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I'm 45, have always been regular though periods have gotten heavy & short. I'm late - could it be perimenopuase?

By November 4, 2008 - 8:59am
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I just turned 45 last month, have always had regular periods. Lately they've gotten very heavy the first day or 2, last only 3 maybe 4 days instead of 5. I've never missed one, though. My last period was somewhere 9/28-9/30, b/c I remember I bought more pads 9/28 thinking I only had enough in the house for 1 day, but I don't remember when exactly it started. It's now 11/4 and I am definitely late, but am too afraid to get an HPT - maybe wait a couple more days? We didn't use BC on 10/20, don't remember when we did it before that - sometime the first week of Oct. My sex drive has been decreasing for 15 years, really low over the past 2 years as we've gone through stress of building a house and moving 100 miles, w/o selling our old house until we had an offer the day before the move. Through all that I was regular, though. I haven't had hot flashes but I have had flushed cheeks, and get hot/sweaty at night (with DH under the covers) even if I was freezing when I went to bed. Often (before we put flannel sheets on a week ago) I would wake up sweating and kick the covers off, only to be freezing with just a sheet on. My mom didn't have her last period til she was 54, so I thought I had another 5 years or so. Do you think this could be the start of "the change"?

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Well, I got an HPT and took it when I had to go at 3:30am. It's ++++! DH is less than thrilled (esp. since I woke him up to tell him), and I'm scared to death. I made an appt for 11/17, will call tomorrow and tell them of changed circumstances. But I have not been taking vitamins, I drink at least 30 oz of coffee per day, I've been working with strippers, stains, lacquer and polyurethane early in Oct, plus eating sushi and drinking wine. Not to mention that I had my 1st mc 7 years ago due to blighted ovum, another a few months later due to Trisomy 18, then a year later (early 2003) did 2 cycles of IVF to have dd who is going to be 5 in a couple weeks. Out of a dozen eggs each cycle, only 2 were normal, and that was nearly 6 years ago! What are the chances of this baby being normal? We are taking the kids to Disney World right after Tgiving, I really don't want to mc in WDW!

Oh, and stress? DH's company stock has gone down about 90% in the past year, he's only been there 2 years, they've announced layoffs (though not who yet), and the newspapers are speculating that they may be prime for a takeover/buyout. We have high-deductible insurance now, may not have insurance if he loses his job. Is it best to just ask to terminate this pgy now while we still have insurance and I'm still in my first tri?

November 9, 2008 - 5:38am

You know, you've got a LOT going on in your life! It's quite possible that the combination of stress, lack of sleep and normal fatigue has affected you hormonally. We don't tend to eat well in times like that, either, and nutrition has a huge affect on how we feel.

Maybe, in the next day or two, instead of buying a HPT, do a little research to see about finding a doctor for yourself. You are important to your family! (I think it is Dr. Phil that says "The best way to take care of your children is to take care of their mother." Maybe you have met a neighbor whom you could ask about doctors, or if you work outside the home, a co-worker?

Here's a good list from the National Institutes of Health on doctors and specialties:


Hope that helps a little while you're waiting to see what's going on.

November 4, 2008 - 11:26am

My breasts aren't tender or swollen, though they have been for much of the past year (even had some discharge, but it was from both sides so I figured it wasn't a sign of cancer). I haven't been to dr for 15-16 mos, with the move. Haven't found a dr for me yet, though we got a ped. and a dentist right away. As far as fatigue, it's hard to tell - seems like I'm always tired anyway (for months) and it doesn't help that ds has a double ear infection - was up all Sat night and I still feel like I haven't caught up...

November 4, 2008 - 11:03am

AJsMama, it absolutely could be perimenopause. Perimenopause can be marked by as much as a decade of irregular periods, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer or heavier, sometimes missing altogether. As in adolescence, our hormones can wreak havoc with our "regular" cycles, making ovulation less predictable. For instance, if during one cycle you take 5 more days to ovulate, you're going to be 5 days late that month.

Here's a Mayo Clinic page on symptoms of menopause; it sounds like there are other symptoms here that you find yourself dealing with on an occasional basis (hot flashes or insomnia, for instance):


It's good to know when your mother stopped having periods altogether. But don't forget, early symptoms of perimenopause can start a decade before menopause. You might miss this period and not miss another one for a year. Or you might go through menopause earlier than your mom. Or you might have something else going on altogether.

The fact, however, that you are worried about a possible pregnancy puts more stress on you, which can also affect your cycle. Having sex on 10/20 was 16 days ago, so if you got pregnant either then or the time before, a pregnancy test would show you that. Would it be better to know for sure? On the other hand, waiting a couple of days won't change much, other than your level of stress (Although you've had plenty of stress over the last year, it sounds like, with regular periods the entire time.)

Are you extra fatigued? Are your breasts tender or swollen? There are other early symptoms of pregnancy that you probably know about, but just in case:


Take care. I wish you well in your decision whether to buy an HPT or not, and come back and let us know what happens!

November 4, 2008 - 9:52am
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