A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Perimenopause: Irritability is a mild way of putting it

Anyone who doesn't care to read about the effects of perimenopause can look away now. Come back another time, when normal blogging resumes.

When I was treated for cancer, they said that the chemo would bring on menopause earlier than I would have experienced normally.

I'm now in the throes of perimenopause (Source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/perimenopause):

per·i·men·o·pause
n.
The period of a woman's life characterized by physiological changes associated with the end of reproductive capacity and terminating with the completion of menopause. Also called climacteric.
I was remiss in my research of this change in my life and neglected to find out what I could expect (Source: http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/menopause/a/perimenopause.htm):
  • Hot flashes, night sweats, coldness
  • Irregular periods that can be heavy, light, shorter or longer cycles
  • Difficulty sleeping either getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • Mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Heart palpitations (if you experience any heart disturbances, always consult a physician)
  • Dry skin and/or hair loss
  • Loss of or decreased sexual desire
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Incontinence -- the inability to hold your urine
I've already had about six of these symptoms come up and bite me in the bum, but after some adjustment, I'm managing OK. There is one that is quite disconcerting.

Mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability

Mood changes that occur for a reason are easy to cope with: 
  • Someone dies, you are sad.
  • Someone is careless and breaks your late mother's vase, you are angry.
  • You win the lottery, you are happy.
  • You failed an exam, you feel depressed.
  • You get to spend the afternoon reading a book, you are content.
  • And so on...
But what about when you are having feelings that are not based on anything rational?
  • Woe-is-me thoughts while you sit in the shade of a tree on a beautiful sunny day watching your children play happily.
  • Having a complete tantrum because someone didn't pick up that sock.
  • Having a teary meltdown because you broke a nail. 
I cannot stand being out of control. So far I've only experienced irrational temper flare-ups, but that has been enough to unhinge me. I suspect my family are probably readying a padded cell for me. I've briefly explained to them about what's happening to me. I kind of had to after a monumental eruption over a trivial matter that left them all with strips torn off. It was not a proud moment, and it passed as quickly as it came, leaving us all shell-shocked.

PMS Cartoon
Image Source
My plan to combat the 'irritability' as this list so mildly puts it, is to take more regular exercise. Endorphins are a miracle cure for everything don't you know? If it continues though, I will see a doctor, which is what you should do if the effects of perimenopause worry you. 

Do you have any experience with any of the above symptoms? If so, what do you do to cope?

Linking up with Kirsty
at My Home Truths
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