March 15 - 21, 2017

Gone are the days when I only associated the prefix ‘peri’ with chicken as in Peri-Peri Chicken, Nandos style! Suddenly, out of nowhere, I’m told that I’m ‘peri’ menopausal – ‘is that spicy’ I ask? Apparently not, quite the opposite, truth be told.

But surely, I’m too young? My gynaecologist must have her patient’s files mixed up. For some reason, the only thing that pops to mind whilst I’m sat listening, but not taking anything in that my doctor is saying is: ‘Joan Collins said the menopause is a myth!’

I quickly gathered that my doc didn’t seem to know who Joan Collins was. As I sit there nodding, smiling and pretending to look for something in my bag, a thunderbolt hits me and boy does it hurt. I’m getting old! Does this mean I’m now middle-aged?

Before, I get up to leave, I manage to pull myself together and ask just how long this ‘peri’ thing will last? Years, apparently … and then it’s the full-blown menopause.

As I leave the surgery, I thank my doc profusely – why? I have no idea, it’s that very annoying British trait in me.

I get to my car, buckle up, drive home in a haze of disbelief and hit Google on my laptop as soon as I fall in the front door: ‘Perimenopause – the period of a woman’s life shortly before the occurrence of the menopause.’ 

I read on and on and on, only pausing to put on the aircon on because I’m obviously having a hot flush. It’s one of the many symptoms us ladies may experience along with mood swings, depression, tearfulness, heightened emotions, irritability, weight gain, low energy levels, acne, brittle hair, nails and bones, aching joints, dizzy spells, headaches, sleep deprivation and an increase in facial hair … lovely.

But, I must be thankful that times have changed and women no longer suffer in silence (although the husband may), the negative attitudes to menopause are being kicked into touch.

Women are being more vocal, embracing HRT (hormone replacement therapy) along with alternative therapies. Long gone are the days when some menopausal women were sent off to the local lunatic asylum.

With our lifespan increasing, the average woman will now live a third of their life post-menopausal … as well as strong, creative and confident!

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