I am concentrating on an anti inflammatory diet. This includes foods rich in omega 3s, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. I am avoiding inflammatory foods like sugars, simple carbs, and gluten (especially white flour). I am also incorporating my morning ritual of meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, saying positive self affirmations and of course getting my exercise. It’s not a quick fix, but I can say I am starting to feel better. I am starting to feel like myself again. I am making goals, and taking the steps to get them achieved.
As I waltz through this journey, I will post about it. It might not be your time for the journey, or maybe you won’t go through it at all (if you are a male reading this). My reason is to just tell my story. It might be something that you find helpful or entertaining. For me it’s about embracing this journey for what it is. It’s a part of me. It’s a part of my life. I can either complain about it, or figure out how to manage it and (God willing) find the joy in it.
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