health

Seven things to know about perimenopause.

Content notice: pregnancy, birth, graphic description of menstruation.

When I was in fourth grade, I wore a size 28AAA bra.

AAA is not a size. It’s just a nice way saying “you have literally zero breast tissue.”

In recent history, humans seem to be developing secondary sex characteristics before they develop the part of their brain that teaches them how to deal with secondary sex characteristics.

I think this is probably influenced by hormone-infused food. I’m guessing chicken — no offence to the chicken.

I think hormone-infused food may also be the reason that my uterus is trying to fall out of my body.

Speculation.  (Post continues after gallery.)

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The average onset of menopause is 51.5 years. Or so say studies.

I would argue that “​studies”​ may need to be repeated.

At least for my biological purposes, menopause seems to be looming, just over that hill, on the other side of fertility.

Watch: How women feel about their periods. Post continues after video.

This suggests that the “onset” study is about as accurate as the “​​you shouldn’t drink red wine”​ study.

Time for a do-over, Science.

My most recent period was in February. The beginning of February, to be exact.

Well, that’s not entirely true. My most recent period is happening right now — which I will get to later.

Period discussion on No Strings Attached. Source: (media library)

I did not consider what “perimenopause”​ would look like for me. In my mind, I went straight from childbearing to rotund grandmother with an apron and an affinity for chubby toddler cheeks. I certainly didn't consider that it would be happening at 42.

Alas.

The things happening to my body are both unexpected and unwelcome.

I’m not mourning the loss of fertility. I’m mostly just waiting to see what happens next, like some sort of hormonal roulette.

I’m writing this for you, so that when your period decides to take an extended vacation, you may understand that this is another step between contortionist tampon insertion and Depends.

And that, despite your certainty, you are not actually pregnant with the baby that is going to push you right over the fracking motherhood limit.

Your partner’s presumably successful vasectomy was, in fact, successful.

You may exhale.

But not too much. You're probably still ovulating. If the efficacy of the vasectomy is in question, better send them to the urologist.

BYOP(orn)H(ub). Unless you’re into the old-school magazine method.

Other things you may expect between now and spending your days knitting and watching Fox News.

1. Hair.

On your face. If you do not have a Dollar Shave Club membership, now would be a good time.

Alternatively, you can let your Meno-beard fill in and tell the haters it's coming for them next.

Liberating.

You may need to change your beauty routine to accommodate pesky facial hair. Source: iStock.

For most of my adult life, I've had two persistent chin-hairs: Moe and Curly. I pluck them once a month. They return. It's a dance.

It's a dance to which they have invited their friends.

It’s a perimenopausal rave.

2. The crying.

In the last 24 hours I have wept for the following reasons:
• My four-year-old told me he “just love[s] me.”
• Joni Mitchell. Blue.
• My nanny is so good to my kids.
• My period was gone.
• My period came back.
• My period made a bloody mess on my bathroom rugs.
• My bathroom rugs had to be washed.
• I got a package in the mail and there was a lot of bubble wrap. I’m not a good environmentalist.
• I couldn’t decide what to make for dinner.
• The cat laid next to me on the bed.

Crying may become a more regular affair. Source: iStock.

Maybe the weeping is unique to me. My weepiness is, on a normal day, equitable to that of a toddler.

Regardless, it’s embarrassing when you are so grateful for green tea that you start crying when the barista takes your order.

*sniff* Please fill my reusable cup. I'm a bad environmentalist. *sniff*

3. The opposite of the crying.

Dog hair on the hardwood is making me aggro.

So. Aggro. Source: Giphy.

Aaaand now I’m crying because I’m so grateful for my Swiffer.

I think this might be called a “mood swing.”

I prefer to think of this more like a mood teeter-totter.

4. Sweats.

Not the pant kind.

I’m down to one fitted sheet. It’s currently on my bed. The other one must have been turned into a fort.

The one on the bed is 80 per cent sweat. Mine.

My sweet husband set the AC at 69°F — for me.

He is shivering under a parka. I am wearing nothing but a gauzy nightgown, drenched with the sweat of a thousand hormones.

Tip: If you have one set of sheets, sleeping on a towel is advisable.

5. Weight gain.

Because why not?

6. Things with your vagina.

Pain. Dryness.

File under: things that are not good.

7. Menstrual irregularity.

My period disappeared for five months.

Only it didn’t really disappear. It was just waiting in my uterus to erupt in the most vile and terrifying way possible.

does paracetamol work

Jess is betrayed by her uterus on New Girl. Source: (media library)

When it reappeared, it did so in the form of a tennis ball-sized blood clot that I had to give birth to on my bathroom floor.

Unassisted homebirth.

I thought I might be dying.

I sent a picture to my friend Staci.

She also thought I might be dying.

I did not die.

Apparently my progesterone is tanking, and estrogen is taking the wheel.

I’m looking forward to what estrogen has in store for me next!

(No I’m not.)

Have you experienced symptoms of perimenopause?

Image: Samantha Jones experienced menopause in Sex and the City 2.

This story by Joni Edelman originally appeared on Ravishly, a feminist news+culture website.

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