There are a lot of things Black folks don’t talk about… Nana’s full mustache, Uncle James and Uncle Charlie are not just roommates, Cousin Tanya’s drug habit, that baby don’t look like Ray, and menopause. Your mother & grandmother either hid it, described it only as hot flashes, or they had complete hysterectomies and never experienced it. Whatever the case… we gotta talk about it. Specially peri menopause, cuz it’s that joker right there that is not for the weak.
So let’s get into it!
Peri menopause is the transition into menopause, which is the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is during this time estrogen levels rise and fall and cause a myriad of symptoms that basically feel like everything from your hair to your feet is on that bullshit! An internet search led me to a few lists of symptoms: irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, incontinence, bone fragility (1), more severe PMS, hair loss, weight gain, inflammation, headaches, back pain, forgetfulness, loss of libido, inability to concentrate (2), shortness of breath, heartburn, loss of appetite, depression/anxiety, vision issues, bloating, skin breakouts or dryness (3). And just personal one’s I’ve noticed… cold feet, spatial confusion, and tastebud changes. It typically starts in a woman’s 40s, but may start in her 30s, and can last anywhere from a few months to over a decade. (4) Not talking about peri is no bueno!
It makes no sense that women have to get surprised by this very normal and natural phenomenon. It’s not just hot flashes and your cycle ending… it is a whole fucking life change that women need to be prepared for, especially Black women. We know that Black women often face disparate treatment in healthcare settings because doctors don’t understand or have compassion for our unique health concerns, not enough medical research is done into the health realities of Black women, healthcare access is limited in poor and urban communities, and health education is lacking across the board for and regarding Black women’s bodies. When you add our reproductive health into the fold… we need to talk about Peri! She is a whole beast wrecking unnecessary havoc out here…
Our hormones are tied to damn near every physical process in our bodies. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency,
The endocrine system, made up of all the body’s different hormones, regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age, including the development of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, as well as the metabolism and blood sugar levels. The female ovaries, male testes, and pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are major constituents of the endocrine system. (5)
Women with hormonal ebbs and flows are a whole environmental concern lolol! Why? Cuz we are literally a whole emotional system out in these streets, suffering from physical changes that mimic everything from mental illness to going blind. She is not to be fucked with. She might bite you. She is savage af, and she is probably sleepy and hungry simultaneously. She can wake up completely happy,
and in a matter of moments cycle through every emotion from confusion (about people, places, things, everything),
disinterest and lack of desire… to do anything,
choosing calm & scary violence, or
scaring her damn self.
But whatever it is, she need to be adequately prepared to face it. And ladies, we have been thrown into the pits of hormonal chaos without a life preserver all because we don’t talk about Peri.
So if this sounds like you, if you read this and feel seen, talk about Peri… ask your sista friends, talk to your doctor, find another doctor if the one you have doesn’t listen and tells you that you are imagining these very real symptoms, and peruse social media. Women aren’t being silent… we gon talk about Peri’s raggedy ass!
Check out @kari_wright on Tik Tok… life changing!
(1) mayoclinic.com (2021) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666
(2) Cherney, K. (2020). Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/difference-perimenopause#symptoms-of-perimenopause-and-menopause.
(3) Sharkey, L. (2021). https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/i-have-weird-symptoms-with-perimenopause
(4) health.harvard.edu (2020). https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/perimenopause-rocky-road-to-menopause
(5). USEPA (2021). https://www.epa.gov/endocrine-disruption/what-endocrine-system