About a year ago some weird things started happening to my body. I suddenly had tinnitus (and hadn’t been to a concert in years), I’d have these periods when I felt like I was on fire, heart palpitations, fatigue, achy joints…the list goes on. So I did what every 48 year old woman does-I called my Mommy. I explained what was going on and that I thought maybe I was having a stroke. There was a long pause and then a little chuckle. “You’re not having a stroke-you’re in menopause!”
Or Peri-menopause to be exact. But how could this be? I’m too young. I have so much living yet to do. What’s going to happen to me? And just when I felt I was going to go full-on cray cray, the symptoms disappeared and I breathed a much needed sigh of relief. I knew this was all a big misunderstanding. Right?
Wrong. Fast forward to a few months ago and those symptoms were back with a vengeance. My holiday season consisted of no less than thirty hot flashes a day. Granted, I was working crazy hours and stress can trigger symptoms, but still. I felt sweaty and dirty all day. It would be fine if I was glowy and lived somewhere I didn’t have to layer, but that was not the case. Oh and did I mention I had a migraine every day but only get twelve pills per month (thanks insurance)? All I wanted was relief but without going on any type of medication, especially hormones.
So I did some research (or rather trolled through Pinterest) and came up with some solutions. The first thing I did was get me some CBD oil. I prefer the pill formulation. While it’s not as fast acting as the pure oil, the relief you experience lasts longer. I find that the CBD oil helps to even me out, especially when I have a case of the crabbies, and it dulls my migraines and makes them tolerable. And no, you don’t get high. I did experience dry mouth the first time I used it but it was a one-time thing. The people that work in the CBD shops are very knowledgeable and can make recommendations as to what is right for you.
I also found some supplements that help with the symptoms of Peri-Menopause. Black Cohosh can reduce hot flashes, helps you sleep (probably the most important thing we need), can reduce anxiety and is a safe alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy. The other I love is Evening Primrose Oil. This little gem balances hormones (yay), reduces acne (double yay), prevents hair loss, and can reduce both PMS and menopausal symptoms. After a couple days of taking these I did see a drop in the frequency of my hot flashes and started sleeping better. Both of these supplements can be found in the vitamin aisle everywhere and are very affordable.
There is an upside to all this discomfort-unity. That’s right-unity. I am not exactly quiet about what I am going through. If I’m hot flashing at work, I say it out loud. Most women can totally relate and it’s fun to swap war stories. I was blessed to go on a girls weekend recently with my lifelong tribe and it was very interesting to see that we are all in different stages of this journey. It was amazing to be able to talk about it and laugh about it (like when I started stripping during a game of charades) and to know you aren’t alone. I’m sure some the men I share with wish I wouldn’t, but I feel it’s important that they appreciate what we women go through.
I’ve been symptom free now for about a week and part of me kind of misses it. It almost feels like a badge of honor…almost. Whether Mother Nature is giving me a reprieve or I’ve actually crossed the finish line has yet to be determined. One thing I do know? I’ve had a lot of fun getting here and am embracing all stages of my wonderful, crazy life.