My Body is Confused

Hey, what’s this? A blog post? From little old me? Yup!

My body is continuing to torture me as I enter the end-stages of perimenopause and I just really felt the need to write about it. If discussions of female bodily functions squick you out, you may not want to read this. I just really felt the need to get this all down in writing.

I’ve been having perimenopause symptoms for at least 10-12 years now, all starting with hot flashes in my early 30s. My symptoms began early because of the fact I have always had issues with my reproductive system. I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome), I had a fast growing dermoid cyst on my right ovary that forced me to get a unilateral oophorectomy (in plain English, they removed one of my ovaries) at the age of 28 (which is when I decided to have a tubal ligation done at the same time).

I’ve known since my surgery that I would most likely go into early menopause because they essentially reduced the number of eggs I had by half. It took some time for my body to adjust to having only one ovary but the transition wasn’t too bad.

However in the last few years my entire menstrual cycle has been getting worse, especially once I was forced off the pill because of hormonal changes in my body. My OB/GYN tried to do an endometrial ablation on me to help reduce the symptoms since all the hormone therapies failed. Unfortunately the ablation failed as well and I was back to just suffering every month.

Around five months ago (May 2015) I was out to brunch with friends when my remaining ovary felt like it was starting to turn back flips. There was a strong fluttering happening, in waves, and it triggered a full-on panic attack. After a few trips the doctor, it was explained that my ovary was trying to release an egg and there may not have been one, or there was a drop in progesterone, or both. I am convinced that my ovary was basically in it’s death throes that day (you’ll realize why I think that in a moment).

Ever since then, my cycles have been different. (OK here comes the bodily function bit-you have been warned!).

My menstrual symptoms remained largely the same, but the blood itself was different.  It was just regular blood, not menstrual blood. I think most women know the difference, but menstrual blood has a particular odor and it’s thicker and clumpier than just blood by itself (because of all the nutrients for a potential baby that’s stored in it). Well after my panic inducing, ovary freak-out, my blood was just…blood. No odor, no clumps. Just plain blood. Every cycle since then has been the same…just plain blood. No menstrual blood.

Then my cycles themselves started being more odd as well. I started bleeding/spotting heavily about a week before my cycle was supposed to start and the period of bleeding went from 4-5 days to as many as 13 (yikes!). Now this current month everything just went sideways again. For about a week before my cycle was predicted to begin (hah!) I didn’t have bleeding or spotting, but I had severe muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and an increase in my hair falling out (just great, as if it’s not thin enough already).

My cycle was predicted to begin on Monday, October 12 and my menstrual app on my phone has been relatively accurate (within +/- 1 day or so), even with all the irregularity I’ve experienced. However it’s now October 16th with no sign of bleeding. However as of today I am having menstrual symptoms: cramps, bloating, acne, fatigue. Everything but the bleeding itself.

To me it’s clear that I’m on the cusp, the very verge of entering into full-on menopause. That doesn’t mean I won’t have any bleeding at all anymore (but I sure as heck hope I won’t! I am so *done* with having cycles.).

So for right now my body seems completely confused, trying to put me through a cycle when there is most likely nothing there to cycle anymore. I really hope this is the end and that my body stabilizes soon.

I’m sharing this because there is so much I feel they don’t tell you about menopause. None of my doctors has been willing to come to that diagnoses yet, and I know you have to miss an entire twelve months of cycles before anyone will declare a woman in menopause because the process is apparently so unpredictable.

However, I wish more people would share their experiences, so here I am sharing mine so far.