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Article: About Those Peri Symptoms

About Those Peri Symptoms

Ever jolt awake at 4 AM, engulfed by sheer terror? Do panic attacks ambush you out of the blue, or do you commence your day shrouded in dread?

Memory lapses, incessant bloating, or aching body? If you've crossed the age of 35, welcome to the realm of Perimenopause.

Women experience a kaleidoscope of emotional tumult so broad it's challenging to summarize: paranoia, obsessive ruminations, panic attacks, and an almost non-existent tolerance for stress. New phobias may sprout, such as the dread of crossing a bridge or fear of flying. These overwhelming emotions can manifest as physical discomfort, including persistent back and neck pain or debilitating tension headaches.

All this internal chaos stems from hormonal shifts happening within our bodies during these initial stages. Progesterone takes a nosedive, estrogen ebbs and flows, and falls, and testosterone continues the decline that began back in our 20s.

Everyone's experience is unique and varies.

Your Periods may continue to be regular, but the pattern can subtly alter. Your heavy day might shift, or cramps might trouble you at the end of the cycle instead of the beginning. Some women undergo frightening "flooding" episodes during early Perimenopause – resulting from dwindling progesterone, unable to curb the growth of the womb lining effectively.

Then there are the myriad viral videos of women on social media – scratching their ears, talking about body odor, peculiar smells, parched skin, and a plethora of other circumstances none of us envisioned.

This phase is often compared to a "rollercoaster" – strikingly similar to a voyage we embarked upon so long ago we've probably banished it from memory. New York Times health and wellness writer Amy Larocca correctly compared all of Peri to puberty during an appearance on the Slate podcast.

β€œAt one point it might be that you are suddenly super sweaty, or at one point it might be that you suddenly got a lot of acne,” she told host Emily Peck.Β  β€œAnd this is the process of your body undergoing major hormonal changes.”

The myriad experiences can blur into one, and although Google lists 34 official Perimenopause symptoms, some reckon it's well over 100. British endocrinologist Dr. Annice Mukherjee, author of The Complete Guide to Menopause, advises us not to obsess over the numbers or debate what qualifies as a symptom.

Our hormones run so much of our function, she notes, "it'll be an infinite number."

While initially, all this may seem like a perplexing, terrifying, and eternal quagmire, remember – it may be enduring, but it is temporary. Once we transition into post-menopause, typically post-51, our hormone levels stabilize, and our symptoms recede.

Recognizing the underlying structure in this perceived chaos can help us identify changes in our bodies and link them to Perimenopause.

Armed with this knowledge, we can seek appropriate support and devise a management plan. Always consult a healthcare professional for tailored advice and build a network of women with whom you can candidly discuss your experiences.

Just like puberty didn't linger forever, rest assured, Peri won't either.

Author - Ann Marie McQueen, Hot Flash Inc.

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