perimenopause: some goodies

Lest you think I have forgotten about the perimenopause series, I have not. I’m currently working on several different interviews that I’ll post over the course of the next few months, but in the meantime, here are three peri-goodies — (feels kinda like an oxymoron, saying that, but maybe it’s not? hmmm, must ponder) — that I’ve discovered, often via you, my readers, over the last couple months.

First, There Will Be Blood: Women on the Shocking Truth About Periods and Perimenopause (The Guardian). We tend to think (or at least I do) that menopause is all about missing periods, but not always.

Second, Why Does Menopause Give Us Pause? (1A, NPR). A few highlights:

  • Terminology update: it should be called “Menopausal Hormone Therapy,” not “Hormone Replacement Therapy,” because HRT implies that the ovaries should be producing hormones all the time and this is not true.
  • Here’s a statement to chew on: “Menopause is the ultimate exercise in wholistic medicine. Not only does it affect every part of your body, but you’re grossly impacted by society’s ageist view of women.”
  • This is a conversation for men, too!
  • There is good sex after fifty.

Third, this Op-Doc video: What Menopause Feels Like (New York Times).

This video! These women! WOW. Their artwork, stories, insights — what a gift! In the words of one of the women, “Part of the change is we want to stay the same as we were and we need to embrace where we’re going.”


While this peri-series focuses on other women’s stories, I, too, am in the middle of perimenopause. It feels weird to talk about, like I’m running around Costco naked, but considering half the human population experiences perimenopause, I’m not exactly sure why. Blood is blood, and we all have it (thank goodness).

So! Because I’m not going to pretend this isn’t happening — because it sure as heck is — here are a few of my notes:

*So far, peri has been fairly uneventful, yet at the same time it also feels like a big deal, mostly because it’s so utterly erratic. (“It” = my period, this stage, my hormones, etc.)  

*Since having kids, cramping has been a big part of my cycle. Usually, there’s a 48-hour period in which I’m on meds round-the-clock. Recently, though, I’ve had cramps randomly. Because I’m ovulating? Menstruating? No idea. What I do know is that they interrupt my sleep (when the meds wear off, the pains wake me) and, complicating matters is the ever-present question: Am I bleeding? These nights, I’m running to the bathroom constantly. (And then I’m tired and grouchy and crampy, blah-blah-blah. You get the picture.)

*A couple periods ago, I had the worst cramps EVER. As in, I was doubled over trying to breathe through them for a good quarter of an hour. Except they didn’t let up, so there was no “through” in the breathing experience. No other side to get to. No break. Eventually the double dose of pain meds (that my husband delivered to me on the couch) kicked in and I was able to resume regular activity.

*My periods are all over the place. Sometimes I spot for two minutes each day. Sometimes I bleed as though it’s the real deal but only for just a couple minutes and then I have whole days with nary a speck of blood. Sometimes I have a fullblown, knock-you-flat period that makes my legs ache. Sometimes I have all the signs of an impending period (bloating, the high-pressured “my body and brain are full to bursting” feeling, general unhappiness, rage, insatiable hunger, sleep-disrupting cramps for nights on end, etc) but then— no period. Just, my body relaxes and one day I look up and notice I feel normal.

So that’s what’s happening with me. Fun stuff, this!

This same time, years previous: 2019 book list, the quotidian (12.31.18), family magnified, tamalada!, eggnog, therapy nuggets.


  • Thrift at Home

    Thanks for these links – I will check them out. My periods have been really light, but last week I had a super-heavy one with sudden furious cramps that doubled me over with pain. And then I felt weird and light-headed when the Advil kicked in. I was scared, frankly. Thank goodness for a responsive midwife and nurse-sister who theorized that my light periods were not really shedding the uterine lining fully and suddenly my body decided to catch up. Fun times.

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