Menopause Overture #6 or Can You Have PMS Without the M?

I was sitting in dispatch this morning and a firefighter let the door slam. Now, the door slams whenever it’s let go. It slams a half dozen times a day. And it usually takes me until about the seventh slam before I want to yell, “MUST you SLAM the DOOR?!” This morning it was one slam and I’d…had…it. Done. Wanted to lock them all out of the building, never mind dispatch. It occurred to me I’d been neglecting my self-appointed role as Menopause Mentor and this was a subject worth approaching.

The short answer to the question “Can you have PMS without the m” is “Heck, yeah!” But being a good Menopause Mentor means giving you more than the short answer so buckle up, here it comes.

First, let me explain that I never had PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms until I was nearly 50. I honestly had no idea what was happening to me. I felt alternately hyper-weepy or hyper-aggravated and both those states of being were on a hair-trigger. It took me a few months to figure out that it was a cyclical thing. And, coming to that conclusion, no time at all to which cycle it was related! I was still menstruating, then, and fairly regularly so when the symptoms showed up I did a little math and thought, “OK, this will pass in a day or two.”

I apologize to all of you who suffer much more with PMS. I’ve read enough to understand I’ve got off lightly in this area.

Then I looked up, around age 53 or so and realized I hadn’t had a period in I-couldn’t-remember-how-long, at least as long as right after the previous year’s annual GYN visit. Hmm. Twelve consecutive months…BINGO! I was in menopause. Cool. I was ready.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself all hyper-weepy over some movie or other I’d seen umpteen times without crying openly about it. Or, ready to go top-story-road-rage on the very first, and only, person tailgating me in the slow lane. I did the math. I was perplexed because I knew I wasn’t going to menstruate any time soon but there it was. I was in the part of my cycle, if I was still having a cycle, that would be the PM part. Interesting.

I don’t believe I’m the only woman to experience this. Certainly not the only woman who figured it out. But did anyone ever tell me? Stupid question. No one told me anything, ever! So, did anyone ever tell you?

If they didn’t, the good news is, you’re not necessarily going crazy. The bad news is, near as I can tell, there’s still enough hormone load cycling around that a woman can have PMS without the M.

Depending on where you are in your cycle? Don’t shoot me, I’m just the Menopause Mentor delivering the message.

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