Perimenopause and Pregnancy can have unnerving similarities

This post is specifically for women in the situation which I have been in recently.  I spent so much time googling, trying to figure out what my body was up to, so if you have been led here by a search engine, I hope to be of help.  The past 3 months have been pretty stressful.  Four months later I can now say with confidence that I am not pregnant although my cycles seem to have ceased.  At the start of April I went for a check up, I was 45 then (last month I turned 46), during the consultation my doctor advised that I stop taking the pill as there are serious health risks with taking the pill over the age of 40.  I also suffered from dreadful menstrual migraines and the hormonal pill played a part in these. After Acacia’s (age 4 now) birth I was on the mini pill (progesterone only).   In February this year I switched to the normal pill as my cycles were very erratic and I had frequent spotting on the mini pill.     My doctor recommended that I use the Mirena (IUD) instead.  I immediately stopped taking the pill in April and started researching the alternatives, however during my first month off the pill we used no contraception.   This was stupid because I then spent months worrying, but our reasoning was that the statistical chance of falling pregnant at the age of 45 in the first month off the pill were next to nothing.  The plan was to use alternative contraception from month 2 onward.

Previously when TTC (trying to conceive) I stopped taking the pill and immediately returned to a 28 day cycle.  This time 28 days came and went, and went and went.  I started to worry, then worry a lot.  I have 4 children aged 4, 7, 23 and 25, they are amazing people and I love them dearly but I have already played too large a hand toward over population.   I have early osteoporosis and simply feel that I am too old.   Also, the odds of something being seriously wrong with a baby born to a mother of my age are stacked heavily against me.   At what would have been 7 weeks if pregnant I mustered up the nerve to do a home pregnancy test, the result was negative.  I relaxed and almost forgot about it but a few weeks later when still nothing had happened I did another, still negative.

I had pretty much no pregnancy symptoms, but my body is clearly up to something.  My body temperature seemed higher than usual.  In Jo’burg winter, I was in thin cotton while others were shivering under jackets.  I would not describe this as hot flushes, I was just generally warmer.  This seems to have normalised now.   For a month or 2 I got into a pattern of waking around 3 am and staying awake, I had no trouble falling asleep but the early waking was annoying, particularly over weekends.   This problem also seems to have run its course.   More than anything I have been very bloated,  a few weeks ago I looked in the mirror and was horrified that I really looked every day of 3 or 4 months pregnant.  Once again I toddled off and bought pregnancy test number 3, whew still negative.  Clearly I am not pregnant and therefore must be going through some stage of menopause.   This is a little earlier than expected, we are now using contraception but probably don’t need to bother, still we would rather err on the side of caution.  One lovely thing is that I am headache free.   Now I really wish that I could do something about this round tummy, I look like Humpty Dumpty, skinny legs, no boobs and the tummy of a pregnant person.

Update – after 6 months of nothing, I had a period then another exactly 28 days later.  Interesting times

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  1. I feel for you – am going through the exact same thing. Stopped menstruating in December also was feeling warmer than previous winters but put it down to giving up smoking, (it is one of the effects of giving up). Had a normal cycle in July and now waiting to see what will happen this month. It is very annoying and the scare of being pregnant very real – have not been on the pill for years – I am not very fertile. Was tested about three years ago and was not peri-menopausal and haven’t been back to gynae since, but know that I am now

  2. Welcome to peri menopause!! Believe me, you will know when the real hot flushes hit! After a month of up to 30 a day I decided I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE…….. 🙂

  3. At last I found you! Thanks for all the great comments and yeah – at 45 I am also there. Just went to the gynea last week.

    Oh and I left a comment on your comment re Chess on Laura’ post – Chess is something else. Read there and maybe read here too:

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