1. Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling. Ah yes, the 'I'm hot- I'm cold' thing that usually happens in the middle of the night. Hot flashes in the winter are great! Everyone cuddles up to you, and you now possess the ability to roast marshmallows and hot dogs over your head. You are your own self-sustaining heat source, and can keep tropical fish without needing a heater for the tank.
As for the cold flashes, they only happen in winter- never in summer like it should.
2. Irregular heart beat. This only happens when there's a really good sale and you have a coupon or the kids do something particularly stupid. Not sure this one is even a symptom!
3. Irritability. No! Really? If this is true, I've been perimenopausal for decades.
4. Mood swings, sudden tears. I thought this was PMS- or motherhood. Or because the kids ate the last Hershey bar.
5. Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats). Wow, this one's a shocker. Hot and cold flashes and sweating like a racehorse in addition to heart palpitations- and we might have trouble sleeping? Who wrote this stuff anyway?
6. Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles. Way to cover your own butt, Mr. Medical Advice Guy. Why not just say you have no idea what will happen and leave it at that?
7. Loss of libido and vaginal dryness. Seems to me these are linked, and not separate symptoms at all.
8. Crashing fatigue. Otherwise known as 'The Kids Are Grown And Now You Can Sleep'. This isn't a symptom, it's a blessing!
9. Anxiety, feeling ill at ease, dread, apprehension, doom. Of course you have this! The kids are grown and making their own
10. Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion. You've just gone from being the hub of the team and now that team is becoming self-sustaining- therefore you are no longer a multi-tasker. So when you're doing only one thing at a time, you keep thinking you should be doing five other things as well, and it feels weird.
11. Disturbing memory lapses. How can they be disturbing if I don't remember them? This also might be a blessing to some who are tired of remembering stuff- and the main reason people invent schedule apps.
12. Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence. And this is different since puberty...how? And urge incontinence- what the heck is that? Oh I know- it's when you just get to the bathroom and right before you get your skivvies down your bladder yells "Oh boy! A toilet!" and you yank everything down quickly before you soak the stall.
13. Itchy, crawly skin. This isn't a symptom- this is from all that sweating you did back in #1. Get a shower, you'll feel better.
14. Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons, increased tension in muscles. Especially when you kick off your shoes at your husband from symptom #3 and mess up your ACL. Don't ask me how I know this.
15. Breast tenderness. Again, we've had this since puberty, Mr. Medical Guy. Sheesh.
16. Headache change: increase or decrease. Yes, but is the decrease from lack of kids and an increase when your husband retires, or is Mr. Medical Guy covering his medicinal butt again?
17. Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea. In other words, SBD's that can kill a rhino in full charge. Gastrointestinal distress my Aunt Fanny. This stuff should be used by the army- there would be no wars.
18. Sudden bouts of bloat. Sudden? I've been waiting for my bloat to stop for twenty years! There is no 'bout'- it comes and it stays!
19. Depression. You have all this stuff above happening, and then they say you might get depressed? Are they kidding?
20. Exacerbation of existing conditions. Really? This is a symptom? All this means is everything listed can get worse. Whoop-dee-stinkin'-doo. Stop using the fancy words to sugar-coat the wonderfulness of female anatomy please. We all know things are probably going to get worse, because out bodies are giving in to gravity, thank you very much.
21. Increase in allergies. Which makes #12 even more special.
22. Weight gain. Oh please, don't get me started. I can blink and gain weight- I don't need to be perimenopausal!
23. Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair. Already losing a little hair on the top of my head- lucky for me my hair is curly and I don't have to do comb-overs. However, I'll worry about facial hair when my nieces and nephews start calling me 'Uncle' Beth. As for the 'carpeting', that can go bald as a cueball for all I care- less stuff to get caught in the elastic of my Depends.
24. Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance. I think this is only from the shock that after caring for your kids for the past few decades, you realize you have no money left in the bank and you have to go back to work.
25. Changes in body odor. Why does this never sound like a good thing?
26. Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head. That's just the tracking microchip your kids installed in the back of your neck after you got lost the first time. You weren't lost- we were just taking a vacation without the kids!
27. Tingling in the extremities. That's just your husband getting frisky. Feel free to smack him with a pillow so you can go back to sleep.
28. Gum problems, increased bleeding. What does this have to do with the ending of egg production? You stop bleeding in one area and have to bleed somewhere else? Crazy!
29. Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor. You just ate a jalapeno burrito with extra onions and Limburger cheese because your taste-buds are dying. Duh.
30. Osteoporosis (after several years)- Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier. I can bend mine now, and this is supposed to get worse? Maybe if I let them grow long enough I can turn them into origami art and sell them on Ebay. The fingernails, not my bones. Apparently my bones will be so riddled with holes, future cultures will use them as flutes. I shall live in infamy.
31. Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, 'whooshing,' buzzing etc. You forgot you left food in the microwave. go get it and shut the door. Problem solved.
That's the list, and frankly, that's enough for me to crawl under the covers (unless I'm having a hot flash) and scarf down all the chocolate in the house until it's over. Unfortunately that could be years from now, so I have to plod on and act like I'm not on a hormonal roller coaster heading for the looney-bin.
Lord help us all.