NAVIGATING THE HORMONAL TEMPEST

My current mood

It starts innocuously enough. I am going about the business of my day and I will be suddenly enveloped by an inexplicable sadness, or an unjustified rage. Usually coinciding with the arrival of my period.

It’s official. I have entered peri-menopause, that stretch of time that can go for years, prior to my ovaries shutting down for good, after having earned their retirement. Like most governments around the world, I am prodding them to continue working past their previously assumed retirement age. No golfing or condo in Florida for my reproductive system just yet, I decided. And, as their proud owner, shouldn’t I be entitled to any major decisions involving our well-being? That is why we have tete-a-tete once in a while, in which I pray them to, please, pretty please, keep on marching on, keep on producing that estrogen that keeps my skin from drying up, my collagen to not drain away just yet and my bones to stay strong. So far, they have been cooperating. But for how much longer?

So far, the worst of my symptoms, other than my periods coming closer together, are the bitchy mood swings. In my ’20’s, my English doctor prescribed me some new fangled, slow release contraception pill – within a week, I would find myself bursting into tears whenever someone asked me to do something at work. Sometimes, the mere approach of my desk would send me into teary spasms. It was my first encounter with a hormonal tempest, quickly put to an end by switching to a regular pill.

I am now becoming re-acquainted with my bitchy alter ego. What I found is that, more than ever, I have to control what I say when I find myself riding the hormonal waves. My first instinct is to let the rage take over and blurt out venom as it rises to my lips – but I have learnt to walk away, move to a different space and reconsider whether my uttering what I think are words of wisdom might be better left to a different time. The answer is, 9 out of 10 times, yes. My friend Luisa will argue that this is not at all a symptom of peri-menopause but just the crankiness that sets in with age but I know better.

Tears can also surface more easily which is a bit of a worry, as I am known to cry watching Bambi for the millionth time or recounting my dogs’ adventures. “You are prone to crocodile tears” my mother would always remind me since childhood. The only barrier now between me and tears in public is a coating of mascara, and not wanting to look like a raccoon for no good reason.

All this has led me to a polite exchange with my hormones as well as my ovaries. I understand they might be annoyed too at the idea of dwindling and finally having to leave my body, but all I ask is some advance notice of when they are planning to strike, as even Ottie is sometimes taken by surprise and today’s bout of sadness was greeted not with a wet muzzle on my face while I was lying listlessly on the couch, but with a detour to the patio, in order to catch the last fading rays. Traitor. Now, if Ottie is having a hard time dealing with my moods, pity my poor staff at work or, worse, the man who shares my bed.

So, for the time it’s going to take for me to become a quaint old lady, I am trying to reach a truce with the hormonal changes affecting my body. It’s still a work in progress – just know that if I bite, it’s nothing personal.

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13 Comments

Filed under aging, humour, women's issues

13 responses to “NAVIGATING THE HORMONAL TEMPEST

  1. Sue

    Evening Primrose oil x 200 mg per day. Plus 500g of calcium. And the odd martini.

  2. Sue

    Make that 2000 mg per day on the Primrose oil. Great for the skin too!

  3. Annamaria

    dear Claudia,
    welcome to the club.

    dear Sue: 2000 mg per day of the Primrose oil morning or evening? any suggestion on how make me sleep a whole night? please please help!!!

    love
    Annamaria

    • Sue

      Hi Annamaria … 2000mgs in the evenings before you go to bed. As to getting to sleep – look at creating a ritual for yourself: a walk before dinner, light dinner, glass of wine, bath, plus take a homeopathic sleep remedy. Something that has passiflora and valerian in it. Calms forte is good (if you are in the US? Available all over). And keep a good book next to your bed. xx

  4. kim robeson

    Aaaah, the joys of aging. Did I share this article with you? It’s called “Botox, Babies, Birthdays, and my Best Friend” –also about aging. http://www.kimberlykrobeson.com/Botox_and_My_Best_Friend.html
    Maybe your readers would enjoy, too . . .

  5. Annamaria

    Hi Sue,
    thank you very much.
    I live in Italy and Google tells me that I can find Calms Forte even here. I will certainly buy it.
    A good book is always next to my bed and not only there.
    Annamaria xxx

    P.S. I love this extracontinental (can I say that?) way of caring to each other

  6. Goes to show we are all in the same boat, no matter which ocean we are looking at…I am not suffering from sleeplesness (yet) but when I have short bouts, straight valerian works wonders….or else do as my mother says..”don’t worry, it will pass…” (which does nothing to soothe my mood but instills some needed stoicism)

  7. Annamaria

    Yes, we are all in the same boat and this is consolatory in some ways.
    Your mother is right “it will pass” but I’ve been saying this for far too long and now… I need a full night sleep. So I will go for Calms Forte because valerian works like “a glass of water” as we say in Italy.

  8. Lin

    I had my hormone levels tested and I had zero readings. none. zilch. not even on the chart. I’m on my first month of bio-identical hormones: estrogen cream, testosterone cream, and pill forms of DHEA and progesterone. Do I feel any different. Nope.

  9. ash

    compounded bioidentical hormones are a more natural approach, though not “natural hormones”. i’ve done the natural yam creams for years. here’s a bit of info: http://www.womentowomen.com/bioidentical-hrt/bioidenticalhormones.aspx

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