Is this perimenopause?

Sorry guys, this post may not be one for you but stay tuned, I will return to more gender-neutral posts tomorrow. And there is good stuff coming up such as a review of Designer Whey and Saucony Virratas!

But now I am venturing into a topic that may be of interest to some of you gals.... .

I can't remember what sent me into the doctor months ago, or what motivated my doctor to check my FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) levels, but essentially, she was looking to see if they were high enough to conclude I was officially in perimenopause. The test didn't conclusively indicate a new phase in my life and there is debate about the accuracy of this test. You can read more about FSH as it relates to perimenopause HERE or google it. You will find a plethora of articles.

But I am a firm believer in listening to your body and through running as much as I do, I have become pretty darn good at hearing what it has to say. I know when things are off. I may not always know why but I know something isn't quite right. And that is where I stand today.

For the past 5 months I have been feeling like a teenage girl again, but not in the best of ways. I am back to intense menstrual cramps and heavy flow. The conditions that enticed me to take off of work when I was 19 to stay curled up in bed. I don't have that luxury anymore. I have a few more bills and more responsibilities now but the feeling is still there. Throughout my high school years I was convinced that childbirth could not be any worse than my cramps. Those intense cramps are back and I can tell you now that they are definitely comparable to contractions....but childbirth for me was still worse due to my placenta ripping off of my uterus and forcing an emergency c-section. That second part wasn't too bad if you forget about the allergic reaction to the tape that left a large portion of my body covered with the itchiest rash ever. But I have strayed....

In addition to cramps, heavy flow, and lightheadedness I have night sweats now. And our house is not warm at all at night. Dear hubby sleeps under two comforters. I did speak to the OB/GYN RN a couple of months ago. She delicately, or perhaps not so delicately, told me this is normal as I enter my fourth decade of life. Okay, that made me feel old and I had just turned 40. She went on to explain she knew it wasn't easy for me, and can be quite difficult, but it was normal. Call if it gets worse. Okay, so she agreed I was suffering but not suffering enough to look for any remedies.

Why am I writing this? Because I am a female, I am a runner, and I am a blogger committed to telling the truth. And I cannot be the only female impacted by this. Plus, all of this is going to come clashing together sooner or later in a way that will not make me the happiest. Today I stayed in bed longer and skipped my morning run since I felt so miserable. Yes, running can make cramping feel better but running right now, at this moment, is not fun and kind of torturous. My cramps even encouraged me to call out "Give me a break!" once or twice on my drive to work. They are intense. And it stands to reason that one day this particular day of my "new fourth decade" cycle is going to coincide with race day. And then what? Today I decided, I will run that race and accept the fact that I won't be PR'ing. Quite crushing if it means weeks of training to PR slip away to nothingness. But I will load myself up with supplies, run the course, take the million pit stops, moan in agony if necessary, and complete the race. What would you do?

And is this perimenopause? The blood test months ago said no. I say, pretty sure it is. I know my body is changing. From talking to friends it sounds we are traveling down a similar path. A path women will all take one day or another. A path that I wish I could have waited a few more years to discover because honestly, I just stepped into my fourth decade in October. But who am I to argue with nature?

P.S. I have my annual physical scheduled at the end of the month with my PCP, who happens to be a running mom too, and yes, I will be talking about the lightheadedness with her. It does raise concern for me....in particular, I am thinking iron levels.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for pain killers on days like today.
Daily Affirmation: I know my body.


  1. As we get older things don't exactly get easier, do they?!

    I have ran a couple ultra when it was that time. Not always fun. But often funny in the looking back at how things went and how I dealt with them. I do agree my energy was lower but the cramping was diminished by the exercise. I've only once encountered the light headedness in a race and it was frightening.

    I know you will listen to your body and move forward with grace.

  2. Thank you for this post! I wonder if I'm not going through the same thing, or if it's not just my teenager that has such crazy strong hormone's she's throwing me out of whack. ;) Looking forward to how your doctor visit pans out and what questions I'll be looking to run past my own doc soon.

  3. Have to respond to this one!! I am 45 and have been experiencing lots of perimenopause symptoms. Most recently, weight gain, which makes me feel like Michigan Fat Mom versus Michigan Fit mom!! The sweats have been getting worse. My doctor prescribed Remifemin which is a natural over the counter herbal supplement. Seems to help. You might want to ask about it. I have also re invented my eating to heap on the fruits, vegetables, protein and water. This too seems to help my mood. I foresee these symptoms hanging with me for the next 5 or 6 years at least. I don't have the heavy periods (yet), but I have heard of women going back on the pill during their perimenopause years just for relief. My advice is to become best friends with your doctor. Email, call whatever you need to do to figure out the best treatment for you. Treatment is as varied as it gets!! Just know that all women eventually go through it. You are not alone!!! Thanks for writing the blog!!

  4. i love having these kinds of things to look forward to. I hope you find a solution to those nasty cramps and are able to run good. Sorry I don't have any great advice, but maybe when I reach that point in my life you can tell me all the great answers. :)

  5. I have just turned 40, and too have started suffering from similar symtoms. I was tested a couple years ago without answers, but I believe we need to listen to our bodies!

  6. I say yes it is. I think you should talk to your OB about taking progesterone. Bioidentical. not chemical..no PRIMERIN. You should read the book AGELESS. I have been on hormone replacement therapy since 2009. All natural all in creams. I take all 3 hormones because I had a full hysterectomy but in your case I think just progesterone would help you a lot. you dont need a Rx..you can find that in health stores. I would ask your Dr if she is open to BHRT...whatever you do..dont take the hormones in pills.

  7. Ladies, I got to confess, I was a bit nervous posting this as it seemed a bit personal and on the edge of TMI but now, I am so glad I did. I am loving your feedback and ideas. I am very fortunate to have this information before going into seeing my doctor because now I feel armed a bit more with information.


  8. I was having issues with a lot of the same problems especially the cramping/heavy bleeding ones and talked to my doctor about it. She decided that the best course of action was to put me on Yaz, a contraceptive birth control And it seemed great to start out. My periods got lighter than disappeared and I thought all my problems were over. Little did I know that the pill was doing dreadful things to my body. It's anti-androgenic which means that what little testosterone I was producing (and we produce less going into this phase of our lives) was becoming unavailable for my body to use. I couldn't recover from workouts and was constantly exhausted. One doctor even diagnosed chronic fatigue. Two years after starting the pill I finally worked out that they were the cause of almost two years of feeling sick. So I applaud your doctor in just letting things be and not jump in and try to fix things. Some times the cure can be worse than the illness.

    1. Such good advice! I really don't like the idea of taking anything everyday of my life but would love some holistic approaches to help improve my energy and keep the lightheadedness at bay.

  9. Thank you for this post, there is almost no info on this subject. Good to know I am not alone. I started all this at 52, I can pretty much pinpoint the day. As she said above, I am into fitness, so I know my body. What I get mostly is water weight gain/bloating that is uncomfortable, "heavy legs", a feeling in my mouth like I always want to brush my teeth (I remember this from pregnancy, which is how I knew it was hormonal), parasthesias where it feels like someone is touching me but they're not, and periods of intense itching in my legs especially. Fatigue is moderate, but I'm not as good as I was, and I go through spells where I can't sleep because I feel like I'm on caffeine. On occasion I've had this weird off balance-ness where I felt like I might fall over. I get warm at times, but not really flashes with all the sweating I hear about. I had one episode where I was bleeding buckets, and had cramps as bad as labor (this on a planned romantic weekend, no less). I never had anything like it and thought I might die. Thank goodness for the internet or I'd have rushed myself to the ER. Got on birth control pills, which helps a little, at least it mostly gets me on a little bit of a schedule. This May is 4 years, which is the average length, so I am hoping to be getting close to done. Although periods regular. Missed about 6 months, but the. Started up again. Ugh, it's annoying. Can't wait to be done.


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