Perimenopause: how do ya know???

I am 41 and have most of the symptoms. :sad:

Would my gynecologist be able to give me an official diagnosis?

Hey pippi! I don't have an answer. Since it's you, I wanted to ask, instead, what are the symptoms? I'm going to be 44 next month. I still feel like I am in my 30's.... sort of anyway....

I have become irregular lately (after being regular my whole life), increased mood issues, fatigue, body temperature changes (although, to be fair I have always been one to perspire a bit), headaches.

It's been on my mind because I know it hit my mom early. I could be extremely paranoid. I know there is no real treatment, but I'd like to know for sure.

Yes, your GYN can give you an official diagnosis following an exam and blood test of your FSH level.

There is also a test called the MIS (I'm pretty sure that's it) that can be done to determine you ovarian reserve. There are general guidelines as to what a woman's MIS number is at a certain age. I'm young-ish (30s), and mine is low signaling that I could (might, may perhaps) head in to menopause early.

So interesting. I was always VERY irregular, skipping months and even a whole year when I was 21. After having kids in my 30's, things got more regular. I wonder whether this will mean a later menopause, assuming I have a higher reserve. But from reading up a bit just now, it might not, since there are numerous other factors, such as hormone levels, pituitary glands, thyroid glands, etc. I don't think the tests sound like they can give a real diagnosis.

This is from one site I was reading:

"Perimenopause is not a static thing. We move in and out of it depending on our hormonal balance. Women will find that they can be a little bit menopausal now and then, flowing in and out of it for ten or more years. This is why we have not found the menopause tests to be very useful. The results are very changeable. They test for black or white and a woman’s hormonal balance is gray."

Pippi, you go for a full exam with your doctor including pap and bloodwork. They rule out the bad stuff as a cause of the bleeding irregularity, and thats how you know.


Not to sound glib, but if you think you are, you are. It's feeling like you've never ever felt before in your life.

Just a note -- if you're on any kind of birth control pills, the test will say you're not in peri-menopause. That happened to me -- for 8, count 'em 8, years, I went from doctor to doctor trying to get a diagnosis, and being told, nope, you're not there. Turns out I was all along -- and had to suffer all that time. The final doctor said "let's take you off the birth control pills and see what happens". Sure enough, no more periods. Happiest day of my life! More than 3/4 of my symptoms also went away.

I'd like to go back to each of those other doctors and tell them off!

Good luck!

and while we are on the subject, I'm 42 and experiencing all the same things at Pippi and have been wondering if there is anything at all I can do to try to regulate my hormones (for my own sanity and that of my family as well) short of going on the pill which is what my GYN suggested.
I would try diet, vitamins, supplements etc...
Anyone heard of anything that works?

I had a bunch of emotional see-sawing for several years in my 40's before I started noticing any of the "conventional" symptoms of peri-menopause (hot flashes, irregular periods, etc.). At the time I thought the emotional stuff was a reaction to what was going on in my life, but now (ten years later) I'm convinced that it was physical, an early sign of menopause. In retrospect, that was the worst part of the whole process for me. I did things and made decisions when I wasn't really thinking straight.

emskware - I'm not on a birth control pill. I presume if I were I'd still be regular, albeit artificially.

Posted By: Emskware
Not to sound glib, but if you think you are, you are. It's feeling like you've never ever felt before in your life.

That's good to know. Frankly, I have probably felt like this on various levels at different times throughout my life (always a little moody, a little sweaty etc.) so, maybe it's nothing. The only big differences are increased irritability and a sudden irregularity.

Bloodwork. I got my results on a day when I was sure I was losing my marbles--I was an absolute emotional wreck. They called in the afternoon and told me and said I "might be more emotional than usual!"

THANK GOD there was an explanation!

Posted By: karenoWe move in and out of it depending on our hormonal balance.

This is so true. Your estrogen doesn't just shut off one day it just sort of sputters out and starts back in a series of cycles until it doesn't start back again one day.

It could also be your thyroid. I went to the GYN last year and the symptoms for perimenopause are the same as thyroid issues! Strange but true. So have your doc run tests for that as well.

I'm in my mid-40s and my cycle in the past year or two has become so irregular that it has prompted many a "oh sh*t, am I pregnant?" thought. I wouldn't really say I have mood swings but I've noticed that I am a LOT less patient lately. Also, perhaps TMI, but I am not as into sex as I used to be, which sucks. I'm trying to step up exercise to make myself feel better. I fear it is all downhill from here if I don't!

scarlet - I had my thyroid checked recently when I had some routine blood work through my GP. It's fine.

Posted By: muppet Also, perhaps TMI, but I am not as into sex as I used to be, which sucks.

That's definitely one of the many symptoms.

See, here's one of the issues:
I haven't decided 100% if I am done having kids. There I said it.
My husband thinks we've decided, but I am not ready to close that door yet.

Those tests aren't reliable. I had the bloodwork done to see if I was in perimenopause, and they told told me that there were no signs of it. Two years later, no more periods. I'd say that test was about 100% wrong in my case.

I tried a few of the different alternative remedies to help with some of the symptoms, but nothing really seemed to have an effect. It couldn't hurt to have a full work-up to make sure there's nothing else going on with your system.

I'd say if your mother went through it early and you have some symptoms, it's likely your hormone levels are starting to shift, and that could cause some of what you're feeling. For me, the worst part was the times when my heart would start to race for no reason.

Start with your ob/gyn, but I'd also make an appointment with your regular doctor and get a general check-up, just to feel better about things.

Posted By: PeggyCmy heart would start to race for no reason.

Please tell me this goes away....

Posted By: kmk
Posted By: PeggyCmy heart would start to race for no reason.

Please tell me this goes away....

Anxiety is one of the other delightful side effects.

Does anyone find - are GI symptoms typical of perimenopause too?

Posted By: bettina

Does anyone find - are GI symptoms typical of perimenopause too?

Bloating and water retention are symptoms I have read about. I didn't see anything that refers to other GI issues.
TMI alert: I have been pretty *irregular* the past few weeks which is unusual. That's another area I am very regular. So now I wonder....

I went thru full blown menopause at 36!
I was unable to have biological children due to the fact that at 31 I was perimenopausal.

The worst is the hot flashes, one minute freezing the next you feel like you will spontaneously combust!

A few things I found help... Severely limit your caffeine intake and salt intake. Use ( ugh, I know) a poly/cotton blend sheets because they seem to stay cooler than high thread count all cotton.- you will definitely experience the hot flashes at night- I feel like all I do all night is look for the cold spot in bed. Nighttime bathroom trips will increase ( coupled with the hot flashes, no
Matter HOW tempting to strip off all your clothing at sleep on the cold bathroom tile, resist the urge, your family will look at you like you've lost it) cheese

Hope this helps, good luck and I hope it ends soon for you- I've been suffering with it 8 years now.-LOL

I'm in my early 50's. I've only had one 'hot flash,' but a racing heart was the scariest part of it. I used frozen peas under each arm since we didn't have any ice. Guess what we had for dinner.

I have taken oona from whole foods (black cohosh/chaste berry) very successfully in terms of treating my physical symptoms. Never taking more than recommended. There is controversy around supplements because they are natural estrogen and natural progesterone. I would recommend doing research about it, talking to the docs. I had different reactions -- people at Avalon said fine, my internist freaked out, my new gynecologist said 6 months is tops for how long she gives it to her patients. I've taken it for 3 years, but she wants me off eventually. I see more frozen peas in my future.

Also, my anxiety level skyrocketed about 5 years ago and I've been on zoloft since. This has enabled me to sleep and be much less anxious. Don't know if the anxiety is perimen. or just me. This is the synopsis for the full story, tune into 'Lisa's Saga, a blog about bitchiness, bloating, and feeling bummed.'


Yes! The anxiety and heart palpitations are horrible! I am not on any daily meds but my doctor gave me an rx for Valium for when the attacks occur. I take 1/2 a tablet if I experience one and know in a few minutes it will pass. I found it helps just knowing I have it in my purse if I need it.

The other symptom is what I call " seeing red" meaning I get very angry about stupid crap, which can be attributed to lack of sleep/hot flashes and hormones running amok but I have learned deep breathing and counting to 30 helps. Lol


I am unable to take any supplements because of my history ( had cervical cancer at 24, and was on large doses of fertility meds for several years). I caution anyone planning on using the supplements, please speak with your doctor and make SURE to explain your medical history in detail!

Posted By: SlyFoxy1The anxiety and heart palpitations are horrible!

Wow and I thought it was just my teenagers causing me the anxiety on top of the "outta the blue" heart palpitations. This makes total sense.
Of course, given all the weird physical symptoms I have been experiencing, I have gotten more anxious and convinced that I am about to die which causes more anxiety!
Does the Valium really work that quickly? Sounds heavenly.

This thread is scaring the ***** out of me.....

Yes. It really helps but I take it very sparingly. Like I got the rx filled last January and I still have 10 or 30 tablets left.

It's not YOU, it's your hormones going wonky..... And no, you're NOT alone.

Posted By: kmk
Posted By: PeggyCmy heart would start to race for no reason.

Please tell me this goes away....

It did for me. Went on for a few years, on and off, then went away. No trouble with that now.

Tiger, don't let it scare you. These are the possible symptoms, but there's no guarantee you will get all of them, or any with any real severity. For me, the heart palpitations were very scary, and I had extremely heavy flow toward the end when my periods became irregular as all get-out, but that was the vast majority of my symptoms. I had some hot flashes, but not so bad that I soaked the sheets. I would wake up feeling too hot and a bit sweaty, but it was tolerable.

For the most part, I hardly noticed it was going on. I realized there were symptoms from time to time, but it didn't take over my life.

The biggest thing I can share with you is it's different for every woman. If you find you have symptoms that are annoying or scary, go to the doctor. I was an idiot and simply went through it on my own, and I probably shouldn't have, but I got through it just fine. And to tell you the truth, I feel better now in that respect than I did when I was still ovulating. It's a relief to be done with all the wacky shifts, and I snort now when I pass the tampon section. :wink:

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