Perimenopause How To Handle It

Perimenopause – what is it and how to handle it?

Perimenopause is a term used to mark the time around menopause. Menopause is when your body stops producing eggs and you are transitioning into stopping your menstrual cycle.

How long does it last?

Unfortunately for some unlucky women, Perimenopause can last up to ten years or even more. It can start as early as in your forties but more normally mid-forties onward. One unfortunate client I had was still getting hot flushes into her seventies. For others it comes and goes and is hardly noticed. The average of that is between four to six years.

Why does Perimenopause happen?

Perimenopause happens to you because your body is starting to run out of eggs. When this starts to happen, it disrupts your female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. When these hormones are disrupted, it leads to a change in your monthly periods, causing them to become heavier or lighter, shorter or longer and there may even be some months you won’t have a period at all. Usually if you don’t have a period for a year it is pretty safe to say that you are coming out of menopause.

Pre-menopausal Symptoms

Miscellaneous symptoms

There are around 20% of women who have no menopausal symptoms and find the experience easy. Then 60% of women have mild to moderate symptoms, leaving the rest with severe symptoms. Some symptoms can be that bad that they significantly interfere with daily life. There are almost thirty odd different symptoms that can be related to Perimenopause. Some of the more common symptoms can include having erratic periods, depression, hot flushes, vaginal dryness and disrupted sleep. There are also other symptoms that you may or may not experience including burning mouth syndrome. This is an issue that causes you to feel as though your lips, tongue and gums are tingling. You may also experience night sweats, sore and tender breasts, itchy skin or sometimes it can feel like ants are crawling on your skin. You may feel tiredness, get migraines, have mood changes and weight gain.

Weight gain and hormones

The weight gain is due to your metabolism slowing down. You may even find that your hair is starting to fall out more than usual. Estrogen and progesterone are important for growing your hair, as they help it grow faster and last longer. The reason your hair may start to become thinner and is growing slower, is due to these hormones starting to decline. It can also make your hair more brittle causing it to break more easily. There has been research that found more than half of women experience hair thinning later in life. If your hair thins you could find that you are feeling depressed, have anxiety or low self-esteem, due to the thinning of your hair. If you are gaining weight due to a hormone issue check out my article on Hormones and Weight Loss on https://www.wellbeing.com.au/body/health/hormones-weight-loss-spring.html

Brain Fog caused by Perimenopause

Sometimes women report becoming easily distracted, losing concentration and forgetting names and small details. This is usually referred to as brain fog. The reason for brain fog in part is due to the hormonal swings. Another reason you may experience brain fog could be because of your disrupted sleep or if you are feeling stressed and anxious. To help ease brain fog, try to find ways to help keep your stress levels down and look after yourself. You can take a break from what you are doing to refocus yourself. Also, regular exercise is for helping to boost the hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that is involved in keeping your memory working well. Meditation and mindfulness is great for relaxation and handling brain fog. It will help you get focused.

Lower Sex Drive

During Perimenopause you may find that your sex drive is declining and there is a lack of interest in sex. You may have vaginal dryness or you can find yourself simply just not feeling sexy. When you have vaginal dryness sex can be physically uncomfortable or even painful, making intimacy not at all enjoyable. Luckily there are things that can help with this. Talk to your GP or natural therapist.

What to do about it

It’s often a great idea to do a blood test and test your FSH. Also your TSH as hormone disruption also relates sometimes to thyroid issues. Symptoms to look for are hot flushes and irregular periods. Don’t worry if you don’t feel up to par. There are lots of places to help you through this.

You don’t have to put up with the symptoms you are experiencing. Many natural supplements from your naturopath can help you balance your thyroid and hormones if you need to and to lift your mood. Your naturopath can help you eat the right foods and take the right supplements so you get through this easily. It helps if you don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol and look after your mental wellbeing. Make sure you get eight hours sleep a night and exercise at least three times a week for an hour at minimum.

Going through Perimenopause and menopause is a time of rejoicing when you are making the transition into what members of age old tribes honoured as the wise woman of the tribe. Reflect on that, on how far you have come from the fragile novice teenager perhaps when you first transitioned into being a woman and where you are now. Reward yourself mentally and emotionally for all the things in life that you have been through and succeeded. This is a time to honour and celebrate your womanhood so welcome your new journey as you step into it with a new healthier lifestyle which will kick all those symptoms out the door. This is your time, value it!

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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