It could be perimenopause.
There’s a lot of misinformation, confusion, and negative baggage about being so, you know, hormonal (cue eye roll!). If the wild hormonal ride leading up to menopause is preventing you from bringing you’re A-game, here’s what you need to know:
Perimenopause is the transitional stage from having your regular menstrual cycle to menopause. During this time, your oestrogen and progesterone levels begin to fluctuate and gradually reduce up until your last period. A raft of mental and physical symptoms associated with menopause can be sufficiently bothersome and send almost 90% of women to their doctors for advice on how to cope.
The very first symptoms of perimenopause can be subtle. You don’t meet the criteria for “early menopause” or “premature menopause,” but there’s enough to know that something is starting to shift – maybe your cycle is shorter by a few days? Also, you might feel more tired than usual before your period, but might not realise that it could be connected to your period. Naturally, as mothers we have a load of responsibilities and might think that all the balls in the air might be responsible for the symptoms of perimenopause.
Your cycle is mostly regular, but you may start to notice it lengthen by a week or longer – or you might even skip an occasional period.
It’s a lengthy list including hot flushes, night sweats, changes in mood, irregular periods, heavy bleeding or much lighter periods, vaginal dryness or atrophy, loss of libido, weight gain, aching muscles or joints, and fatigue.
You don’t need to be formally diagnosed by your GP if the symptoms match up and you fall within the expected age group (some women will start this phase in their 40’s, for some it might begin in their 30’s), unless the symptoms affect your quality of life.
Typically between 2 and 7 years, or it might be over in a matter of months.
The most effective way to treat symptoms is hormone replacement therapy, but it doesn’t come without controversy. Many women resist the treatment because it’s been shown to increase the risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers, as well as heart disease – though it carries a smaller risk than smoking and obesity.
Symptoms can also be managed through changes to diet and exercise. Focus on foods rich in the Omega-3’s and reduce alcohol. Create boundaries by saying “no” to things you don’t have time for and make time for self-care.
It is estimated that over 1 billion women around the world will have experienced perimenopause by 2025.
So ladies, if you’re between the ages 35 – 45 and are experiencing weird issues that make you scour the web late at night, you could be experiencing perimenopause.
Book an appointment with your doctor for peace of mind.
Source: sarah-graham.co.uk, womenshealthmag.com, huffingtonpost.com, webmd.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.