A lot of things have been going on here that I haven’t blogged about, mainly because I am tired. So very tired. All you men can just stop reading here unless you want way too much information about the workings of the female reproductive system.
Those who are squeamish have left, right?
Good. That leaves the sympathetic and the curious. Perfect.
So. I’m 46 this year. We all know what that means, right? I’m of the age where all those wonderful Changes start happening that herald the end of my child-bearing years and the beginning of Real Freedom from the plagues of women. Right? What a load of horseshit!
I want to lodge an official complaint to who-the-fuck-ever informs society about the “most common” symptoms of menopause. Dude, you suck!
Oh, sure, we’ve all heard about Hot Flashes, right? Great news – only about 30% of women experience hot flashes, and that’s the most common symptom we all hear about. Hot flashes and night sweats. I’m usually cold, so those don’t sound so bad. And, no, that’s not what I’m talking about today. Nope.
You occasionally hear that your periods will get lighter, irregular, and then stop altogether. When you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, you’re officially in menopause and done with all that messy business. Right?
WELL! The symptoms no one talks about (except women on various internet boards who are all shocked and horrified, apparently) are the two I’m experiencing at the moment – flooding periods and peri-menopausal rage. I don’t know if one isn’t caused by the other, but I suspect they go hand-in-hand.
I’ve had regular periods all my life. Like you could set your watch by them. Seriously, totally predictable. A few years ago I went in for my usual Yearly Exam. The doc told me I could expect my periods to get erratic and likely much lighter in the next few years. It’s like the words went from her lips directly to my uterus and the irregularities began. Nothing too shocking, just not on schedule, but lighter, so that was a great bonus!
Not long after I left the narc, I missed completely for three months. There was no way I was pregnant, so I counted my blessings and was a bit disappointed when they started up again, slightly irregular, but back to my normal.
I missed February, March and April this year and was pleasantly surprised, but since there was no way I was pregnant, I didn’t think too much about it. In May it came back a little more severe – more PMS than usual, heavier bleeding, but nothing too strange.
But then! June 7 (about a week early) it started. With a vengeance. At first I didn’t make much of it. Maybe it was a little heavier than usual, but no biggie, right?
And then it was quite a bit heavier than usual. No panic, this never lasts more than five days and I can do five days of pretty much anything.
That was when the flood began. It went on and on. And on and on. A full week. Still, no biggie, this is to be expected at this stage in my life. But it didn’t stop. It was heavy and oh-my-god-surely-I’m-dying heavy. Then nothing overnight. Whew! It’s over, right? Nope. It’s freaking Niagra Falls down there, if Niagra Falls were prominently featured in a slasher flick.
Today marks Day 18. A bit of online research reveals that it can go on much longer or stop at any time. It can never happen again or start up again at any time. Either/or and/or both at once. Lovely. AND I can expect this to go on for 4-10 years! Halla-freakin-looya. Being female sucks.
Besides the irritation of going to the toilet and having it look like a crime scene, there’s the expense of all the pads I go through.
From a website (they all agree on this info):
The usual length of menstrual bleeding is four to six days. The usual amount of blood loss per period is 10 to 35 ml. Each soaked normal-sized tampon or pad holds a teaspoon (5ml) of blood. That means it is normal to soak one to seven normal-sized pads or tampons (“sanitary products”) in a whole period.
Srsly? So I pay way too much money for pads that only soak up a teaspoon of liquid? How many drops is that? I’ll save you the Googling – one teaspoon equals 76 drops. Okay. So each pad soaks up 76 drops. Lemme tell you this – Flooding Periods can produce as much as 2 cups! How many drops is that? Yep – 4,732 drops per cup, for a total of 9,464 drops. Divide that by 76 and you get 124.52 pads. I wish I was kidding. Two pads per hour sometimes and it shows no sign of stopping. It’s a laugh riot around here, lemme tell you.
Now, being smarter than the average bear, I use a FemmeCup, which holds 7.5 – 15 ml, so more than two pads, which makes it a bit more convenient, but it still has to be emptied every couple of hours and if I miss that, well, it gets really messy, really quick. Good thing I have a good stain stick for the laundry!
If all of this becomes too inconvenient, I can opt for birth control pills (which may or may not work to bring my cycles back to a predictable rhythm and which have many terrible side effects, naturally much more severe considering my age and that I smoke) an IUD (with more side effects and which may not work but could result in a host of really nasty problems) a D&C (which may or may not work and can result in severe pain and other side effects) a hysterectomy (just what I need – invasive surgery which will knock my hormones into all kinds of insanity but will bring on menopause proper) or various other drugs that may or may not work but will have side effects that may or may not make life unbearable.
All the websites agree that I should go see the doc and have a host of tests done, some invasive, some not so much, all of which will confirm that I am indeed Peri-menopausal and this is just the beginning of the next chapter of my life. With the wait to see a doc around here, I think I’ll pass on that one.
ALSO, I’m probably anemic, which can lead to a bunch of complications, including fainting. Yay! I bought some multivitamins and iron tabs today at lunch time to try to head that off before it becomes a problem. It does explain the fatigue, though.
Which brings us back to the Peri-menopausal Rage that I mentioned. Yeah. That’s not something anyone warns you about. My moods are all over the place and I would cheerfully choke the life out of my own child if it meant my uterus would quit gushing blood for just a few hours. I’m not even kidding. So far I haven’t acted out, but I think I chipped a tooth biting back words that I really didn’t want to speak to someone with a penis who was being especially stupid in that moment. Or maybe he wasn’t being stupid. Who can even remember? It was…something…whatever. The rage has passed, for now, but I know it will be back.
The good news is that I haven’t had any hot flashes or night sweats! Yay?!? Or will that be the next cross to bear?
Oh, but wait! There’s more stress. Tune in tomorrow for Part the Third.