Perimenopause: "I feel like I'm dying" horror stories

Most women would probably agree that the transition to menopause and the identity crisis that ensues, metaphorically, feels like a death of some sort. However, there are actually cases where some women are reporting that they feel as if they are physically dying.

No two women will have exactly the same symptoms or bear similar severities of perimenopause yet there are some who develop rare, uncommon ailments. Examples of some of the unusual complaints that are being described are:

  • Chronic and severe muscular and joint pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Non-stop nausea
  • Drastic cognitive impairment
  • Sudden loss of mobility
  • Heart palpitations
  • Excessive gas
  • Simultaneous chills while feeling hot
  • Migraines
  • Digestive issues
  • Dry, itchy skin

Me Too!

If you’re feeling as if you’re terminally ill, it’s important to know you’re not alone. While these conditions are out of the ordinary there are women who are experiencing weird symptoms that are not normally associated with perimenopause.

In fact, a Yale University study found that only 60% of women seek treatment for menopause and of those who do 75% are not treated. Additionally, only 1 in 5 are referred to a doctor who specializes in menopause.

With fertility being so highly valued, more resources and education are spent on how to have a baby rather than the later side of a woman’s reproductive transition.

Most medical schools do not provide General Practitioners or OB/GYN’s with menopause training either and those few who do, do not make it mandatory. It’s only considered as an elective for the students.

This gross lack of knowledge can leave even common symptoms to be misdiagnosed and if you’re outside the norm, those chances only increase. Being in this smaller category cannot only lead you to searching for years for a remedy while still suffering, but it also further causes you to endure additional mental anguish by feeling isolated and questioning your rational ability which results in an overall loss of confidence.

Do You Know About the Menopause Rating Scale?

The Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) was created in the 1990’s as there was no way to measure the extremities of aging related symptoms and how it was affecting a woman’s quality of life. It is now used worldwide and has been proven to be a valid quantification tool.

The test is a quick and simple eleven questions about what ailments are present and what their magnitude is in five points, from zero (not active) to four (extremely severe).

Keep in mind that taking this on your own should only be a general clue to what your condition could be. You should still consult with a medical professional who is going to thoroughly listen to and evaluate your circumstances. Trust your instincts. If you feel dismissed in any way you should keep looking for another doctor.

Living in Terror

Thanks to social media and the availability of online content some women are coming forward with their horror stories of perimenopause. These are a few examples:

Sallyanne Brady was plagued with tinnitus, pain in her teeth and face, insomnia, and chronic joint pain. She sought help and doctors diagnosed her with anxiety. Then one day she got into her car and she could not recall how to drive.

She wanted to die in order to get out of how miserable she was feeling and no matter who she consulted no one had a solution for her. In total it took her three years before she found the right doctor to appropriately aid her.

Blogger, Don’t Fear the Vegan, was living with an array of manic issues from depression and anxiety to bleeding gums, abnormal hair loss, and a period that lasted 52 days. With a family history of a variety of diseases she initially thought it was her turn to face what it’s like to withstand declining health. She finally got the remedy she needed after six months.

And even Laura Dinning had mysterious pains in her torso, heart palpitations, sudden acne, and unexplained weight loss. Her list of afflictions got so long that one doctor thought she was a hypochondriac. She concluded that she was going insane. It wasn’t until a year later that she finally stumbled upon a blog that resembled her symptoms of perimenopause.

Kim has had almost 1,500 replies to her post about her sudden lack of motor function, digestion problems, and in general feeling like she has the flu. She sought medical advice but, as many others describe, her tests came back free and clear which has left her questioning herself and if she’ll ever find a resolution.

When Will Freedom Return?

How long this I’m dying feeling lasts varies greatly. The turning point seems to solely depend on receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Without that it’s very hard to see any relief.

If you’ve been struggling to get the proper care that you need try to find a menopause specialist to consult with. This is a slowly growing field, so if there isn’t one available in your local vicinity consider requesting a teleconference if you can afford it.

Most women who are experiencing these intense perimenopausal sensations have reported that HRT (hormone replacement therapy) was one of the few therapeutics that helped alleviate their problems. A study found that by factoring in the Menopause Rating Scale in determining HRT, 55% of women with severe symptoms experienced relief. 

If you’d like to take the MRS it can be found here.

It’s important to find the support that you need so if you’re struggling, consider joining an online community where you can find those with comparable occurrences.