My Story: Coping with Perimenopause

By Amy Agigian —

JF shares her experience with perimenopause. She explains how hard it has been to talk to a doctor about perimenopause because it is rarely discussed.


OBOS Today: Could you tell me why you wanted to start—why you wanted to talk about this today?

JF: Yeah, I want to talk about perimenopause, which is a thing I am currently experiencing.

OBOS Today: What have you been experiencing? Can you tell me about that?

JF: Oh. Um. Yeah! I’m experiencing so many things! [laughing] Um, I started perimenopause a couple of years ago. I like skipped a whole cycle and after that happened— which was really unpleasant because I got, like, PMSed and then just stayed PMSed for a month. Um, and I’ve just had a bunch of symptoms since then. I’ve had IBS that I never had before; I had a migraine for the first time in 30 years; but primarily for the last couple of years, I’ve been getting my period, like, more frequently and for longer? Like, a sped-up cycle where my bleeding periods are longer, and then also they come more frequently—But in the last—like, since the new year, I’ve shifted into like perimenopause high gear. Um, I’m on, like, Day— I don’t even know, like fifty-some-odd of my cycle right now. Um. [laughs]

And—yeah, and I’m having mood swings, I’m having fatigue, I’m having like this brain fog where I can’t make my thoughts work, I’m having acid reflux, like, whoa? It’s like—it’s a lot! And I find myself feeling really angry, because like this is something that slightly more than half the population goes through, and it is so hard to get a straight answer about what might help with any of it. Um. I had to go—I had to, like, really do a lot of intense, like, self-advocacy to get in to see a perimenopause specialist, who I have an appointment with for next week, ‘cause, like, the automatic thing would be to just send you to some random gynecologist—which, like, perimenopause is like a whole systems thing, and a gynecologist mostly doesn’t—like, I’m sure they’re lovely people, but like—anyway, it’s been a lot! It’s been a lot, and nobody talks about it.

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