I go into a bit of detail on this, and it might end up seeming gory, but this is my body and I want to write about what happened, as it’s important to share this information. Most women talk about the horrors of perimenopause, but not the annoyances. You’ll see what I mean if you continue reading.
Last year, my menstrual cycle went wonky. I’ve never been regular, but I was regularly irregular and knew what to expect. Then, last year, I was late one month. This happens once a year, so wasn’t that unexpected. The next month, I had a short period. The month after that, I was two weeks early and a huge clot fell out of me. Larger than normal. By then, I had called my ob/gyn and they said I was probably in perimenopause. I was 45. No, not too young.
The rest of last year seemed to even out and I went back to a more expected interval between periods. I had some hot flashes, but not the horror show I have heard from other women. Mine lasted probably no more than a couple minutes and usually only in the morning while in bed. The worse thing that happened is that my sleep patterns were off the charts. I had insomnia more than usual. Yes, my insomnia had a pattern. Usually, I have insomnia up to twice a month right around my period. Last year it seemed to be happening about once a week or so.
Things went back to normal at the end of last year. I stopped having insomnia as much, hot flashes went away, and my cycle went back to my normal. Then, in January, I had my last normal period. February rolled around and I didn’t have a period. As I didn’t like that, I took a pregnancy test. It had expired, but I used it anyway. I didn’t want to go get one and found out that an expired test may come back with a false negative. But perimenopause can cause false positives…
It came back negative.
During all this I called my ob/gyn. A new one, as the one from last year, who I had seen for a years, retired. (sigh) The new one assured me everything was fine and due to what happened last year, I was probably just showing more signs of perimenopause. I told them about taking the expired pregnancy test and the nurse said it was probably right and I probably didn’t need to take another pregnancy test. As I worry too much about this (as does my fiancé) we bought a new, non-expired test. It too, came back negative (YAY).
So February, no period, March no period and as April rolled in, I was secretly hoping to never have a period ever again. I was REALLY REALLY hoping this was how things would go. Then, April 24th (I have an app where I can track my period), I showed signs of getting my period. I grumbled but prepared for the inevitable.
After a week of basically my body teasing me with spotting, I got my period.
And it hasn’t stopped.
Yeah, you read that right. I’ve had my period for almost a month now. After the first week, I called my ob/gyn and they told me that this is normal and just keep an eye on it. They also told me what to watch for. For those of you who are curious: if I soak through a pad (front to back, side to side where it can be wrung out) for a few hours in a row, then I have to go to the ER.
At this point, though my period has not stopped, it is not an emergency, it’s only an annoyance. The nurse also told me that yes, this happens to a lot of people. When I asked her about it, she said I wasn’t the only person she had talked to that day that had the same issue… so this is “normal”.
I really hope this stops. The thing is, this really is just an inconvenience. I’m not losing enough blood to feel weak (yes, that can happen), it’s just annoying. I also asked my ob/gyn what happens if this lasts until I see her. The answer from the nurse: sorry, we can’t tell you your options without a thorough medical history review. Ok. Fine, but fuck this is just annoying.
The reason I wrote about this is that my entire life no woman or doctor has ever told me that a period could last for a month. I also wasn’t told that things could just be mildly annoying. The women I’ve heard from in the past talk about hot flashes that make them sweat profusely or periods that are heavy and last a couple weeks. I’ve never heard about my experiences. I kind of wonder if the reason women don’t talk about it, other than “it’s taboo”, is that they feel they shouldn’t. Due to things being largely ok for me, I felt that talking about my issues with perimenopause wasn’t worth it, due to the horror stories I’ve heard. I didn’t want to feel like I was “rubbing it in” how easy things were.
So there you go. My experiences so far. And this doesn’t mean things won’t get better or worse, as it’s just starting. Perimenopause usually last four years. Fingers crossed this stays at the annoying level and doesn’t get worse.