I started perimenopause in 2003 shortly after the birth of my daughter. I was 37 years old. My monthly periods, herein after referred to as Aunt Flo, became a bit sporadic after childbirth. Aunt Flo showed up when she wanted, which was about every three months. I attributed the missed visits to stress, but that’s another story for another blog. Truthfully, I was thankful – no more trips to the store for those little white things with wings and strings. And since I hadn’t planned on having any more children, having an ever decreasing visit from Aunt Flo was a God-given gift.
However, when those visits went from every three months to approximately every four months or more, my doctor became a bit concerned there could be an obstruction or a medical reason for the irregularity. Her first course of action – birth control pills. After about six months, I might as well had popped sugar pills because my body did not respond at all. When I returned for a follow-up she was surprised; she thought sure that Aunt Flo would have paid me a visit. Next, she put me on a concoction of hormone pills which were sure to jump-start those monthly visits. Once again, my body did not respond and those little white things with wings and strings just sat under the bathroom cabinet tucked far, far away, which didn’t bother me in the least. By the time a year had passed, I still had not had a period, but I was having night sweats, day sweats, evening sweats, any time of day sweats; I was hot one minute, cold the next; I was dressed one minute and undressed the next. It didn’t matter if I were at work, at home, in the car, in the store, at church – I was coming out of my clothes, at least down to my tee-shirt.
For about three years, I was pricked, prodded, and poked. During that time, my primary care physician (PCP) jumped on the band-wagon too! There were a series of hormone tests – FSH and estradiol, which when used in combination are good predictors of Menopause specialist in Houston Texas. I had a vaginal ultrasound and some other ultrasound. My PCP thought I was just too young and I might want more children, so he referred me to a fertility endocrinologist. When I visited him again, he inquired as to whether I’d gone to see the specialist. I told him, “Absolutely not!” I had no intention of going to see the specialist as I do not want any more children, at least, not by birth.
Finally, on my next visit, she broke the news – I was in premature menopause. The year was 2006.
I thought no more visits from Aunt Flo – thank you God! That is, until 2009. By this time, I was post-menopause, but Aunt Flo stopped in for a visit. What, the heck! I was totally unhappy and unprepared. Having a period after menopause is not a good thing because it can be a sign of uterine cancer. So, off I went to my gyn.
So, once again, I was pricked, prodded, and poked. This time, my gynecologist added in one additional test – a uterine biopsy, which she performed in her office that very day. I didn’t know what to expect before the test. All I know is that I did not want to reschedule, so I asked, “Can we do it now?” She responded, “How is your pain threshold?” That right there should have clued me in, but I hadn’t had time to conduct my internet research. Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t or else I might have rescheduled. As I lay on the exam table, she said, “You are going to feel a little bit of a cramp.” Boy, was that an understatement! I bit down hard on my finger to try to take my mind off of the ache I felt in my pelvic area, but little good it did. As the tears welled in my eyes, she said, “OK, one more time.” Hell to the no, I thought, but I took a deep breath and tried to put my mind on something else. It didn’t help. The whole procedure took less than five minutes, but I was overcome with nausea and stomach cramps, similar to the cramps experienced in childbirth which seems to last much longer. I laid in a fetal position until the wave of nausea passed. The nurse came in with a dose of ibuprofen which I gladly accepted. If you ever have to have the procedure be sure and take pain medicine before coming to the doctor’s office.