Turns Out (For Me, Aged 39) Early Menopause is a Lot Like Early Pregnancy

early menopause

I’ve been convinced for the last year or so that I’m going through early menopause. This is also known as perimenopause, and can last for years. According to the medical world, the average age for women to go through the Big M is 51. Anything between 40-60 is considered within normal range, so at 39, it would appear I’m slightly ahead of the game. Now, of course, every woman is different, but for me, early menopause symptoms have been disconcertingly similar to early pregnancy. Here’s why…

early menopauseHormones

I have been ruled by my hormones since I started going through puberty. My periods were horrendous from the off. I’m not just talking a few cramps. I would bleed heavily, and pass huge blood clots. I would have to stay home from school several days each month, and lie on the sofa with my legs elevated.

Back then (1991) the standard response for girls with troublesome monthlies was to put them on the contraceptive pill. Yes, at twelve years old. No investigation into why it was happening, or any kind of natural remedy suggestions. Just pop these pills and forget about it. There are not enough facepalm emojis for how I feel about this now.

Goodness only knows what almost fifteen years on the pill did to my body, and is it any wonder my moods were all over the place? In all three of my pregnancies I was a lot more irritable than usual in the early days. Not surprisingly, PMT has always featured, but for the last year or so, I’ve averaged three days per cycle of feeling like a stark raving lunatic.

Lack of periods and sore boobs

For some very lucky ladies, their periods stopping will be the first indication of the menopause. A friend of mine, who is 52, said the only symptom she had was not having a period. I knew I’d never be so fortunate. Having suffered with heavy bleeding for almost thirty years, I always thought their absence would be 100% welcome. However, my first missed period came with sore boobs and sent me into a proper tailspin. The irrational voice inside my head was yelling “you are way too young for the menopause, you must be pregnant,” while the sane one shook their head knowingly. My husband and I are far too careful to be accidentally making babies. Well, mostly, anyway.

Apparently periods can come and go during the peri days, and you’re not officially classed as menopausal until you’ve gone an entire year without one. During the change they can be erratic and cycles can get longer. For me, my super heavy periods haven’t been nearly as heavy. I said to a friend recently that it feels like they are drying up. When they do appear, I only properly bleed for one day. Which compared with the past – four or five days of heavy bleeding and two days of light bleeding – adds weight to my theory.

early menopause

I’m not going to lie, a completely absent period is nerve wracking at my age. Why is it akin to early pregnancy? Well, there is a urine test you can do to measure your hormone levels. After you’ve peed on a stick, you can confirm the results with a blood test via the GP. Sound familiar, mamas?

Other noticeable symptoms

There is a huge list of symptoms and body changes that could be accounted for because you’re going through early menopause. Among which are: hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, lack of libido, mood swings, anxiety, abdominal weight gain and needing the loo more often. These are all things I have been going through intermittently this past year, but also ticked all the boxes between my three pregnancies.

Pretty much the same health advice applies to the menopause as other conditions which affect our mental health. Don’t drink too much. Exercise regularly. Eat sensibly – avoiding refined sugar and processed food as much as possible. Thankfully I have been avoiding these things for many years, so I’m hoping this is helping my cause. You can check out my paleo recipes here if you like.

There are also various supplements which are recommended. I wrote a piece recently about naturally lowering cortisol, which you might find useful. For a more comprehensive piece about alleviating symptoms the natural way, check out this brilliant post from Dr. Axe.

early menopauseFuture gazing

I believe living with chronic stress has triggered early menopause for me, so it probably doesn’t come as a shock to hear that all these changes have put me in a reflective mood. Prior to having children, I said I’d have two or four. Kids in odd numbers just felt like a bad idea. After having three kids in four years though, I knew I was done having babies. Every now and then I’ve pondered the what ifs, but ultimately I am confident that more children in this particular family would be a terrible idea.

So I’ve come to three conclusions of late

  1. Davis number four will wholeheartedly be a fur baby.
  2. I refuse point blank to be scared of the menopause. In fact my current frame of mind is very similar to being told I was infertile at 27. I don’t take this shit lying down, trust me.
  3. I’m ready for the big M. It’s rather apt that it’s come early for me, as so much else in my life has. I certainly will not be missing my periods, and who knows, I might even fare up better hormonally after it’s all over? Stranger things have happened I guess.

Are you going through or have been through early menopause? Do you have any pearls of wisdom to pass on? I’m opening up comments on this page for anyone wishing to leave one. Big hugs ladies, let’s keep the conversation going! 

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14 thoughts on “Turns Out (For Me, Aged 39) Early Menopause is a Lot Like Early Pregnancy

  1. Thanks so much for this, T, and huge apologies for not replying until now. The comments to this post ended up in a funky place and I’ve only just found them (insert facepalm emoji here)! I really hope things are better for you now, because those symptoms are not fun. I think it’s really important to just make the Big M part of every day conversation. Until very recently it feels like it’s yet another swept-under-the-carpet-it’s-too-embarrassing-to-discuss thing that women go through. I am so over that rhetoric! Hugs right back at ya x

  2. We are so very similar, Vicki. Really we are. I’m a fan of oils too, as you know, and I’m forever changing up my supplements. I find things usually work for about three or four months, then one month they simply won’t and I’ll have to work out a tweak. My current regime is a mushroom complex, holy basil, fish oils and 5HTP, which is working wonders. If I’m feeling really tetchy and I know I’m the danger week, I give myself a Zenflore and Evening Primrose boost too, but haven’t had to for about three months now. Long may it last xxx

  3. Wow 8 years old! Gosh that would have been tough, Sarah. I’m so with you though, always wanting to know everything when it comes to my cycle. Knowledge really is power, because then we can use what we know to our advantage. And lets face it, us ladies need all the help we can get when it comes to this sort of stuff xx

  4. Oh the glory days of being so popular 😉 ha ha! I honestly think most of us ladies are wandering around with menopause symptoms from 40-45, most don’t even realise it x

  5. I am aware of implantation bleeding, as know lots of friends who have had it thinking they were having a period or miscarrying. The menopause / one last chance of a baby makes total sense, Jenny. Many thanks for this, much appreciated!

  6. This is so interesting – both what you’ve said and also the comments from others. I have been getting horrendous headaches that painkillers don’t do anything for as a couple of commenters said. I’ve been having spirulina in my smoothie in the morning which I think has helped a bit but hasn’t solved the problem. I’ve also noticed that my cycle has shortened and my periods have become much heavier. No teenager-style cramps though thank goodness…yet. Thanks for sharing this post x

  7. As a midwife who used to work in an abortion clinic I think it is important to know that it is not all that unusual for unplanned pregnancies at this point in life. It seems like the body has a final push before menopause sets in. We quite often had older women who had assumed they were no longer very fertile and who thought missed periods were due to menopause. Since bleeding can occur in early pregnancy this is prime time for not realising one is pregnant. I think this is important information to add to this post.

  8. I’m 100% with you on that one: the key is to look out for symptoms, get informed about it and not be scared. There’s nothing worse than blind panic. The fact you’re mentioning it and looking for more information is great, and so is the fact you’re sharing something so personal yet something many might be going through. When’s the fur baby due? (hehe, only teasing!)

  9. Can’t believe it’s three years since you closed the comments on your blog cos you were so popular!
    Anyway I’ve been reading you avidly all the way, and had to click through to this when I saw it on Instagram and Facebook. Can’t believe this is happening to you on top of all the other physical things you’ve had, but it sounds like you are doing all the right things and sounds like excellent advice.
    Really good to have some information on this subject, well done.

  10. Well done for writing about this and opening up the conversation. I don’t think I’m going through early menopause but I regularly have a lot of the symptoms you mentioned (except the missed periods) and I started myperiods at a very young age so I do have a feeling that it could be earlier than some (I started puberty at 8yrs old so it would make sense!). I really want to understand the changes better before it happens for me. It’s unlikely I’ll ever take a contraceptive pill again because of the way it affected me and I’m never allowed anything with oestrogen in as my risk of a stroke is so high. Interesting that you have written about refined sugar as I cut it out for 5 months when I did the Dukan diet and it resulted in my first ever regular cycle, much better skin and then a surprise pregnancy! I’m 33 now so I think I’ve a few years in me but we never really know for sure do we? Xx

  11. Hey lovely! I’m with you. I think mine probably started about the same age. I’m not sure people believe me but since then I’ve had insomnia, headaches, sore breasts, less bleeding, anxiety (bloody anxiety)… Essential oils have been working for me (I use a blend from doTerra called clary calm and I also use geranium) and I’ve combined them with doTerra supplements (vitamin, mineral, antioxidants, omegas). All my symptoms have improved (apart from the less bleeding which is fine by me!). I can also highly highly recommend listening to the free download on A Little Peace of Mind website and checking out The Wiser Woman too. Sending love xx

  12. Huge well done for being so open and honest. That is such a brave thing to do. I definitely think that the more of us that talk about this the easier this will become for our friends, and for our children too.

    For me the menopause journey had nothing to do with periods, still as regular as clockwork every 28 days for me, but was about horrendous headaches that weren’t relieved by painkillers. It was only when I started really doing some digging and reading that I started to join up all the dots. I am now on HRT patches (can’t have the gel as I still have periods) and hoping that all the other symptoms will subside a bit now.

    Big hugs.

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