Could It Be Perimenopause at 34-Years Old?

by Chrystal Johnson on January 2, 2013

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PerimenopauseI have prepared myself for many things in life, but going into perimenopause at 34-years old wasn’t one of them. In fact, I didn’t even know that perimenopause existed. Until I put all of my symptoms together and realized that I may be experiencing it.

I have wanted to write about this for a few weeks now, but haven’t been able to bring myself to put the words to paper. I have a hard enough time talking to close friends and family about it. But I decided writing about it may help me get through it – so here it is.

What is Perimenopause?

According to WebMD, “Perimenopause, or menopause transition, is the stage of a woman’s reproductive life that begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen.”

What are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?

There is a laundry list of perimenopause symptoms, and I have been experiencing many of them over the last 12-18 months.

  • Irregular periods (more or less frequent, heavier, longer, etc.)
  • Breast tenderness/pain
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome
  • Insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression and sudden crying
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling foggy
  • Memory lapses
  • Hot flashes
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
  • Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Urinary urgency (a pressing need to urinate more frequently)
  • Weight gain (mainly in your abdomen)
  • Bloating and water retention
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Feeling shaky or jittery
  • Itchy, crawly skin
  • Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
  • Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  • Increase in allergies
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Increase in facial hair
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness and loss of balance
  • Changes in body odor
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
  • Gum problems, such as increased bleeding
  • Burning tongue/mouth
  • Bad taste in mouth or change in breath odor
  • Osteoporosis
  • Changes in fingernails
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)

When Does Perimenopause Usually Start?

Perimenopause usually commences in your 40s, but it can start in your 30s or even earlier. I have read that celiacs often begin perimenopause several years earlier.

How Long Does Perimenopause Last?

The average length of perimenopause is four years, but it may last from only a few months up to 10 years before you finally reach menopause.

Managing Perimenopause Naturally

If you know me, I am not one to run to the doctor and ask for meds to solve my problems. I take a natural, holistic approach to wellness – and how I manage perimenopause if that’s what I’m experiencing will be no different.

I fear that one of two things will happen if go to the doctor to have my hormone levels checked.

  1. Either they won’t have fluctuated enough yet to register and the doctor will tell me I’m only 34, so I’m crazy if I think I’m in perimenopuase.
  2. The hormone test will confirm the hormone change and they’ll start pushing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other pharmaceuticals on me.

Neither result sounds appealing to me, but I should probably go for a checkup just to see what the doctor says. I will still have the option to manage my symptoms with natural home remedies.

This month (and in the coming months), I’ll be sharing some of the things I’m doing to treat the perimenopause symptoms I have been experiencing naturally. I hope it will help you if you are experiencing periomenopause now, or it will help you be more prepared for perimenopause than I am now. And even if I’m not going through perimenopause, I’ll become more prepared for when I do.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.

If you have already begun or went through perimenopause, I’d love for you to share any advice or suggestions you have in the comments section.

photo credit http://www.someecards.com/

About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Georgette
Twitter: LadyGDuran
January 3, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Chrystal,

The more I read your blog, the more I sympathize with you on many things. I’ve been going through this hell since I was 37(I’m 40 next week). There’s never going to be any easy answers for anyone who has to go through this, but it truly- at least in my case- is one day at a time. They tried that HRT shit with me, and I have resisted so far. I don’t want to be a slave to any medicine, so I try to just use natural herb alternative remedies(Google is a huge help to me, going on years now). My mother went through it when she was 36, my grandmother at 35, so I guess it was fated to happen to me. Not an easy thing to deal with, and I think once I was through being overwhelmed, I realized there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot I could do about it, so I have tried to deal with it- as I said- one day at a time, one pain-in-the-ass symptom at a time. You aren’t alone in this, for what it’s worth. I’m glad you wrote about it, maybe that will help a little, not to mention those ladies out there who are in the same boat. Take care!
Georgette recently posted..The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli(5 out of 5)

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2 Chrystal Johnson January 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for your kind words Georgette. I appreciate the support and camaraderie!

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3 CelloMom January 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

It’s not easy at any age. Where it started with me was some pretty amazing hair loss. It was my hairdresser who pointed out the possibility of a thyroid problem, common in menopause and one of those things that are helped with hormone replacement therapy. I didn’t feel like ingesting porcine hormones, and the equine hormones have some serious ethical issues, so I started looking around and decided to try increasing my iodine intake. You can do this by painting an iodine solution (like Betadine) on your skin. If the brown stain stays visible for 24 hours or more, your system has enough iodine. My first trial stain disappeared in 45 minutes: oops. I started painting with iodine every day. Then I switched to eating high-iodine seaweed (dulse has become my favourite snack). Better than HRT. My hair is once again stuck to my head, and I’m sleeping through the night, with no hot flashes. Phew.
CelloMom recently posted..Review – 2013 Dodge Dart, Alfa Romeo Giulietta

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4 Chrystal Johnson January 8, 2013 at 10:42 am

I actually have Lugol’s iodine, but we haven’t been applying it lately. I will have to try that as my hair has been falling out for a while now (I first thought it was my hormones adjusting after I weaned my daughter – but it has been over a year now).

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5 Audrey February 13, 2013 at 9:15 am

I am so glad I stumbled upon this. I will be 34 in May and have started having quite a lot of these symptoms recently and thought I was crazy for thinking I might be perimenopause. Terrified of going to the doctor and them looking at me like I am crazy. It’s nice to know I am not the only one out there!

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6 Chrystal Johnson February 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

I’m glad I’m not the only one too :-) Taking a Maca supplement has helped regulate my cycle back to normal and I’ll be writing about how a magnesium supplement has helped me start sleeping better soon. Stay tuned!

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7 Blanx October 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Ive been diagnosed with premature menopause which pretty much is the same thing. Ive had the syptoms since 33 and i just decided to go to the doctor at age 34 because i had been trying to get pregnant and i havent. The news were sad to me i still dont think im over it but i have mostly all the symptoms you named. Any advice you can give will be much appreciated.

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8 Chrystal Johnson October 5, 2013 at 7:19 am

Have you tried taking Maca? That really helped me.

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9 Rebecca Gardner October 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

Oh do I sympathize! I am 36 as of this month and I can tell you, I have been feeling like I am going crazy since I was 33. Before I would have the classic rage type mood swings that would happen right at the middle of my cycle mistaken for good ole PMS. Maybe for just a day and then I’d be just fine. Last week I went to my doctors office to have my hormone levels checked because the mood swings are now a couple times a week, no matter where I am in my cycle. I have virtually no progesterone. I am perimenopausal. I haven’t had a period now in 2 months and all I can do is wait it out. I started BCP’s to try to level out my hormones but as of yet I haven’t had relief of the moodiness, memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, loss of sex drive, and the desire to burn my house to the ground. It’s terrible, and the embarrassment I feel around my peers that haven’t gone through this yet is sometimes more than I can bear. My husband and my friends think I have completely lost my mind. I just want this to be over, and soon, I dont think I can spend up to ten years feeling like this.
Rebecca Gardner recently posted..My ovaries are trying to kill me…

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10 mag December 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

I am going through the same thing the dr has done lot’s of test but nothing has came back so now he is doing test to check my hormones to see if my hormones is low. My husband & I have been trying to have kids now for a long time but with no success.

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11 shelvia February 4, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I am experiencing most of those symptoms and I am 34! HELP!!

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12 Kinsey February 18, 2014 at 6:22 am

Hi there! Just found your blog and an encouraged as I am 34 (will be 35 in September) and have been experiencing most of the symptoms listed above to some degree since I was 31. I began menstruating at age 10 (my mom started at age 9) and I’m told my grandmother was through menopause by age 32, so I’m not really surprised that I am experiencing this early. We also take a holistic approach to our health and I go to an AWESOME naturopath chiropractor who has really gotten my body on track since I began experiencing these symptoms 3 years ago, but I’m very curious to see what you’ve tried and what has worked. I’ve had three miscarriages (first at age 28) and two more in the past year. By God’s grace alone have we been blessed with two healthy littles (age 4 1/2 and 18 mo), but I’m pretty sure my body is done being pregnant, given that I suspect my body has been in transitioning into menopause the past few years. I notice this entry is over a year old, any updates that you can quickly guide us to? Thanks for sharing your journey!!

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13 Chrystal Johnson February 18, 2014 at 7:29 am

I haven’t written again about it, but taking a Maca supplement and ensuring I get enough sleep really helps me. Also, staying away from foods I’m sensitive to like gluten, dairy and soy. I am still trying to get to the source of why I have been going through this as it doesn’t appear to be genetic for me. I wish you the best of luck!

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14 Tera February 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Hello. I was just wanting to say that I’ve been having almost all of those symptoms an since I have celiac disease, I know it can lead to early menopause. However, my dr. Checked my hormones and they were fine but she also checked my vitamin D and it was extremely low. Almost all of my symptoms also fit vitamin d deficiency. With celiacs it’s even more common and after having a baby. Anyway, I thought I’d share in case you hadn’t had that checked. Then you would just need to take enough vitamin d to catch you up and there are virtually no side effects. Hope this helps. You have to ask them to test for it, it’s not routine.

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15 Chrystal Johnson February 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback! I haven’t been tested for celiac, but I can’t tolerate gluten so I avoid it. My vitamin D was low, but not to where they were concerned about it. My hormone levels also seemed okay to them. So, still looking into it!

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16 Hilda March 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Hi Chrystal.
Just want to share that I think I have all the symptoms above since last year and now the worst thing is tinnitus. Im going to be 39 this year. I’ve been wandering from doctors to doctors and think that Im going crazy. Im also seeing a psychiatrist now as being diagnosed of having panic attack :( Checking on my estrogen last Jan and it was very low :(
Im waiting for a hormone test result within this week to seek further medication.
Maybe you can share what Maca supplement is recommended? (the brand). Im really glad to find this forum for sharing knowing that there are others experiencing the same.

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17 Chrystal Johnson March 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

Hi Hilda, I’m sorry you’re experiencing these symptoms :-( The two brands of Maca I would recommend are Navitas Naturals and Gaia Herbs. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!

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18 Jennifer March 27, 2014 at 11:46 pm

I believe i have been having some of the signs n im 36 . I have a history of blood clots can i stil take the natural supplements? I know i cant take hormone replacment drugs. Im thinking about going to the doctor to get some test run, im just hoping they dont think im crazy.

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19 Chrystal Johnson March 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

I always suggest talking to your doctor about medical concerns :-)

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20 Kim June 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I am happy to have stumbled upon your site today. I received a call from my docs office just this afternoon that I am in menopause @ 32. Initially at age 27 I was told I may have a low egg count or maybe bad eggs but I should stay on birth control to mask any perimenopause symptoms. All I can do now is 1) think WTF! 2) wanna call the girl at my old docs office who told me I was crazy and that I needed therapy while I was trying to figure it all out and 3) figure out what to do now…

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