My Perimenopause Journey – Part 1

Jan 8, 2021 | Menopause | 0 comments

Turning 40 was all consuming to me. I felt very down about it, I was half way though my life and what did I have to show for it? I spent the 40th year of my life in a bit of tizzy for want of a better word. Like most working mums I always seem to come last on the priority list but I needed this to change. I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror and thought this reflection needs to change and the only person who can do that is me. I had noticed that my PMT issues seemed to be getting worse, I was looking older and wrinkles were creeping in. So I wrote a list of what was bothering me and it was long. My list was as follows horrendous mood swings, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, panic attacks, hair thinning, heavy blood loss, depression, digestive issues, sleep issues, breast pain and muscle tension. I felt so lethargic and unfit and I didn’t know how to stop the yo yo dieting that I have been doing all of my life. I spent months reading self help books, blogs, researching websites but my life was hectic I still found that I wasn’t making enough time for me. I had all the knowledge but no plan of attack.

Then one of my best friends called me and she was mentioned her menopause , she is 10 years older than me, and wanted to go to a seminar about the dreaded subject but wanted my support. So me being me of course I wanted to help so I booked a ticket. We met a few weeks later at the hotel bar full of trepidation as to what and who we would find in the room we were about to walk into. So with a stiff Gin in hand off we went to meet our hosts. Well what we found was a room full of 40 year olds. I was shocked as I had assumed I would be the youngest lady there. How wrong was I. The next hour was a roller-coaster ride through what my next 10 years was going to be like and why I was feeling like I did right now. My list of ailments was on the big screen in front of me. It was like an awakening life affirming moment. I felt reborn and ready to tackle my menopause head on. Sitting in a room with other like minded women will do that for you.

I was armed and prepped with some good basics to start changing my life. The first thing I did was book an appointment with my women’s health doctor. I was having horrific periods every month, flooding was a common occurrence and I would have to plan my week and days very carefully I wasn’t functioning normally for two weeks out of every month. That’s 24 weeks a year of not living a full and happy life and 24 weeks of not being the best mother, wife and friend that I could possibly be.

My doctor was amazing she listened to all of my concerns and we agreed on a plan of attack along with a full MOT as I was 40 and had concerns. She was confident that having a coil fitted would help. My friends all raved about them so we scheduled it in. Well within the first month of having the coil fitted I was in so much pain and agony I wished I had never agreed to it. It wasn’t just at the time of the cycle it was all the time. It would catch me off guard at work, the supermarket, everywhere. I would just sit and sob in pain wondering why nothing ever goes right for me where periods and hormones are concerned! I kept it in for three horrific months but I just knew this didn’t feel right for my body at all! So back to the lovely understanding doctor who whipped it out and we moved onto plan B.

The Endometrial Ablation.
Well I had never heard of such a procedure. It is a procedure that surgically destroys the lining of your uterus and reduces menstrual flow. It sounded quite scary but she assured me the consultant would sort out my heavy bleeding once and for all and it would be quick and almost painless. I thought it would be under a general anaesthetic, but that was a longer waiting list. So I went for the procedure whilst awake! Sounds horrific and it pretty much is for about 2 minutes of the procedure but I had a wonderful nurse who got me through it. I can now say it’s the best thing I ever did. I haven’t had any bleeding since really just the odd spot here and there.
So back to my list and I ticked off my first item….. Go me! Now it was time to start in earnest the biggest change that needed to happen. What I was fuelling my body with needed to change so I started to investigate. As a serial yo yo dieter I have leaned that new plans need to be sustainable. If I was going to do this I wanted it to be a lifestyle change not a dreaded diet. To achieve this I started making small changes to incorporate into my routines so I didn’t feel like everything was cut out at once and I was in starvation mode. Most diet plans do not work as you go hell for leather and cut everything out and a month later you yo yo back to bad habits and the half a stone you lose goes back on with an extra half a stone.

So I decided to look at what I was drinking first of all. Now my only vices in terms of drinks were tea, coffee, squash and a bit of alcohol. I decided to cut out alcohol for the foreseeable as it has never really agreed with my body and I only really drink a few times a year anyway so it was an easy win. I discovered at the menopause talk that starting your day with warm water and half a squeezed lemon had so many health benefits. It supports the liver, has a hit of vitamin C , improves skin and aids digestion. It took a while to get used to but now it part of my daily routine. Then I swapped my squash to water and made sure I was drinking a minimum of two litres a day. This is so hydrating for the skin, improves your mood and overall wellness. The only other thing I really drank was caffeine. I noticed that as I felt so lethargic and tired I would fill my cup with caffeine all morning. On researching good quality coffee is actually good for you and weight loss and your metabolism. I made the choice to limit myself to 4 a day but I switched from instant to a good quality coffee pod and an organic good quality tea which was high in antioxidants. When I felt the need for another hot drink I swapped over to a peppermint tea which really has also helped with my digestion.

A month of just changing my drinking habits had me feel clearer in mind and body I was less lethargic, had more energy and vitality to keep making positive change. Food wise I had naturally started making healthier choices and by following the 80/20 rule being good for at least 80 % of the time I had already lost half a stone.
In part two I will really get into the food changes I started to make and how I started to tackle my anxiety and panic attacks.