I am 45 years old and have just started suffering the symptoms of peri-menopause. My periods have been irregular for about two years but have not completely subsided. I started having night sweats about a year ago and noticed a sudden weight gain of about 9lbs. I typically don’t fluctuate in my weight, and if I do find myself gaining a pound or two, it was super easy for me to get that weight back off. When these 9lbs hit, they stayed. I tried diets, exercise even prescription diet pills to help me lose the weight. Nothing helped me. So between the night sweats interrupting my sleep cycle, and this sudden 9lb weight gain, I was miserable already. I spoke to my OB/GYN, and she suggested that I eliminate gluten and meat from my diet. I was a bit stunned; I felt like my symptoms were not bad enough to be taken seriously. I know I am only 45, but what I was experiencing was real. I would wake up with my pajama’s soaked and my pillowcase and sheets were wet. The weight gain was something tangible that I could see had physically changed. But since these were not life-threatening, I felt pushed aside. I felt like I wasn’t pregnant, so I was not one of her ‘important’ patients. I felt old and ignored. I am sure that I was more sensitive than normal due to hormonal imbalance so that probably didn’t help. I went home and cried. I felt hopeless.
I met an old friend for lunch, and we ended up chatting for about 3 hours about her journey with peri-menopause and menopause before the age of 50. She is a bit older than me, but she still started menopause ‘early’ as well. She went through the same feelings I had gone through when she visited her physician. She saw an ad on Facebook for Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement (BHRT). She figured it couldn’t hurt to call, so she did. She has been on BHRT for about a year and swears by it. I decided to give it a shot as well. I went for a consultation and met with a nurse practitioner. She explained what BHRT was and told me that I would get my blood drawn regularly to evaluate the changes in my hormone levels. She listened to my complaints and told me that it was normal, but there were options to help with the symptoms. I told her that I had a family history of breast cancer, so hormone replacement made me nervous. She referenced a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative. She told me the differences in synthetic and natural or bio-identical. I learned more in my 30-minute meeting with her than I had in all of my adult life visiting my OB/GYN. It was nice to be heard. I go back next week for my results. I plan to continue my blog throughout my journey to share my story with others that may be going through the same thing as me. So stay tuned!