Drew Barrymore: I started having my period every two weeks

Drew Barrymore is going through perimenopause. For anyone that grew up watching ET, that’s a weird concept to grasp. However, age catches up with all of us and I’m glad Drew is putting it out there that the changes during that time are wild. It’s like if you look up “what should I expect during perimenopause” and a big shrug emoji comes back as your results. The answer is everything, expect everything. Slightly more medical symptoms include: changes in menstrual cycle, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain, disrupted sleep, foggy brain and changes in libido. It is the changes in the menstrual cycle that clued Drew in to this new phase of life. She said she’s starting to get her period every two weeks.

In an interview on CBS Mornings, Drew Barrymore and Gayle King sat down with CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste in which they detailed their own experiences with this phase of life.

“I realized that I was in perimenopause when I started having my period every two weeks,” Barrymore explained, saying that her heavy flow was like that of “a teenager.”

Her doctor told her that having a heavy period could last 10 years.

King echoed that experience, explaining, “I’d never even heard the phrase perimenopause until I went to the doctor because you know, not to get too graphic, but when it first happens for a lot of people it looked like a crime scene.”

She acknowledged that not everyone had her symptoms, which included hot flashes. “I know some women who have been through it and they’ve just sort of sailed through to have had very minimal things,” King said. “It wasn’t disruptive to their life. That was not my experience.”

Both Barrymore and King chose not to have hormonal treatments during perimenopause. For Barrymore, she felt she was not far along enough in perimenopause to require treatment. While hormones are still prescribed by health care providers to help with symptoms, Wider says that these treatments are not quite as common as they once were.

“The treatment was typically systemic hormones to counteract the fluctuating hormones causing the symptoms,” Wider explains. “Doctors don’t prescribe this as readily anymore because there is some risk involved, depending on a woman’s personal and family history of disease. Other treatments include topical estrogen cream, antidepressants and gabapentin, specifically for hot flashes and/or headaches.”

One thing that Barrymore also wanted to share about her perimenopause journey? It’s not the end of the road.

“Women in their 40s, 50s and 60s are looking so attractive and feeling so vibrant, living their best lives,” she said. “The way menopause has been branded is, ‘You’re old, you’re done.’ That’s not it.”

[From Yahoo!]

I can’t remember if I had the bi-monthly period thing or not. So clearly I did experience the foggy brain. Peri lasts about four years on average, although it can go up to 10. I think I am post-menopausal now. I went a full year without a period, which is supposed to mean menopause, but at the 13-month mark, I got a period. I have no idea if I was supposed to reset the clock or what. I’ve given up trying to understand any of this. My hot flashes may be back too, but they’re not as bad. While a few of the symptoms seem to happen to everyone, I don’t know two women who have had the same experience. It’s just a big hormonal grab bag. The good thing is that people like Drew and Naomi Watts are talking about it now. It made it a lot less scary to hear people bringing the subject up as I was going through it. It wasn’t any more fun, but less frightening.

The article talked about systemic hormones treatment and how doctors don’t prescribe this as readily anymore. I know you all have had some good discussions in our comments about hormones as well. For me, hormones were never never suggested. What I can speak to is Drew’s last point, about how menopause messaging is changing. To that I say – hell yes! Look, I won’t sugar coat it, perimenopause sucked. But so far, menopause is looking up. There’s a few more roads to till, but there are also quite a few moments where the fabulous has been breaking through again. I never heard about that when I was looking at this from the other side. Drew’s right, it definitely isn’t over.

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