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Are you awake at 3AM? Forgetting the names of your own children? Suddenly losing your keys, your temper and your mind? Did you recently become a member of the sisterhood of the shrinking pants? Would you rather mop your kitchen floor than slip into bed with your lover? Has your vagina suddenly packed up and gone to the Sahara desert? It turns out that perimenopause and menopause isn't just the cessation of a bodily function. No, an alien did not come down and infiltrate your body...you most likely are experiencing some of the myriad of perimenopause and menopause symptoms.

There is help! Jump aboard our 5-step program to hormone happiness. The first step is to open up and reach out so that you can [Link Removed]: Find a Menopause Specialist. This week, we are going to help you prepare for your doctor's appointment with Step 3: Chart Your Menopause Symptoms. Charting is easy and will ensure that you are able to communicate exactly how you are feeling to your menopause specialist. So, grab your boat shoes; here we go!

Each woman's experience is determined by her unique physiology. There is no one size fits all journey. My first major symptom was memory loss, and I had no idea this was a symptom of perimenopause. I was scared and afraid that I was in the early stages of Alzheimer's! Why the big cover up? Let's bust open the conversation and sound the alarm for others to start thinking inside the box!

Here is a list of some of symptoms that you may experience along your perimenopause and menopause journey:

Period changes

Spotting

 Light

 Heavy

 Irregular

Mental/emotional

Memory lapse (sticky notes aplenty)

 Overly sensitive

 Uncontrollable crying

 Unusually depressed and withdrawn

 Overall sense that I'm not ok

 Tense (like a rubber band ready to snap)

 Overwhelmed

 Anxious

 Irritable

 Bursts of anger

 Violent

 Low sex drive

Physical

Oddly dry skin

 Headaches/migraines

 Exhausted

 Hair loss

 PMS-like bloating

 Sore or ballooning breasts

 Increased chin whiskers

 Deepening voice

 Pimples galore

 Hot flashes or flushes

 Night drenches

 Sleepless nights

 Heart palpitations

 Weight gain (shrinking pants)

 Stiffness, aches, and pains

 Bladder issues

 Vaginal infections

 Excessive vaginal discharge

 Breakthrough vaginal bleeding

 Vaginal dryness

 Harder to reach orgasm

Stay calm, and feel empowered by this knowledge you are gaining. Now that you are aware of the possible symptoms, the next step is to track which symptoms you are experiencing for at least two weeks prior to your first appointment with your menopause specialist. To help you track your symptoms, I have included a Menopause Symptoms Chart inside my book, [Link Removed].

I found it helpful to chart my symptoms at the same time each day. For me, this was right before I went to bed. You should chart the frequency and nature of your periods and the type and severity of the symptoms you are experiencing. Be sure to be honest. There is no right or wrong answer. It is important to chart your symptoms daily because you may not remember the details of your symptoms a day or two later. This creates an accurate report that you and your doctor will use in combination with the tests your doctor will run (tune in next week for Step 4: Menopause and Testing). You and your doctor have to marry test results with how you feel each day to complete a thorough evaluation of your health and to choose an appropriate treatment strategy. If your doctor isn't interested in reviewing your symptoms chart, you haven't found the right doctor.

If you've reached this step in your journey, you are well on your way to finding hormone happiness! Congratulations! You are taking the steps that will lead you from being "fine" to true health, well-being, and happiness.

Remember: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Tell me: Where are you in your menopause journey? Are you taking the steps necessary to take care of yourself?

It's all about how you feel.

  • [Link Removed] from the International Menopause Society.

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