Friday, September 23, 2011

Pointless PMS

Is it possible to be "on the cusp" of a period? Like, hovering on some menstrual threshold? I think I'm there, and it kind of sucks. After no periods for almost two years, I had one this past April around the time I hit my highest post-re-feeding weight.  In May, I had a super light period that only lasted about a day. Then none since then as my weight has dropped to its current range.

HOWEVER - every month around the same time (third-ish week), I swear I still get PMS. First of all, my appetite goes through the roof; I am insanely, insatiable hungry for about three or four days. I also get hit with this incredible exhaustion and I walk around in a state of chronic fatigue, even if I've slept well. My face breaks out like it hasn't since middle school. I bloat, gain a couple pounds, and freak out until I pee it all away.

Is this normal? I guess my hormones must be totally out of whack, but I do not appreciate having all the miserable side effects of a period without getting an actual period. When I got the April period, I was almost exactly the same weight as when I lost it back in the summer of 2009 so I have to assume that's where my body wants to be. But what's with all the crazy hormonal action? It seems like I'm straddling some crucial boundary between Healthy and Not Healthy.

I don't exactly miss getting periods, but still kind of wish I could be normal and eat chocolate and bitch about tampons and cramps


  1. Hmm that's a really, really good question. Sounds like maybe your body is trying to get there but not quite making it. Whatever the reason is, sounds frustrating. Have you ever considered going on birth control to bring it back, since the lady cycle is pretty important for your health? The benefit to that is that you never have to wonder when you'll start your period, it's ultra controlled and predictable. Of course it's a very individual decision and it's none of my damn business anyway, lol...just thought it warranted a mention.

    Hang in there, hate that you've got pseudo-PMS; you don't have to have the bleeding part to justify being unhappy about the other symptoms. I hope you have a great weekend despite that!

  2. Cammy - I haven't ever been on birth control, even though I know most people love it. I would definitely be open to trying it...but a teeny bit worried about weight gain. Plus my doctor always wanted me to get natural periods first. Do periods on the pill have the same health benefits? I feel like I'm so close to actually menstruating normally that it's probably a matter of a few pounds.

  3. I'm not 100% sure if the pill periods have 100% of the same benefits, but I know they usually come highly recommended (not trying to push them on you, of course, that's just been my experience with both doctors and therapists). I've also heard that some people go on them for 6 months or so to kickstart a regular cycle and then go off of them and continue to cycle normally, but I've never tried that so I can't testify to how effective it is or whether it's even recommended. But I do know that bleeding with the pill is supposed to be lighter than normal cycles (less risk of anemia), and it also can protect against reproductive cancers.

    They claim that they clear your skin and prevent cramping because they keep your hormone levels steadier, but mine don't seem to affect my complexion and I DO get bad cramps. Then again, I only do a placebo week every 2 or 3 packs (with obgyn approval), so maybe they wouldn't be so bad if I did a placebo week after every pack.

    The obvious downside is that if you are on the period, you can't use a menstrual cycle as a gauge of your body's health. But it's not always a perfect proxy; some people keep their cycles at unhealthy weights and some fail to get a period back naturally even when they've been at a healthy weight for a while. I guess you can use the weight at which you lost it as a gauge for when it "should" come back? So many contingencies, though.

    Weight gain was a *huge* concern of mine and is the biggest fear factor for a lot of people, I think. I've blogged about it before, but I definitely didn't gain any weight and loved how the pill redistributed what I had. Everyone is a different case, of course, but that's my testimonial. On placebo weeks I retain water and my weight shoots up 3 pounds (precisely, every time) overnight but comes back down after about 3 days (every time).

    Okay this has turned into a novel, sorry!

  4. Have you brought it up to your therapist or J? They might be able to offer some advice about it. Even though your therapist is a man, I bet he's had conversations about it with clients before.