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But I’m Too Young for Menopause!

By Dita Faulkner
 
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I want to continue to talk about menopause. A few months ago, my skin started to have a crawling sensation. I also started to have what I call “private summers,” otherwise known as hot flashes. Not to mention the night sweats and disrupted sleep patterns that started soon after. Yes, I do know what I’m talking about.

Before my fibroid surgery some years ago, I was put on a drug called Lupron that puts you into pseudo-menopause. In a word, I had hot flashes for a good three months. Before then, I used to laugh at my mom when she’d have her special moments. Now, I have a very different perspective.

Fast forward seven years and two surgeries later, I eventually had to have a hysterectomy –- I had begun to have hot flashes for real! I went to my doctor on my next scheduled visit and informed him of this, to which I was promptly told that since my uterus only was removed, that my estrogen levels should be fine. And that meant that I couldn’t be having hot flashes.

Blink.

Blink.

People, did I not say that I know what hot flashes felt like and was having crawling skin to boot? But I played along. He said to reassure me he’d have my hormones levels tested. He did. And, of course, they came back within normal range! This did not alter my opinion because just a couple of months later I was sitting a work and was suppressing the urge to have a full-fledged come-apart. For no reason, I wanted to cry and run down the hall, get on the elevators and high tail it home. I managed to pull it together and this feeling soon subsided.

Ladies, I am convinced that, that was my first perimenopausal mood swing. I am 40 years old. Sure, I know what some are saying, but take it from me, for those who haven’t quite made it there yet -– it can happen at 40.

Perimenopause is defined as a transitional period leading up to menopause which can last several years. The general age pinpointed for the start of menopause is 45. Did I tell you that I was 40? Um-hum… During perimenopause, I’ve learned that you will start to have menopausal symptoms. Know why? Your hormone levels –- estrogen and progesterone -- are fluctuating.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Diane Porter

Dita,

Great article. I know that at about 43, when I was having uncontrollable mood swings and etc, my doctor (a good gynecologist) prescribed anti-depressants. I say she's a good gynecologist because she is -- it's just that the body of knowledge we have about this field changes constantly, and every woman is different. One woman's depression could indeed be another woman's perimenopausal mood swings, and it's hard to know until a few years later.

Despite all that, a hot flash is a hot flash and it's hard to believe your doctors dismissed your estrogen levels as being "fine" when you were in the midst of them!

January 4, 2010 - 7:57am
Dita Faulkner (reply to Diane Porter)

Thanks, and good advice.

January 8, 2010 - 10:38am
Dita Faulkner (reply to Diane Porter)

Good points...and thanks!

January 4, 2010 - 8:42am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I think the ages we are supposed to start menopause need rethinking. I was 32 when I started to have hot flashes but they were atypical. in my legs and arms. I had a baby at 33 and they stopped until 39. WHen they started again with an occasional short cycle. I was having as you say full fledged come aparts at 36 every period. We know now that increase in the severity of PMS is an early sign of menopause. I even got pregnant at 40 and miscarried. I was newly remarried so I took my temp to predict ovulation. I was bonifidely in perimenopause at 41. I had already been suffering for 8 years. I wish there had been some way my doctor could have known when I started having hot flashes at 32 that menopause would be early. I am through with the perimenopause mess and I feel and look so much better. I do miss the possibility of more children. I guess some fires never go out.

January 1, 2010 - 8:26am
Dita Faulkner (reply to Anonymous)

You know, everyone is different. I am glad you made it through. There's hope for me! :-)

January 4, 2010 - 8:42am
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