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Everything You Need To Know About Perimenopause

About Perimenopause

What is perimenopause - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

Are experiencing body changes such as irregular or missed periods, mood swings, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, sudden bursts of anger, or thinning of hair? Well, if you’re in your mid to late 40’s you may be experiencing what is called perimenopause. This is the stage in every woman’s life that begins years before menopause.

What is Perimenopause?

Menopasue and perimenopause are two different stages. Post menopause is when a woman hasn’t menstrated for an entire year. Peri-menopause is the stage before that happens. When things start to go a bit wonky.

Perimenopause means “around menopause” wherein a woman’s body is making its natural transition to menopause. This stage usually starts in your 40s but can start as early as mid 30s.

The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but for some, it may last just a few months or continue for 10 years. Many women have hardly any symptoms in the beginning stages so they don’t even realize they’re entering menopause.

Estrogen Contribution To Perimenopause

Estrogen Contribution To Perimenopause
During perimenopause, the level of estrogen in a woman’s body rises and falls unevenly. This may cause shorter or longer menstrual cycles.

Estrogen is a female hormone that promotes the growth and health of the female reproductive organs. It keeps the vagina moisturized, elastic, and well supplied with blood. Estrogen levels fluctuate and become unpredictable during perimenopause and eventually fall to a very low level post menopause.

Low levels of estrogen can result in hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, bone loss, and vaginal dryness among others. 

Perimenopause Symptoms And Problems

Stages of Menopause
During perimenopause you may experience at least some of these symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Lower sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
  • Urinary urgency (an urgent need to urinate more frequently)
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep problems

Irregular periods are the hallmark of perimenopause. But other conditions can cause changes in your menstrual cycle. You may need to see your doctor if such cases below take place

  • Bleeding is extremely heavy
  • Bleeding lasts longer than seven days
  • Spotting between periods
  • Spotting after sex
  • Periods regularly occur less than 21 days apart
  • Bleeding that starts after you’ve gone 12 months without a period

These symptoms may mean a problem with your reproductive system that needs diagnosis and treatment. 

How to Deal With Perimenopause Symptoms?

Regular exercise for menopause
There are many things you can do to lessen the severity of perimenopausal symptoms using natural and easy ways that will help handle your transition.  

  • Exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week. Regular exercise has shown to reduce hip fractures and strengthen bond density.
  • Eat healthily. Adopt a low-fat, high-fiber diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and clean proteins.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine if they seem to trigger hot flashes.
  • Stop smoking – for obvious reasons.
  • Get more sleep and be aware of the hours in which you sleep not just the total hours. Try to sleep between 9 pm to 5 am or 10 pm to 6 am.
  • Get to a healthy weight and stay there. One trick is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. If you are 100 pounds drink 50 ounces of water, and start your day with 1-2 glasses of water at room temperature or warmer.
  • Take a high-quality nutritional supplement that contains optimal levels of nutrition and antioxidants.

Menopause Can Stuck

I understand, first hand, how it can feel like life isn’t going to be good anymore. Feeling confused and frustrated, and sometimes just really angry at the whole situation. Remember, menopause is a natural transition and you can get support to go through it more easily. Getting support will help you meet the challenges that will come along with menopause.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
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Donna Parker

Author and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner

Donna Parker LAc. author of “A Clear Path to a Vibrant Life” is a Classical Five Element acupuncturist, C...

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