10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn
10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn

Jennifer McShane

Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15
Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15

Holly O'Neill

Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it in your home
Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it...

Megan Burns

With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on the market for €2.35 million
With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on...

Lauren Heskin

Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club
Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club

Holly O'Neill

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list

Holly O'Neill

Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread
Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread

Megan Burns

Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper
Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper

Amanda Cassidy

The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every day
The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every...

Shayna Sappington

Wildfire: ‘We knew we wanted to tell a story with fierce women at the heart of it’
Wildfire: ‘We knew we wanted to tell a story with fierce women at the heart...

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

The Menopause Diaries: Fake Periods leave me with cramps, bloating and PMT … but no period


by IMAGE
25th Nov 2020

Blue Letter M over a white background.

blank

Helen Seymour is in Peri-Menopause, or at least she thinks she is. In her weekly column, we follow her journey towards the Menopause, learning as she does all about the big M.


Day One in the Big Brother House. That’s if Big Brother is Peri-Menopause and he’s called you into the Diary Room to tell you your period has finally arrived.

I WAS worried. I’d skipped two full cycles, and when you’re in Peri-Menopause you can skip cycles for several months at a time. I’m booked in to see Professor Studd soon. And what do I need for that visit? Other than a plane ticket and a travel card? A detailed set of bloods that’s what, with a Progesterone test that requires that you must state what day of your cycle you are on for an accurate result.

So, yes, I’m hugely relieved that there won’t be appointment re-bookings etc. The delay however, and my experience of it, is a good opportunity to talk about “Fake Periods”.

I have always been like clockwork with my period. You could literally set your watch by it. However, since that first burst of crazy hot flushes, my Peri-Menopause body has skipped two entire cycles, and yet during this time, I got what I can only describe as “Fake Periods”. I felt like I was ovulating. My breasts felt tender. I got PMT and sugar cravings. I put on a few pounds, which always happens to me the week before my period, and then they drop the minute it arrives. But with these fake periods, my weight went up and remained the same, despite pulling back on the calories and exercising like a mad woman.

Related: The Menopause Diaries: The dreaded dryness down under

THEN … the big Kahuna.

No period, but fake period pains. Like there really was a period happening. Two full cycles where my body went through the motions of ovulation, PMT, and then cramps and pains like I was actually having a period. So I Google “Fake Periods Menopause”. And of course, lots of things come up, the most helpful of which is a “QA” with Eileen Duward on the A.Vogel website. She says that as you’re approaching Menopause, you start to miss periods, or get very scant periods, but you will find that when your period is due you still get all the usual symptoms; PMT, bloating, cramping, food cravings and breast tenderness.

Eileen helpfully explains that this is quite natural because even though your hormone levels are falling, you will still get that monthly cycle. The problem is your hormones will not be high enough to trigger a bleed, but they will still be high enough to give you all the other common symptoms. And sometimes this cycle can actually last a couple of years after your periods have stopped for good.

Related: I’m hoping Carole Vorderman’s doctor will help with the Peri-Menopause headache

BOOM.

In your face Fox News. Fake periods are real. Eileen cautions, that with both Pre and Post Menopausal Fake Periods, if you are experiencing a lot of pain, if you are getting to the point where you have to take painkillers every day, it is really important to get this checked out by your Doctor.

There are other issues such as fibroids, or a prolapse, that can actually cause these problems as well, so it is really important to get that seen to.

My real period has arrived a week before my 50th Birthday. I travel to Kenmare with friends, eat all the food, drink all the drink, blow out the candles, and then I hotfoot it to Beaumont Hospital on Day 9, hoping alcohol won’t knock off the result of the Progesterone Blood Test.

This article was first published in August 2018.


Read more: Over half of Irish women are using ineffective contraception to prevent pregnancy, a new study shows

Read more: Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, details her pregnancy loss this past summer

Read more: Scottish politicians vote on universal access to period products today: here’s why it matters

Also Read

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Suddenly alive again’: The heartbreaking joy of finding a deceased loved one on Google Maps street view

“I look at my mum’s old house on Google maps street view, the house where I grew up. It says...

By Amanda Cassidy

alternative asthma treatments
EDITORIAL
Three alternative asthma treatments to try this hayfever season

Approximately 80% of people with asthma also suffer from hayfever, which can make summer days a nightmare. These three alternative...

By Grace McGettigan

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

brain
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

Full House, onscreen father Danny Tanner
EDITORIAL
We’re remembering our favourite onscreen dads for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner (this Sunday 20h June, so yes, you do have time to buy yours...

By Grace McGettigan

blank
CULTURE
Reality Bites: TV shows like Love Island are warping our minds

It may be the most unifying show on television, but shows like Love Island are promoting some pretty damaging messages....

By Amanda Cassidy