Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Perimenopause Primer for the Young and the Restless

By E

MYTH: Menopause happens when you’re old.


Perimenopause typically begins somewhere between your late 30’s and late 40’s - when you’re young, vibrant and BUSY! Surprised? You bet. Many women are shocked and blindsided when they start experiencing perimenopause symptoms. They just aren’t prepared for the perimenopause and menopause storm to begin. (I like to call it PM&M for short.)

So, what to do when you start experiencing PM&M? Here’s a quick primer on the symptoms, so that you won’t find yourself in your early 40’s, confused and wondering what the heck is happening to you!

First, let’s clarify the difference between perimenopause and menopause. Perimenopause is the 6-10 year symptom-laden time in your life before you reach menopause. Menopause, on the other hand, does not occur until you’ve been period-free for 12 consecutive months. The average age for this is 51 years young.

What should you expect during PM&M? There’s no one answer. The perimenopause experience is different for everyone. There are over 30 symptoms of PM&M. Many women breeze right through PM&M with relatively few symptoms (lucky gals!). Others suffer tremendously with symptoms like sleeplessness, memory loss, extreme emotional highs and lows, anxiety, depression, and hot flashes, just to name a few. Oh joy!

The most important thing to remember is this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are over 50 million women in menopause in North America, and when you add all of the women in perimenopausetheir husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, children, brothers, sisters, and co-workersjust about everyone has a little PM&M in their life.

So, get prepared! As with any medical condition or health issue, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms. In my book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, I’ve created the Shmirshky Daily Symptoms Chart to make this easy for you. Charting your PM&M symptoms not only helps you know what’s going on and when, but it’s also a great reference for your doctor or specialist to refer to when they are trying to help you feel better. Charting makes their job easier and helps you understand your body quicker!

Here’s another little tip: Show this chart to your loved ones and the people you spend your life with. Once they see all the symptoms listed, it will help them better understand what you’re going through. We all need support in our lives – no one can go it alone. It’s up to you to reach out for the help and support you deserve. You can find hormone happiness; I did!

I’ll be writing in more detail about the PM&M experience here at wehelpwomen.com, so stay tuned for more.

Remember, reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT.

"E" is the pen name of Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, a light-hearted, informative, easy-to-read book on menopause, and creator of http://www.shmirshky.com, a resource treasure trove for women going through perimenopause and menopause.

Members of the Fresh Start Community, be sure to check out your Special Offers page to get your copy of E's fun-loving Shmirshky book. Not a member yet? Become one by visiting www.wehelpwomen.com.

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