I had to consult a surgeon when a sonogram revealed gallstones and the recommendation was said consultation and subsequent "easier than pie" gallbladder removal via something called "laproscopic surgery" which apparently didn't utilize such old fashioned implements as knives.
Needless to say, I opted out of the surgery in favor of reducing my high triglycerides through diet, exercise and omega three products, lowering my cholesterol and giving up alcohol. I just didn't want it taken from me. However, one phrase struck me and my then-39-year-old ears as extremely strange and not just a tad horrifying.
"Your numbers," the surgeon had said, looking over my bloodwork, "are fairly normal for a peri-menopausal woman."
The phrase resounded in my head like a trapped pin-pong ball; "peri-menopausal woman, woman, woman, woman...," except not as slow-witted as all that...
What on earth did it mean? And how on earth did this young surgeon expect that I would KNOW what it meant, as if women in my "age group" automatically knew we were PERI things. Too tongue tied to mention this, I began researching the subject on my own. I knew the word menopause had been uttered but it was too unbelievable to understand. I wasn't even forty years old! I'd just made up my mind to stop having babies, like the day before! Aside from my aching gallbladder and emotional drinking I was in perfect, if somewhat wonky, health! I'd figured I still had a good fifteen years of this type of denial before the real pausing began...
As it turns out, perimenopause is precisely this ten to fifteen year period (ha! pun intended) prior to actual menopause which is when your period ceases (it must be absent for a year to be considered menopause). Symptoms of perimenopause can include dry eyes, depression, short term memory loss, weight loss or gain and other things I figured were just part of my every day life. For a more detailed overview of perimenopause, see the following website:http://www.womentowomen.com/menopause/perimenopause.aspx
Perimenopause means simply, the time before the period stops and does involve some hormonal changes as well.