Since Perimenopause, the beginning of Menopause, can start at very different ages for different women it is difficult for a woman to recognize new feelings. It is impossible for a woman to know that changes are beginning to happen to her system that will affect the way she feels and thinks. Are you an active social drinker? When you drink have you rarely had problems with becoming overly intoxicated before now? Have you always known your tolerance level for alcohol, and knew when to quit until now?
But, now you are noticing episodes of over intoxication, even unreasonable thinking, anger and behavior that just isn’t you. Some of this must sound familiar, because, you are reading this article. I am a man. My perspective is different, but I have gone through this from the opposite side. Perimenopausal symptoms never just pop up and became obvious to women. It isn’t just one day and “BAM”, hot flashes, moodiness, bloating, fatigue, night sweats, etc.
This Menopause thing is a long, slow and hard process. The changes may occur slowly and be subtle. Anger caused by hormonal changes can feel like the anger you have dealt you’re your whole life. “I really am mad about this” is how it feels. But the cause of this feeling is hormonal without your knowing it.
Obviously, all the symptoms don’t start at once but begin to appear over long periods of time and you just don’t pick up on it easily. This is why women believe feel like they are going crazy. You feel like you are just, in a “bad mood” today. Then, more symptoms begin to happen more often and you don’t really notice that this a change in your body either.
When the frequency of Menopause symptoms, become noticeably closer together, you begin to question what is going on with you. You knew that Menopause was a part of life, but no one starts out with personal experience with what it is like, and what changes the process is going to cause. Sometimes the symptoms of moodiness, depression, insecurity, sadness become very hard to cope with.
Much like any person with anxiety and depression, people sometimes begin to “self medicate” to ease the pain. If you are a social drinker, who knows his or her tolerance for alcohol and your problems cause you to drink more, this could create a cycle of increased drinking beyond the amount you can handle. You are drinking yourself toward problematic results.
Is it the same with a menopausal woman? Yes, it is, but worse. Due to new and unfamiliar hormonal imbalances caused by the changes happening in her system, her entire body make up is altering dramatically in inconsistent ways. You can see what might happen here?
The hormones that flow through your body are you. They make up how you think and feel. Hormones are the key to how your mind and body react to everything around and to you. This includes the fact that, as hormonal levels “fluctuate”, your tolerance of alcohol can change also. These hormonal imbalances can change from one day to the next., Your system may change from hour to hour. You may logically look for something to slow down the rush of emotions, moodiness and anxiety. A drink seems harmless.
But, without your knowing it, you no longer are aware of what its effects will be. What begins to happen in women is rapid, more dangerous. You may find that on one night you can have social drinks all evening and everything is normal and fine. Two days later, you might stagger and slur your words. You might say things that could never really mean. Later on, the next morning, you may not remember what it was that you said or did. Or, if you had an argument with your husband, or a loved one, you may not even remember the the reason why you were why you were upset. What I have observed, is that as the months and years go by there emerges a pattern.
Women will gulp all drinks when on her period, and then drink more slowly and conservative when not on a period. This cycle was the “aha” moment for me and my wife. Perimenopausal hormonal fluctuations can cause women to think in a totally emotional way, without the balance of intellect. The next day a better hormonal balance can return for you and thought is more correctly a balance intellect and emotion.
This is what you were like before. But, as I said, you have never felt these changes in your life. You certainly are not prepared to deal with them when in a highly emotional state. If you begin drinking alcohol in this state to relax, you will be hit with a double whammy. You are highly emotional and your tolerance to alcohol is lower.
I have observed that different forms of alcohol can affect you more than others. For my relationship, the most damaging form of alcohol is red wine. A favorite of her for many years, it is still very appealing to her but brings on the worst episodes. This fact makes it important that you keep communicating to the close people around you, such as a husband or a friend, they can can help you watch out for the signs and slow you down on those evenings when tolerance is low. On some nights red wine can just be too hard to tolerate. You may notice that you do not have just “hot flashes” on red wine; but instead you have “hot full evenings”.
Red wine is an example. For some women, it might be something else, such as gin or whatever. This demonstrates again how important it is to communicate with partners and friends. Be sure that you talk to those around you about all the changes that are going on with you. You can work together to keep life as normal as possible.
As I said, this all moves slowly, but I’m convinced that if you are aware and watch for the changes, then you have an increased chance to concentrate on seeing the changes and dealing with the symptoms. There is a reason that I wrote this article. It is based on my desire to inform others of what we have learned. I have observed what I am passing on to you.. I am a man and I can’t feel what my wife is feeling, but I can observe her and see what she is doing. Then I can help her when she needs it.
A friend of ours, who is the same age as Andrea or so once said. “I can’t drink red wine. It makes me hate Jim (her husband)”. My suspicion is that our friend was in some stage of perimenopause when she said this. It’s a funny statement, but a serious subject. I’m not going to moralize or preach against drinking. I’m going to point out that the man and the woman in the relationship need to do their research, communicate. Only by working together can a relationship involving menopausal women (and women will all eventually be menopausal) be able to thrive.