It’s not often that we watch a television medical drama and think the dialogue is so realistic and even beyond that, the medical information is accurate. I have to give a very bright and shiny five stars to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy that aired October 17, 2019 titled “It’s Raining Men”, featuring Perimenopause references…

 

Picture this:

Chief of Surgery, Dr Miranda Bailey (played brilliantly by actor Chandra Wilson) with sweat pouring off her face, and in the middle of a full-blown hot flash meltdown with her husband, manages to strangle out the words,

“…my hormones are hitting me like a tidal wave because I am in menopause…”

 

And then, 

 

“ I know it was coming some day, no one really warns you about all the feelings…”

 

Then guess what happens? This is my favourite part and many, many thanks to the writers of Grey’s Anatomy because this happens more often than women want to even think about.

 

Dr Maggie Pierce (actor Kelly McCreary), tries to deliver the bloodwork results to her friend Dr Miranda Bailey in person, but Miranda insists she knows what is going on (perimenopause).

 

And here it is … Dr Pierce informs her, “You are both perimenopausal AND pregnant.”

 

BAM! 

 

That’s where I cheered out loud at the television (perhaps I need to get a life?).

 

Most women do not know what perimenopause is, or the signposts of going through it. I believe most women generally know that menopause will occur in their 50s somewhere, which is correct – the early 50s, usually around 51. What is not readily recognized are the signposts for perimenopause, the five to ten years leading up to menopause.

 

Menopause is the cessation of your period for twelve consecutive months. And no, six months doesn’t count, or eight, or ten … you could still be ovulating … thus the surprise pregnancies.

 

According to the award-winning documentary Hot Flash Havoc (2016), 1.9 billion women worldwide will reach menopause by the year 2025. Which means there could be 1.9 billion women going through perimenopause right now.   

 

Here are some of the signposts for perimenopause.

 

Just remember ovulation is still happening, even if erratic – you must have twelve consecutive months with NO period – because pregnancy can happen. 

 

Think of Chief of Surgery Dr Miranda Bailey!

 

Deborah Kerr
Author

Meet Deborah Kerr. She's a huge advocate for patient-focused healthcare. After twenty years of store management in community pharmacy, and ten years of corporate management for independent pharmacy, she developed an itch. The more she scratched, the more it spread. Why does menopause take so many women by surprise? Why does it have the ability to impact relationships, and families, and workplaces. It's insidious. She found herself shouting, "there has to be a better way".

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