“Tell me, what can I do for you?”. My GP looks at me expectantly. Again. Since I passed 50, I’ve seen her more times than in the 20 years before. If not for periods that never end, it is for infections that keep flaring up, breasts that are killing me with pain or cramping that can’t be averted with a overdose of Feminax. This time my reason to visit is that my period isn’t coming at all. For once I am glad: could it be that I’m finally released of this monthly returning flood. I wouldn’t mind that all!
No reason to be shy about it: Anything is possible when it comes to menopause.
It’s just, my body doesn’t seem to get it and won’t agree with my ovaries. So, for weeks I’ve been enjoying several infections and sleep deprivation. My immune system is on holiday and my cramps are in overdrive. Just like my lust for chocolate is, by the way. I’m pms-ing for weeks now. And yes, as much as I would love to say hooray, I’m at the finish already, this week long pms is not improving my mood. For weeks now I’m deliciously grumpy.
The most important reason for this of course is insecurity. Am I really through it? Is it really this simple? Or could it be that I’m reaching the fase wherein my periods will be irregular. Because there is no reason to beat around the bush: anything goes when it comes to menopause. And not until you’ve spent a year without a period, is anything certain.
Read more: FunFacts about the Menopause
It is possible that your periods calls it quits, just like that. No complaints, no hot flashes, no pains, nothing. You’re through that one year of no period without a hitch. Sadly though women like that are pretty rare. Generally it will take 4 to 10 years to reach menopause. Let that sink in: 10 friggin’ years! During these years it is possible to completely loose it, mentally.
It is possible incontinence will haunt you. You’ll gain dryness in your vaginal area. You’ll loose your drive for sex. Memory loss, muscle cramping, palpitations, insomnia. Let’s be honest, this list is endless. It can take five months, 4 years, if you’re unlucky it can take 10 years. Your periods can take longer. Or shorter. They stay away longer, or the periods in between will be shorter. Anything goes! I mean, really any complaint that would give you reason to visit your doctor can be caused by peri menopause. Of course that makes it extremely difficult for a GP to determine what is the best course of action. Where to look for causes, what medicine will work best? An understanding doctor can do much with just listening.
More to read: 5 phases of perimenopause. Which one are you at?
The 5 phases of perimenopause can’t be all new to you, but the problem is that no one can tell you how long it can take to get through each phase. It differs with every other woman. Is phase 2 two months? Two years? How about phase three? Even my GP can’t tell me where I’m at in the perimenopause. Her conclusion: your hormones are upset and this causes your immune system to wreak havoc in your body. But she is a thorough doctor so bloodwork has to be done. It could be that some vitamines or minerals are out of balance. Time to see how things stand in that department. There is nothing to it, but to struggle on. And to accept that my body is not quite ready for that final stretch. Because no sooner had I left her office, one visit to the washroom told me all I needed to know. That finish line is not in sight. Not yet.