The (Peri)Menopause Diaries

by Jo Macdonald

Menarche - Menstruation - Menopause.

Most of us are familiar with these words - well okay, not so many of us know Menarche, which is the term used for your very first period, but we are all pretty familiar with the second two.  So, like me you might have been a bit suprised to hear about peri-menopause...if you've heard of it that is, and if you're over 40 trust me you need to know about yesterday!

Peri-menopause...the bit that comes before menopause...the bit that can last for 4-10 years!   So much for the helpful perimenopause definition 'the period of a woman's life shortly before menopause' - erm, hang on a minute did you say 'shortly'?  It might be just me but shortly means how long the kettle takes to boil so I can have a cup ot tea, or how long you have to wait when someone puts you on hold, not 4-10 years!  That in itself is enough to bring on a hot flush.

Over the past decade I've done a fair amount of work around periods and even managed to completely heal the horrendous PMS that blighted my teens and early twenties, but honestly, even with all of that, I still feel woefully unprepared for this next stage, and I know many others feel the same way fearing that hot flushes, dwindling libido and chronic mood swings are an unavoidable part of the menopausal journey.  

But does it really have to be that way?  

Not necessarily it would seem.  

In Japan, for example, they don't even have a word for hot flushes and most women there report few if any menopausal symptoms.  So why is it that western women struggle and suffer so terribly with it all?  

Because I'm committed to Loving Life After 40 I'm determined to discover how we can all navigate the peri-menopause years in the best possible way, so I'm going to be sharing my own journey (and chatting to others along the way) honestly and openly in a regular column called 'The (Peri)Menopause Diaries' where I'll be trying to find out if there is a way that we can all experience a happier and easier transition into menopause.