A question I have been asked recently and devoted serious time to talking with women about is the time of transition when a woman’s ovaries start to slow down the production of hormones. This time is better known as perimenopause.
A woman can experience perimenopause in her thirties, or it may not be until sometime in her forties or even her fifties. Regardless of when the symptoms begin, actual menopause may still be years away. That’s a long time to be “in transition.”
So, what to expect? First, you should know that no two women’s experiences are exactly alike. Just because your best friend had one set of symptoms doesn’t mean that yours will match.
This is exactly what I am experiencing. Yep, I am in the “transition” at 50 and fabulous. Well actually, I was thrown for a loop over the past few days with dizziness and hot feet! Not what I was expecting or what most women have shared with me over the past weeks. Not my head… but my feet! Can you believe my feet were on fire? After researching, I found that dizziness and vertigo are systems of perimenopause that are not often talked about, and so are hot feet.
To my amazement I found thirty-five common symptoms of perimenopause. I could not believe the list was so extensive. There were my symptoms: dizziness, vertigo, light headedness and episodes of loss of balance. At the very least, I felt validated! I did consult with Dr. Andrew London, GYN, co- founder at The Maryland Center for Sexual Health (MCSH), and over the phone, he shared that each woman experiences various levels of discomfort and varied symptoms.
MCHS is participating in this phase three trial. Currently, recruiting women, between the ages of 40 and 65,who are experiencing discomfort from the first signs of sweating to persistent sweating and/or months or years of experiencing hot flashes. Recently, I wrote about the “burning bed” and until now I have been interviewing women and “talking the talk” about low sex drive and menopause. Now, I am walking the talk on perimenopause. It was inevitable, right? I am grateful to have a resource in Baltimore that has innovative treatments and safe options to help navigate women through these transitions. As I asked Dr. London questions, I felt validated as he listened and offered options and first steps in my journey through perimenopause so that I can live an active life and not be miserable!
After talking with Dr. London, I requested to have my hormones tested. While he agreed to see me the next day in his office to discuss options, he also stated this is just a borderline test to show hormone levels and not very effective at age fifty! Women’s hormone levels fluctuate daily, monthly and yearly in various stages of our lives. While the Follicle Stimulating Hormone Test (FSH) is a great test for other issues that present in women (i.e. infertility), it would not be a valid test for most women in perimenopause, especially for me since I am still experiencing monthly menstruation cycles. My purpose is to be pro-active versus re-active to savor the next 50 fabulous years! So I am excited to meet with Dr. London and find out how to navigate.
To learn more and stay up to date on topics, trends and additional studies Click Here. MCSH conducts an extensive range of therapeutic clinical drug trials, evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of new drugs for the treatment of numerous sexual problems with women in various stages of menopause in Baltimore. Substantial financial compensation is awarded for your time to participate. From what I am learning and hearing from other women, the rewards just might outweigh the financial return!
So for tonight, on a beautiful autumn evening in Baltimore – moderate temp – my air conditioning is turned on high! I am in preventive mode to avoid another night of “hot feet”. I am excited to see Dr. London and eager to learn more about the ever-changing, wondrous female body that continues to amaze me. Stay tuned!