8 DEFINITE SIGNS YOU’RE IN MENOPAUSE

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About three years ago my period became erratic, one month it’d be heavy & last a whole week the next it could be light & only 3 days long. Sometimes it was light & long others, heavy & short then I’d skip an entire month altogether!

Because my cycle was as regular as clockwork it soon became obvious my body was changing, then one day it occurred to me I hadn’t had a period for 8 months! Nice one right?

Yeah well maybe it would’ve been rather more enjoyable had the other mysterious symptoms not suddenly appeared. Instinctively I knew I was Perimenopausal however I was also experiencing some rather bizarre traits that I couldn’t quite get a handle on. Without doubt the worst of these was a terrifying out-of-body experience that would suddenly & randomly overwhelm me. The feeling I can only describe as akin to being in a wakeful coma, my brain separated from my body unable to control it. These episodes were sporadic in their appearance as well as length, often leading me to repeat “just breathe” in my head over & over until it was…. OVER.

This could be anything from seconds to an agonising 15 minutes.

Nobody could tell by looking at me, it was all happening inside my head. If I was chatting to a friend on the school run it was merely disconcerting however if I was driving when it occurred, well that was another matter entirely. I kept telling myself I was being silly, I had errands to run & places to go I can’t let a couple of weird anxiety attacks stop me getting behind the wheel, I’m a busy Mum for goodness sake! But it kept happening & sometimes the children were with me & we’d be on the motorway, trucks whizzing by & nowhere safe to pull over….

Well, as you can imagine, it was horrific. In the end I stopped driving any distance further than my local supermarket.

8 signs you're definitely in menpause

Other symptoms were not so much scary as frustrating

Such as getting days mixed up or forgetting why I’d walked into a room previously full of purpose. Now I’m not referring to the common momentary forgetfulness that accompanies aging, I’m talking blank void of nothing. The complete absence of specific knowledge you once held comfortably grrrr. Equally as perplexing is experiencing the inability to sleep yet being excruciatingly tired, then finally falling asleep only to wake a couple of hours later! UGH… Hadn’t I just finished 10 years of that palaver with my babies? Additionally strange new idiosyncracies like repeatedly burning my hand on the same oven shelf every time I baked Arrrgh! What the hell? I’ve had that cooker for 9 years & never once burned myself! These particular side effects of Perimenopause & indeed Menopause are pretty common experiences to some degree. We’ve all heard of them before.

However the arbitrary hot flares of rage, unexpectedly triggered by the slightest thing. Catapulting me into a quagmire of guilt that I struggled to drag myself out of. This was something dark & altogether distasteful, something women tend not to share. I guess this is why we’re not supposed to have young children at this stage of life? Evidently there shouldn’t be these messy, lazy & demanding small people constantly pushing my buttons. MUUUUMMMMYYYYYY!

Hmmm didn’t read the small print when I chose to start having children in my late 30’s DOH? At times it’s incredibly difficult not to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat & I often need to reign in my swearing. I don’t want to be this way in front of the children & I have improved a lot since coming out of the Perimenopause stage but I’m still working on it.

For those of you interested in taking supplements – I took a specific pill designed for Menopause, Magnesium, Evening Primrose & Omega 3 for 2 years while I was Perimenopausal. I noticed absolutely no change what so ever. You might be different, I thought it was worth a shot but ultimately I flushed a few hundred pounds down the toilet, literally.

To me Perimenopause was by far much worse than actual Menopause because I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I had nobody in my life who was going through it at the same time so I couldn’t relate to anyone. Equally my loved ones couldn’t relate to me as I struggled to articulate my confused feelings. Therefore I kept them to myself for the most part. I genuinely felt isolated & at times I was frightened for my sanity.

Thank goodness it’s over now, I can look back & analyse this stage from a pragmatic perspective. The word RELIEF comes to mind. Relief that it’s over & relief that I’m not in fact losing my marbles…

Current Elliott diy cropped frayed hems and Alexander Wang Anouk boots

How do I know I’m in Menopause now?

There is an enormous list of menopausal symptoms on the internet to confuse the hell out of you if you’re game enough to look. Take my advice – DON’T.

How it went for me may differ slightly to how it goes for you but there will be obvious similarities for you to compare. When my period ceased so did the “out-of-body” experiences & my mood swings subsided considerably although I have to wonder if they were exacerbated by my fears? Never the less I noticed a marked improvement in my bad temper.
Moving on from the Perimenapausal stage becomes increasingly clear as time goes by although it’s easy to say that in hindsight. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure when it was over or that I was definitely in Menopause however the change in side effects was a clue.
Unfortunately these symptoms were replaced with new ones like tinnitus, a constant high-pitched Sshhhh sound that becomes almost unbearably loud when I’m overly tired. Proving quite the conundrum as the louder it gets the harder it is to sleep (she sighs deeply) Oh elusive sleep, I fear we shall never be friends again…

You may have noticed my recent posts on Instagram & here on RCM wearing clip in hair extensions? I mentioned that I have been experimenting with them because of my hair loss due to Menopause. They have not only created more volume in my hair but also uplifted my deflated spirits when I was literally washing handfuls of hair down the drain.

I noticed the hair loss pretty quickly & to be honest it scared the shit out of me. This is probably a ridiculous reaction to a frivolous & superficial consequence of Menopause yet it’s the truth so I’m not going pretend otherwise.

Irresistable Me clip in hair extensions for women losing hair in Menopause

8 signs you’re in Menopause

  • Irregular Periods
  • Thinning hair & hair loss
  • Fatigue & difficulty staying asleep
  • Mood swings & unexplained rage
  • Hot flashes or sweats
  • Absent mindedness & forgetfulness
  • Low No libido
  • Unquenchable thirst/dehydration

Losing my hair at such a rapid rate was what ultimately led me to HRT.

Prior to starting this controversial drug I had a myriad of blood tests checking all aspects of my health including the relevant FSH levels – There were no surprises. I am a perfectly healthy 49 year old woman in the Menopause. In hindsight the blood tests were doubtless unnecessary for both my Doctor & myself. Ultimately we knew where I was at. However my Doctor, a kind & thorough man, sensed I could use some certainty in all this craziness so did the tests anyway.

I’m pleased he did because there’s nothing better than clarity in this busy Mums life.

cable knit cardigan | cropped wide leg jeans | ankle boots

Current Elliott cropped wide leg jeans with Alexander Wang Anouk ankle boots

Alexander Wang Anouk ankle boots

8 definite signs you're in Menopause

Todays cosy outfit

I have DIY cropped an old pair of Current Elliott wide leg jeans, fraying the hem by simply putting through a wash cycle. The cable knit cardi is from the Mens section in Tkmaxx. This is the easiest place to find the over-sized, chunky look I’m going for. My awesome boots are old Alexander Wang Anouck that are still available on their website. If you purchase nothing else this Winter or indeed this entire year, may I recommend you consider investing in these incredibly comfortable ankle boots? My T-shirt is by Maison Scotch, bought recently from The Dressing Room that offers an eclectic curation of high-end brands online.
Additionally my luxurious clip in hair is courtesy of Irresistable Me.

I hope this post helps those of you beginning your journey – knowledge is power, we must talk about an event of such magnitude as past generations didn’t. There’s no reason why we can’t sail through Menopause, coming out the other side better women. Let’s compare notes, commiserate & support one another. Most importantly don’t be afraid…

Next month a post about what it’s like being on HRT so far. It may surprise you, it bloody did me!

lots of love, Mx

  • Comments ( 70 )

  • avatar
    Wendy Kate

    Ah, I was just going to say I am on HRT now and what a difference. The herbal stuff does not make any difference imo. I too was have panic attacks; for me it was like I couldn’t’ breathe, (even though I logically knew I could) and some nights I would wake up and find myself flat against the wardrobe like I was running scared. Anyway, much better now. I will fight tooth and nail to stay on the drugs! Well done for bringing this difficult subject up. x

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Yep that sounds about right. How scary for you Wendy Kate, I’m pleased to hear your enjoying HRT too πŸ˜‰
      You know I did ask an older lady about her experience with Menopause when I was really struggling. Unfortunately she wasn’t willing to share & brushed me nonchalantly which left quite an impression. That’s when I realised women of the previous generation just didn’t talk about it, so I began using the M word in conversation. The more we say the word the less offensive it sounds right?
      Thanks for sharing xxx

  • avatar
    Paula

    Hi, I can’t believe you’ve just explained the very symptom I’ve been having for a while ….. ‘the out of body one’ I was convinced I might actually have a brain tumour but yet I have no other symptoms! The sensation I get is almost like I’m about to faint and like you I feel totally detached from my body (& the wheel of my car!) once it’s over I’m fine but I almost have an aura when it’s about to happen. I’m actually relieved that other people experience this too! πŸ˜•

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      That is a brilliant way to describe it Paula! It is as if YOU’RE ABOUT TO FAINT! Terrifying isn’t it? I completely understand why you thought for a moment it could be a brain tumour, yet I’ve never read about it anywhere. So weird. I’m relieved you left this comment as it re-confirms my own sanity, you know? Can you see your Doctor for HRT? You know there are different strengths, you don’t have to start with a high dose?
      Thank you so much for joining the conversation Paula xxx

  • avatar
    No Fear of Fashion

    Been there done that. Which you might have guessed as I am 62. But I had different signs. When my period was getting irregular I went straight to the doctor and asked to do a blood check. He confirmed it was happening and we discussed the signs. And I had heard a lot about menopause at the fitness etc.
    It is different for many. I only had the hot flashes and my period diminishing (to being gone now of course). Nothing like your scary out-of-your-body experiences (brrr how frightening).
    I laughed when I read “low/no libido”. I can confirm that. I used to be a huge fan of the love game and now I need quite some cranking up (like an antique car). It is not gone but by Jove, is this different from the old days.
    What you haven’t said (hopefully haven’t experienced yet) is the dry vagina. Oh yes, more fun things ahead. Dry and thin skinned. There are solutions to everything (lubricants) but it is not increasing the delight.
    I have come to terms with it by accepting it is a fact of life, the nuisance is there. Now.., how can I handle it as well as possible? Keeping my eyes on solutions and trying to approach it with humour.
    The Dutch are quite well-known for their frankness (rudeness, honesty.. call it what you like) so it is not a subject which is not out there. We hear the details from each other. And I decided to be as frank as I can be. Just in case one of your readers might miss such information.
    Greetje

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Wonderful comment Greetje, just brilliant! Thank you for your frankness & yes that is exactly what I adore about the Dutch. You’re so lucky it was already something widely discussed, I think this is what made the symptoms more difficult for me. Not knowing is scary right? I really don’t understand all the secrecy & if I can achieve anything with this post it’s putting that archaic mentally out to pasture for good.
      Yes dry vagina is also a symptom for me, dry eyes too but as you say there are products to combat these things quite well. And there comes a point when you just have to get on with it. xxx

  • avatar
    Becky Taylor Hellwig

    So tell me the story about the boots. Also good tips to know, I am not there yet…

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh these boots are fabulous aren’t they Becky! Will you be dipping your toe into the OTK trend or have you done so already?
      xM

  • avatar
    kittyandb

    Wowsers! Reading this sounds like when I was first pregnant but didn’t know it. Particularly the out of body experience. It was terrifying, but thank fully short lived. The menopause sounds like it’s not one that passes quickly! What hormones do to us is really quite incredible. Glad things seem to be evening out a little for you and hurrah for hair extensions, they’ve helped a lot with dealing with post partum hair loss for me! 😘

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh wow that is very interesting Kat! I meticulously planned all my pregnancies so there were no surprises but as you say, it’s all about the hormones. Get us with our hair extensions eh? xxx

  • avatar
    Lisa

    Wow! The ‘out of body’ thing! I didn’t know it actually was a ‘thing’. Had one of those while driving on the M4 and scared the life out of myself. Luckily I was on my own. It’s so good that we can talk about it though isn’t it? It really, really helps to read about others going through the same thing. We will get through it together! 😊 Thanks for such and honest and reassuring post – very timely for me! 😘

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Aha another one who has experienced the bizarre “out of body” sensation! Thank you for sharing that Lisa because it shows just how common this particular symptom is. I’m blown away it’s never been mentioned before, we definitely need to find out more. I’m convinced it’s the fear of being percieved as crazy & lets not forget women were burned as witches not too long ago πŸ˜‰
      Have you considered HRT yet? XX

  • avatar
    sequinist

    I’m not QUITE there yet, but I’m starting to have a shorter period cycle, that’s all so far. I have all this on my horizon. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m sure I’ll rely on you as much for information about this as I do for all things child-related now πŸ™‚ xxx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Hahaha You can always rely on me Lisa my darling πŸ˜‰
      xxx

  • avatar
    kel

    I am right there with you on most of this and was just complaining about ear ringing and hot flashes to my partner before I read this article. May I suggest you try vitamin B12 for the hair loss? I started on megadoses after a blood test showed me slightly low. My hair has come back as thick as ever and I have eyelashes that are the best of my life. I use a common brand that comes in a spray bottle. A squirt under the tongue twice a day does it!

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh my goodness YES I will indeed try that! Thanks for the tip Kel x

  • avatar
    Nancy Baten

    I am in the middle of it. I had hot flashes for the past months…awfull. as you can imagine and then ten times worse! And I never had a belly, as flat as paper and now I have one! And the sex, yeah, as dry as old bread! Haha, it will pass.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Nancy Nancy Nancy…I am in tears of laughter at your “dry as bread” line! That’s one I haven’t heard before, love it – Thank you xx

  • avatar
    Bollyknickers

    I went onto HRT a couple of years ago to try and stop my migraines. It helped decrease the number of attacks but the migraines are still with me and I’ve since spoken to lots of women who suffered from them through menopause. I don’t really have many other symptoms apart from a bit of anxiety and weight gain and now my GP is pushing me to stop the treatment – frankly I’m terrified of what will happen then.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Blimey why is he doing that? A couple of years on HRT is perfectly normal, my Doctor said 5+! Personally I will stab any person who tries to take my HRT away. Just sayin’ Nicola πŸ˜‰
      Migraines are a truly horrific/debilitating side effect, I really feel for you. Mx

  • avatar
    MaureenC

    What a great post. At 58 I’m out the other side of most of it, what I found really pertinent in your posts was the impact of psychological symptoms. I’m very lucky in that I’ve never experienced any physical symptoms other than suddenly needing to deal with facial hair (dark hair very pale skin aaahhhhh) but no hot flushes or any of the horrible stuff covered by most articles about the menopause. BUT oh did I go off my head, anxiety attacks, mood swings and the sudden rages you talked about. My long suffering partner wondered if this was going to be “five years of PMS” to which the answer was if you’re lucky only five! I have medical friends who have very reluctantly gone onto HRT because functioning at work with the sudden bouts of memory loss became a nightmare. We just don’t talk about this stuff enough.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Totally agree Maureen, the psychological symptoms are the secret ones. Too dark & crazy to talk about lest someone labels us a nutcase or worse having early alzheimers! Which by the way occured to me more than once. It’s so important to remind ourselves these feelings will pass, but of course we need to know it’s the Menopause causing them in the first place.
      “58 & out the other side” sounds pretty good to me lady. Thank you for sharing your story xxx

  • avatar
    Biddy

    Well done you for highlighting this issue. Like you I am menopausal and tried every vitamin and every product know to manπŸ˜—before commencing HRT. Unfortunately, I’m now on my 3rd type of HRT so would be interested to hear what you are on. The main side effect have been weight gain, (2 stones), and fluid retention. However, I never want to go back to hot flushes, memory impairment and awful mood swings.
    So often you look/read blogs with envy. Be it someone with 5 Chanel bags or several pairs of Gucci shoes but very little time do you read a piece whereby someone gives you real insight into their lives. Well done and thank you so much.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you so much Biddy, it’s lovely to hear my story resonates with you. I agree with you, going off HRT is not on the cards for me either. The one I’m on is from Meda Pharmaceuticals called Elleste Duet 1mg tablets. I take 1 tablet every day, 16 days of 1mg oestrogen & 12 days of combined 1mg oestrogen & 1mg progestogen. My Doctor asked me how I wanted to proceed after we discussed the blood result & I said “Let’s go for it!” Meaning by pass working my way up on dosage & go straight for a mid range dose. I felt that was right because I didn’t want to waste time starting at the lowest dose & I knew my symptoms required a good kick. Easy peasy it works well & so far no fluid retention or weight gain in 8 weeks. What one are you taking now? xx

  • avatar
    Gail

    It’s great to see your openness and honesty about something that happens to us all, yet no-one ever wants to talk about. HRT for me is wonderful – I vowed I wouldn’t use it, tried the natural remedies (which don’t work) and went on the lowest dose of HRT possible – symptons were relieved almost immediately.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you Gail x
      I also had hoped the supplements would work & that I could do without HRT. Sadly I am believing more & more that the massive “vitamin” industry is one of the biggest cons of the 21st Century. I do think we can still get all the nutrients we need in a healthy diet, particularly if we listen to what our bodies are asking for. Unfortunately there has been a lot of scary press about HRT over the years, that isn’t doing us Women any favours. Isn’t it incredible how fast acting it is? I was amazed when my hair stopped falling out the very week I began taking HRT!

  • avatar
    Tracey Godding

    I am 53 and have experienced pretty much all of your symptoms over the last 4yrs.
    It’s a very isolating feeling you imagine your going mad and must be the only one feeling this way when in fact most women will experience parts if not all you describe.
    For me my emotions felt all over the place super hyped up and I was very sensitive to the slightest thing. I put weight on and had hair loss which with fine hair and only 5ft 3″ was for me a nightmare. The anxiety and interupted sleep due to hot sweats were the worst though.
    I had a couple of friends who had experienced my symptoms and suggested black cahosh as a supplement ..I started taking it straight away along with other supplements. I havnt had a period now for just over a year and the hot flushes seem to be less. My hair has gone back to normal and I’ve lost the weight …its a tough time though and your so right when you say women never use to talk about it and its just great that you are….surely the more we share and talk the more we help each other and don’t feel like we’re going mad! ❀

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Crikey Tracey 4 years without taking HRT? You have been through a lot I imagine. Are you finding the supplements work or do you think you may be just coming out the other side of Menopause naturally? I’m keen to hear more about your experience with the black cohosh & what other supps you’re taking with it. I’ve become quite skeptical so it’d be good to get your take on it.
      Thank you for contributing to this post, I really appreciate it xxx

  • avatar
    Abby@midlifecrisisnut

    Well, this post uncovers some deeply buried issues in me, which is why I didn’t comment at first. I didn’t want to scare everybody with an epic comment about what it means to be menopausal for four bloody years. I became menopausal overnight due to enormous stress at the age of 38, while having a 2 and a 6 year old at home (not to mention that we discovered that my mom had two brain tumours right afterwards and I’ve been taking care of her ever since). One day my periods just stopped, which in medical terms they don’t even call menopause (because in strict sense it isn’t) but instead Premature Ovarian Failure. And failure it is, on all fronts, let me tell you. I won’t bother you with details but basically you take menopause and you multiply it by ten. Because there is no transition, no gradual ceasing of period, it happens suddenly and throws your whole body into complete chaos. There is not much you can do because most of the drugs won’t work for you. It means that you have weak adrenals due to stress and these are not happy with standard therapies. Which is why within two years you develop thyroid problems and eventually Hashimoto’s disease where your body is on the quest to kill your thyroid with its own antibodies. It’s an autoimmune disease and as such stays for life. So, here I am. As you call it Michelle, taking a break from blogging. Because sometimes the depression is so deep that it’s hard to go on. I have no energy to live, let alone go any further than the supermarket. Panic attacks due to autoimmune attacks are so frequent and so scary that I pray every night to survive till morning. Quite a contradiction to what you saw the other day, Michelle, no? Of course there are better days and worse days. Summer is always better because the thyroid doesn’t have to work hard, winter months are always worst. Ok, I will finish now, before I scare the **** out of you. I know that my case isn’t a typical menopausal case, so please don’t get too discouraged. If your transition happened gradually than it means yours is a normal one and therefore treatable. I know I couldn’t survive without my HRT. So hang in there Michelle! My menopause had me start blogging which is what ultimately led me to you. So there are some positive aspects. Sending you lots of love xx Abby

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh sweet Abby this is so hard to read but I am so very glad that you wrote it. Thank goodness for HRT, that at least brings you some relief. I’d hate to think what this would be like for you without it. You make a good point that having young children during this emotionally stressful time adds another layer of hell to it. With your Mother being so ill simultaneously there really is no respite for you Abby, is there any other family nearby who can perhaps give you a break now & then? Failing that I suppose you’d need to hire a Nurse & Nanny just to take a weekend mini break. That sounds expensive yet it is exactly what I want you to do!
      I do believe taking a step away from the daily grind on the odd weekend away has saved me from losing the plot completely. A bit of TLC with your HRT?
      Taking a blogging break has probably taken a bit of pressure off your committments however I hope you keep writing, even if it’s just a journal. I love your writing, your humour & warmth that flows so easily is too good to waste. One day you’ll be ready to publish again & maybe you will draw on this difficult time? Anyway regardless of that – I’m grateful to blogging for introducing such a terrific woman into my life xxx

  • avatar
    Jacqui

    Just have to say fabulous blog, trying to re-read and digest it. Some of this symptoms are affecting me, but not all. Thanks you for writing this informative post.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      I’m so happy to hear the post is helpful to you Jacqui & thank you for letting me know xxx

  • avatar
    Gilly

    Hi. I’ve been reading your posts for a while but have never commented. I’m the grand old age of 43 and have been on HRT for a year. It’s made a massive difference to my life. I started with night sweats at 39. Just before my Dr finally gave me HRT (42) I wasn’t sleeping at all. I woke up every hour -on the hour, strange – and took ages to cool down to sleep again, before waking up again….. I have 2 kids. 12 and 9. My temper was awful. I was a bear with a sore head. The whooshing in my ears drove me crazy – my Dr sent me for a scan on my ear – never thought it could be related. I was constantly exhausted and forgetful. I drove my work colleagues mad wanting the window open in the middle of winter when I was besieged with hot flashes. And let’s not even mention sex…. 4 years later I feel better, though still fly off the handle, I’m scared what will happen if and when I stop taking them.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Yep I hear you, that’s it Gilly! I’m not going off HRT & as I mentioned in an earlier comment reply, will stab anyone who tries to make me. Not even joking πŸ˜‰ 39 is quite young, I guess that’s why your Dr was reluctant to prescribe HRT? The trouble is your kids were 8 & 5 so how on earth could you be expected to get through the day sanely on no sleep? Ridiculous, anyone would be in a bad mood let alone someone with hormones running amock!
      I hate flying off the handle too but we can’t be too hard on ourselves & besides an apology & a cuddle usually sort it. Mxx

  • avatar
    Rozanne Swift

    Hi Michelle, I just wanted to add that, as you know, I have tinnitus too, and it sounds as though yours is very similar to mine. I have had it in various forms since I was 18 but the hissing started in my 30s, around the time I was very depressed and agoraphobic through panic attacks. So although I am not yet in menopause (though very likely perimenopausal) I can certainly relate to the anxiety attacks and the tinnitus. I’ve discovered over the years that so many people do have tinnitus and there are some very effective ways of managing it so that it backs right off, and some wonderful resources online. There can still be challenging times with it, when stress tips the nervous system back into uber-alert mode (which has happened to me the last few weeks, so my sleep is again disrupted by it) but I am working on it!. Anyway, if ever you feel it would help you to have a positive chat with somebody who can relate on that level, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You’re far from alone with it on the days/nights it bugs you. This is a really great article you have written and, clearly, it has struck a chord with many people xx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you so much Rozanne, you are a wonderful support to me & what I’m trying to do with RCM – Your comments mean the world to me.
      Yes please, I would like the name of the site you’re talking about to help me with the tinnitus at night. Going by the comments it looks like this is another symptom more common than I realised so it’d be handy to publish here for others – Mxx

      • avatar
        Rozanne Swift

        Hi Michelle, the person I have found most helpful is Julian Cowan-Hill. If you google him, his website will come up (cst.eu.com), but more importantly, find his channel on YouTube, as there are lots of videos about letting go of tinnitus. He is a craniosacral therapist and psychotherapist and a real expert as he himself had tinnitus for 20 years and his advice is based on his own positive experience. He explains in detail how tinnitus is a whole nervous system reaction. The videos include some body-based focussing sessions, which are great for getting you out of your head. I did the Clench & Relax routine at 3am last night and finally got off to sleep ;o) I have had a couple of Skype sessions with him which were also really helpful. Another good site is Rewiring Tinnitus, again set up by a guy who has tinnitus. His approach is mindfulness-based, and I am just embarking on that avenue! I really hope you and others will find these sites helpful. All the best xx

        • avatar
          retrochicmama

          Absolutely brilliant thank you Rozanne! I am really tired today as it happens (bad sleep last night) so my tinnitus is peaking right now. Your timing couldn’t be better πŸ˜‰ It’s encouraging to hear Julian Cowan-Hill actually has tinnitus himself because it’s such a difficult thing to explain. I can’t wait to get stuck into his literature xxx

  • avatar
    Colleen

    I am almost 50 and have been in menopause for 3 years. I would say the perimenopause symptoms were way worse than the menopause ones. Thanks for sharing on such a personal topic!

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Ah interesting you say that too Colleen. Is it because you didn’t know what was happening to you or that you’re now taking HRT?

  • avatar
    Sheela Goh

    I am sorry you went through so much, Michelle, I really am. I went into perimenopause 6 years ago and it was quite horrid. All the symptoms you listed, I had them. I lost 3/4 of my hair. I slept an average of 1 hour 23 minutes (so my Fitbit told me). I went from weepy to murderous in the blink of an eyelid. My weight shot up, my energy shot down, I had zero interest in my husband. My brain was in a permanent fog. The worse of it all was that my gynecologist insisted it was normal to go through those things, as part of ageing, and that I only had to endure it for a bit, and all would sort itself out. Being an idiot, I stayed with that doctor for several years and only switched this year (I know, I’m beating myself up too) to someone else who has since prescribed an arsenal of things to help me balance out my hormones and regain some semblance of myself πŸ™‚ I am SO glad you found the right doctor who listened and was able to help you xoxoxo

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      That’s an absolutely unacceptable attitude from a Doctor isn’t it? It serves to highlight how dismissive others can be about the Menopause, yes it’s a “fact of life” & we all go through it but bloody hell where does it say we have to suffer the symptoms! Sheela, I’m wondering if your Gynecologist was a man?

      • avatar
        Sheela Goh

        Actually, it was a woman. I know. I am shaking my head too. My “saviour” was, ironically, a man πŸ™‚ I am now on Testosterone, Progesterone (which, even without peri-menopause, should’ve been prescribed to me as I have blood as thick as milkshake, a history of cervical fibroids and a family history of strokes/aneurysms), Synthroid, Synthroid Armour as well as DHEA. I almost feel 20 years younger xoxo

        • avatar
          retrochicmama

          Well isn’t that interesting Sheela! I have to tell you a quick story – When my Doctor (male) turned his computer screen towards me so we could go through my blood results I noticed a comment from the lab tech. It went something like “Your patient is obviously in Menopause! Thinning hair is NOT a reason to request expensive blood tests!” Naturally my first question to Doc was “Is that from a man?”
          Guess what? It was a woman! I was so disappointed to hear that, it felt like my team had let me down. I was also surprised that my blood tests were considered expensive. I mean compared to what??? False economy if you aske me πŸ˜‰
          But then again if I was more aware of what was happening to me perhaps I’d have been confident to go straight onto HRT without a single blood test.
          Food for thought.
          I’m so glad you feel 20 years younger, that’s what we want because we’re going to live longer than the generation before us but without all the benefits they enjoyed. We need to be healthy to work longer so we can support ourselves right?

  • avatar
    Reasons to Dress (@reasonstodress)

    I think your hair looks beautiful and that you are doing the right thing by focusing on what makes you feel confident and good about yourself. I am only 36 and I’ve already started thinking (worrying) about being perimenopausal. I got my period at 9 years old and I feel as though I’m already at the end of my reproductive life-cycle…no joke.

    Honestly I do not think women TALK enough about this aspect of life and we’re all suppose to suffer one of life’s biggest changes in silence, instead of just hashing out the realities of the situation and looking for ways to support each other. This is a major life event and I absolutely appreciate how candid and honest you are. How is your HRT going?

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you so much Angie! It’s interesting you were nine when you started your period because when my daughter got hers at 11 I wondered if that meant she’d finish early! You were 2 years younger! I completely see why you’d think that. I even said to my Husband I should talk to Kiara about it when she’s a bit older to child bearing age, as I waited to have a career before having my babies I wouldn’t want her to miss her window. Will you have any more kids?
      This conversation has already helped me with my Tinnitus & also highlighted the fact that we don’t hear much about the psychological symptoms. The latter being way more common than I’d first realised! I’m really pleased I went ahead with the post now & will certainly continue writing throughout my journey.
      Angie my HRT is bloody brilliant thanks! I’ll go more into detail in my post next month xxx

  • avatar
    MaureenC

    Just had to pop in a second time to have a quick giggle about the BEST discussion of the menopause I’ve seen in ages being part of a style blog!! Also to thank the other contributors for their honesty. Really enjoy your more regular subject matter too of course but you have lifted yourself into a different league with this piece.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Maureen you actually made my eyes tear up with that comment. I couldn’t be happier, it’s made my week! Thank you xxx

    • avatar
      MT

      Thanks again Maureen, this comment has made my year – Literally!

  • avatar
    Sue

    Hi Michelle – thanks very very much for this post. I have a six year old son and the perimenopause has come as a complete shock – even though I’m 48. You’re right – NO-ONE talks about this. My worst symptoms are an increase in migraines and led to having a brain scan. Doc now thinks they are due to the Perimenopause and hormone dips and dives. So in a few days I will be starting HRT – and am hoping it will help things. It is so hard to cope and be the mum we want to be when we are feeling so ill, isn’t it? Again – thanks for the post. I love the fashion and style stuff but this is so much worthwhile.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Another one who suffers migraines! I don’t, so I wasn’t aware of them as part of Menopause but there are many of you in our comments thread who do get them. It must be terribly debilitating particularly with a six year old, I can’t imagine how you cope. Apparantly the HRT does help with them – migraine not child ;-)so hopefully you’ll have relief soon. Next month I’m publishing how the drug is working for me which could be helpful for you going forward Sue.
      Take care xx

  • avatar
    Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle

    Hi Michelle. Very good article and as you know I had so much to say about this topic myself that I wrote an article about it as well. Thanks so much for chiming in there with your comments as well. I think you’re doing the right thing by taking action. Wishing you lots of strength!

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Hi Sylvia, thank you so much this is high praise to me from someone of your experience!
      Well we had to get this conversation started did’t we? So far it has unearthed some extremely surprising & interesting information. I love how easily everyone on both our Blogs has been candid about their symptoms as well as how they’re dealing with them. I can foresee many a shared remedy or at the very least, relief coming from this discussion. I know I’ve been helped by a couple of suggestions from readers so I’ll definitely be making this topic a monthly post!
      Thanks again for your continued support Sylvia xxx

  • avatar
    Cindy Scurry

    Thank you so much. I read with great interest as I’m approaching this in my life. I’m older than you – so it’s come late. Your honesty comes through and I appreciate your authenticity.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you Cindy, I’m so pleased. What symptoms are you experiencing?

  • avatar
    alisonlonghurst

    What a wonderful post and really interesting reading all the comments. I’m 46 (tomorrow!) and I’m wondering when it will all kick off for me. My mum was late, so I’m expecting I may be too. I’m not looking forward to it, but posts like this are absolutely invaluable and the discussion generated, because everyone’s experiences are slightly different, but with reassuring similarities. Thank you for sharing. Alison x #brilliantblogposts ps LOVE those boots πŸ™‚

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALISON!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I hope you have a lovely day.
      It’s funny you should say you’re wondering when it’ll all kick in because when I started mentioning perimenapausal symptoms at about that age many of my friends poo pooed it. What I mean is everyone thought I was too young! This only served to brush it under the carpet as I was, in hindsight, beginning my journey. I feel the general consesus is that after 50 you go into Menopause however this is clearly not the case & Perimenopause is often worse than Menopause so can be a silent assasin. I’m ever so pleased to hear that you are wise to this, the chances of it sneaking up on you are slim to none!
      Clever πŸ˜‰
      p.s These boots rock right? xxx

  • avatar
    LittleMiss

    Thank you so much for this post and the comment discussion it has triggered. I mentioned perimenopause to my dr some time ago but was told that if I was having periods I wasn’t (I am 45). Reading the comments was like looking at a reflection of me. Hair loss that clogs the drain, increasing migraines, anxiety and loss of confidence (melt down in hospital parking this week which led to my getting out of the drivers side and leaving my husband to sort it out), flashes of anger, palpitations and occasional hot flushes. Time to return to the drs I think.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh blimey yes indeed Esther, you really have been through it! There seems to be a general lack of appreciation for just how debilitating these symptoms are. However when your GP dismisses your concerns it can truly mess with your head, making the psychological symptoms far worse. Don’t take next time, probe for more information on how to tackle it or better still ask for another Doctor at the practice. You know you can start on very low doses of HRT if you’d like to alleviate some of your worse symptoms such as the migraines? Also I’ve been getting good feedback on Black Cahosh which might be worth a try. Keep me updated xxx

    • avatar
      MT

      Hi Esther, how are you getting on? I hope your return to the Doctor has been helpful xx I’m not sure if some of my replies got through as I was changing my blog theme & noticed a couple had disappeared in the process.

  • avatar
    jess

    Hi Michelle, Sorry to hear of all of the symptoms you have had. I am 48 and am confident that I am in peri. I dont know if I am in Menopause as I take BC pills in order to stop by period. Long story short, but my EDS causes laxity in the tendons and ligaments, and when i had a period, because of this, my pelvis was dislocating and causing subsequent pain. I went on BC to stop this , as I also had dysmennorea all my life. I have had symptoms of walking in the room and not knowing what i went in for.. I get hot flashes that can last all night ( flash is a misnomer!) So, its questionable whether or not I am in menopause, and will wait to find out, as getting off the BC pills would have dire results ( pain, dislocation,etc) My mom went into menopause at 53. Thanks for the post and info on HRT… another note; those boots are so cool!
    Hope to see you at Turning heads tuesday
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you Jess but reading some of the comments in this post I’m thinking I got off lightly! The migraines many women endure is horrendous. You have your own battles as well as this new one, I hope you find a way to deal with it without interferring with your current medication. Such a minefield for you I’m sorry to hear Jess. Please keep us posted on what you find works or not, whatever the case may be (HRT?)- Hopefully the first thing you try is right for you. It’ll be interesting & helpful for others.
      And YES LOVE LOVE LOVE BOOTS! πŸ˜‰ xxx

  • avatar
    Lizzy

    Michelle what a brilliant post. Honest, thorough and informative. Brava darling xxx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Aw thanks honey xxx

  • avatar
    Melissa

    Hi Michelle,

    I bip over to your blog sometimes and read and look at fashion. But this post really called to me.
    What is it with the older generation? I talked to my elderly Aunt and she said Melissa just deal with it, is all normal and a part of life, soon it will be over and better cause then you won’t get your period any more.
    The only symptom she ever mentions being an issue was hot flashes.

    Well I had night sweats from 42 until about last year, I am now 48 1/2. I finally pushed the doctor because my periods started going haywire, they tested me and found a polyps in my uterus and something not sure what yet in my tube. So it wasn’t just normal perimenopausal stuff like everyone was telling me. At least now I know I wasn’t going nuts.
    Anyway got an appointment next month to see where to go from here with the polyps thing. For sure some kind of horrible biopsy. I am thinking to just get them to take the frikin uterus out, if I get a vote in the decision making. I mean I really don’t need it anymore and am almost at menopause. I can tell because symptoms are changing.

    What is it with the freaking memory thing!!!! I literally am feeling like a total idiot, middle of a sentence and forget what something is called.
    Oh and sex, what is that? Don’t even think I would know how to do that anymore:( Poor husband….. Dryness not sure I have that issue, cause I can’t even get cranked up like an antique car as Geertje calls it. I really can’t even laugh about it, it is so sad. I don’t even feel like a woman anymore! I mean how can you get going when you just feel like a thing, like mheee, like nada, niks, nothing! Oh and the headaches are coming monthly now, some to a point of migraine, that I really really hate more than anything. I have to go to work, because really what job will let you take off for illness every month???

    So here are my remedies for all this nonesense. Yoga, meditation, vitamin B (definately vitamin B, it helps with depression, serious) and the mood swings. Pescetarian diet, lots of water, less alcohol, meaning no drinking during the week and way less on the weekend. (this was difficult, but not anymore cause sometimes even a few sips of wine triggers a headache).

    Results, my weight quit going up, I had great hair anyway but my nails never grew in my whole life, now they are amazing!!!!!!!!! My skin is gorgeous!

    I think you are right too many vitamins can be nuts, but the vitamin B saved my life. I mean it, I have always fought depression and this has stopped me from some pretty dark times.
    Meditation is amazing, I start my day with it.

    I am glad HRT works for you but I will try anything and everything before I begin putting any HRT in my body. Cancer runs throughout my family, so no freaking way. Cancer scars me way more than the horrible debilitating symptoms of menopause. I mean cancer can kill you, but menopause symptoms can’t, well maybe they can’t kill you but doesn’t mean you don’t want to kill those around you….

    Anyway I just want to put it out there that there are huge risks with HRT and it isn’t for everybody and for some not even an option.

    What I do may not work for others either, my life is worth more than me risking it because I may not have a decent head of hair for a few years or I may be a bit crazy moody also, wieght gain, headaches. I figure if those around me can’t deal with it, then they don’t understand and don’t love me after all. Cause if they did they wouldn’t want me to risk my health just to give them a more peaceful atmosphere.
    I mean at least I am nice enough to say, today is not the day to push me I am not feeling like I can control my anger very well…. Hey they are forewarned if the decide to push the buttons is their own darn fault!

    Great post, thanks Michelle for bringing it out there!

    Melissa

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh Melissa what a wonderful comment woman! I read & re-read it many times, you are so candid & I love how you write in your own voice, which by the way, is so completely relatable!
      As for the older Gen I’ve given up on them for advice, I think we need to speak with our peers on this one. Your experience with vitamin B for one thing is very interesting. I wonder if it was no help to me because it was merely included in the “menopause supplement” I took? Perhaps it should be taken as a single pill? I’ll get some today & give it a try.
      Now onto those headaches/migraines – I’m growing concerned that this is an incredibly common symptom that requires some extra research. I’d like to get some feedback from the women who’ve managed to tackle this successfully so we can pass it on to those still suffering. I will get onto this for my next “MENOPOST”.
      I agree with you 100% that HRT is no good for anyone with a genetic pre-disposition to Cancer & is absolutely not worth risking. Fortunately I’m ok on that front. However that’s not to say I’m cavalier about taking it, I most certainly don’t want to be taking HRT for a prolonged period. Although for now, whilst the children are so young it’s actually saving their lives as well as mine, if you get my drift? πŸ˜‰
      Thank you again for adding your thoughts to this discussion Melissa, I really appreciate your effort xxx

  • avatar
    Clare

    Michelle, I have just found this post and my goodness I’m so glad I did. I started the peri menopause about a year ago and have just started HRT. I could deal with pretty much every symptom but the anger and black moods. They have been crippling and there were (and are) days when I have felt that I am going mad. To know that other women have suffered the same and are brave enough to talk about it on a public forum is so very reassuring. At last I don’t feel alone in dealing with this. As a (late) Mum to a two year old, it’s a priority of mine to sort this out, the last thing I want is her remembering her mummy as a permanently angry and crazy woman. Thank you ladies!

    • avatar
      MT

      Hi Clare, Gosh I so do feel your pain. This is exactly how I felt & in the end what compelled me to take HRT. I think there are a lot of “late” Mummy’s experiencing this now with no idea where to turn. It’s a new phenomenom that none of us were expecting – WHACK!
      Menopause without small children is hard enough but factor in the daily demands of kids & know wonder we’re all going looney tunes. It’s brilliant that we have the ability to connect here on the internet because I for one had no advice coming from anywhere else. I never ever heard the word mentioned let alonegot a debrief from the older Women in my family. It’s great to have you on board Clare xxx

  • avatar
    Clare

    Thanks for your reply Michelle and you’re right trying to deal with the menopause and the demands of a spirited toddler is a challenge on the best of days! Sheela described it perfectly – “weepy to murderous in the blink of an eye”… Keep your wonderful posts coming, I’ll be checking in regularly.

    • avatar
      MT

      Hahaha yes that was brilliant of Sheela! See you soon Clare xx

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