Crashing into Perimenopause & Self-Diagnosis

by Kirsten
Researching perimenopause

A year ago I made a life changing decision to stop taking the contraceptive pill, which was my primary way of managing my endometriosis. I was having huge surges in oestrogen and my health was spiralling, my endometriosis (endo) was flaring up and I had started to have severe migraine aura attacks, which were becoming increasingly scary. 

It was a very tough choice as I had no idea what the future held for my endo and what the health ramifications would be. I discussed it at length with my doctors and they believed it was the right decision, but what I did not know and what had never even crossed my mind was that I would crash straight into perimenopause.  

Medical appointments suddenly became a frustrating and stressful routine.  With each visit, a new symptom cropped up. What started as chronic migraines and auras started to expand to; anxiety, unexplained weight gain, bloating, electric shocks, tingling in my hands, brain fog, itchy head, dry skin and more. 

I felt adrift in a sea of ever evolving discomfort, desperate for answers. The doctors just didn’t seem to connect the dots. They never acknowledged the clear transition my body was going through.  On no occasion was perimenopause even mentioned as a possibility, despite being 45 and now off the pill. 

With my self confidence at rock bottom and anxiety through the roof, I embarked on a personal research mission.  I devoured health articles, scoured online medical journals, and completed countless symptom assessments. Slowly, a picture emerged.  It was a long, emotional journey piecing together the puzzle, mostly by myself, but the answer finally clicked: perimenopause.

Thankfully, after presenting my self-diagnosis to my doctor, she finally confirmed my suspicion. Looking back over the last twelve months, the lack of awareness surrounding perimenopause from our healthcare professionals and doctors is heartbreaking and unacceptable.

I, like most women, could have been saved from over a year of constant worry about what was happening to my body, numerous wasted medical appointments, disappointment in trying multiple medications which were wrongly prescribed and stressful scans, tests and results which lead nowhere. 

Had my physicians been properly educated and aware about perimenopause I could have been diagnosed far earlier and had the support and advice I so desperately needed, especially with endometriosis playing a sideline role. Women shouldn’t have to navigate this transition alone. 

Now, knowing what I’m dealing with, I feel a surge of empowerment. My confidence is back, replaced by a newfound strength and I want to help other women avoid the confusion  and fear I faced and help them identify perimenopause and prepare them for the years ahead. Together, through stories like mine, we can create a generation of informed and empowered women ready to handle perimenopause with confidence. Let’s break the silence and talk about perimenopause!

Let’s Talk Perimenopause

  • Raise Awareness: All women will go through perimenopause at some stage in their life. For most it will be in their 40s. Recognizing the symptoms can be incredibly helpful in controlling the discomforts and side effects. 
  • Advocate for Ourselves: If you suspect perimenopause, do your own research and then speak to your doctor. Go prepared with a list of symptoms and the research you’ve done.
  • Embrace Knowledge: Educate yourself! There are many resources available online and some great books and podcasts out now.
  • Find Support: Don’t feel alone. Reach out to online communities or support groups. There’s strength in shared experiences.

Some of My Current Symptoms 

  • Chronic Migraine Auras & Ocular Migraines 
  • Anxiety 
  • Weight Gain & Bloating 
  • Body Odour Change
  • Dry Skin & Breakouts 
  • Electric Shocks
  • Irregular Periods 
  • Stiff Neck and Muscle Aches
  • Nausea & Palpitations 
  • Hands Tingling
  • Difficulty Concentrating & Brain Fog
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