Could That Mystery Symptom be Perimenopause?

One of the inspirations for this blog was a recent conversation I had at the playground with a friend, also a 40-something Mom, while we watched our kids play.  She complained that her memory had gotten really foggy and said she was scared there could be something wrong with her brain.  She was scheduled for an MRI in a few days.  Another "mystery" symptom she described was feeling bloated all the time, even though she's been exercising regularly and eating healthy. Perimenopause immediately popped into my head.  I googled a list of symptoms for her on my I-phone and showed them to her.  A look of shock crossed her face, as she realized how many of the symptoms she had.  Next came anger with her doctors for not even mentioning the word perimenopause.

This friend was so filled with hope and gratitude that she told me she would take me out to lunch to thank me if perimenopause does end up being the root of her problems.  I have not heard the results of her MRI, but I will send her a link to this post and see if I can get the answer from her. About six months ago I was just as confused as she was as I brought my list of symptoms to my gynecologist.  My main symptoms were forgetfulness, low energy, sore breasts and excessive irritability.  To help others who may be suffering with mystery symptoms, I have compiled a list of common symptoms of perimenopause.  See if you can see yourself in any of these symptoms.  You don't have to experience all of them to be in perimenopause--the years of hormonal imbalance leading up to menopause--which can start as early as age 35, but more typically emerge in those who are in their 40s.

Perimenopause symptoms

  • Irregular heart beat
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings, sudden tears
  • Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
  • Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
  • Loss of libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Crashing fatigue
  • Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
  • Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
  • Disturbing memory lapses
  • Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
  • Itchy, crawly skin
  • Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
  • Increased tension in muscles
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache change: increase or decrease
  • Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  • Sudden bouts of bloat
  • Depression
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions
  • Increase in allergies
  • Weight gain, especially around the mid section
  • Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
  • Changes in body odor
  • Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Gum problems, increased bleeding
  • Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
  • Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
  • Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, 'whooshing,' buzzing etc.

Let me know if you have any of these symptoms.  If you do and they are disruptive to your life, please write them down and bring them to your doctor to discuss what you can do to start feeling better.  Also, watch for my next post where I will discuss natural ways to have more energy and feel better during perimenopause.


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