How Do I Know If I'm In Perimenopause?
Are you over 40 years old?
Do things just feel different with your period?
Likelihood is that you're probably in perimenopause.
In terms of absolute black and white confirmation, there isn't any hormone test that can confirm if you are in perimenopause. It’s determined by your age and symptoms.
The average age to reach menopause (a point in time, when you haven't had a period for 1 year) is 51 and perimenopause tends to last between 2 - 12 years and on average between 4 - 6 years.
You've reached menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 months and your Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) blood levels is elevated to 30 mIU/ml or higher.
Early Perimenopause Symptoms
In the very early stages of perimenopause, your cycle can still be regular or it could be shortened to 21-26 days. Professor Jerilynn Prior says that a midlife woman with a regular cycle with three of the nine symptoms below is likely to be in peri:
- New-onset heavy and/or longer flow
- Shorter menstrual cycle (25 days or less)
- New sore, swollen or lumpy breasts
- New mid-sleep waking
- Increased menstrual cramps
- Onset of night sweats, in particular premenstrually
- New or markedly increased migraine headaches
- New or increased premenstrual mood swings
- Weight gain without changes in exercise or eating.
There are Four stages of Perimenopause: Which One Are You In?
The four stages of perimenopause are broken down into:
- Very Early Perimenopause
- Early Menopause Transition
- Late Menopause Transition
- Late Perimenopause.
Have a squiz at this diagram to see the different stages and what might be happening:
What Are The Most Common Perimenopausal Symptoms?
You could experience one, several or (perish the thought) all of the following perimenopause symptoms:
- Misbehaving periods
- Heavier than usual bleeding
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Dry vajay-yay
- Mood swings
- Itchy skin
- Trash sleep
- Brain fog
- Weight gain
- Low libido
- Aching joints
- Low energy.
Wildly fluctuating hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, are the reasons we suffer symptoms in perimenopause.
Approximately 25% of women who experience natural menopause will have severe symptoms. The other 75% are likely to have mild or possibly no symptoms.
Whilst some of these symptoms can impact on the quality of your life, it can really help to remember that perimenopause is temporary. You will emerge on the other side.
Lifestyle Choices To Reduce Symptoms!
- Include enough protein in your diet daily
- Move daily
- Have a healthy weight range
- Focus on good gut health
- Reduce your sugar intake
- Reduce your stress levels
- Include healthy fats in your diet
- Get good sleep (not always easy)
- Eat enough fibre in your diet
- Natural supports (especially magnesium)
- Take Peri Chai Latte twice a day: loaded with magnesium glycinate, collagen and turmeric to help reduce perimenopause symptoms.
Learn more about how to how to balance your hormones naturally.
And for some of us if that isn’t cutting it, consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Don’t suffer with symptoms, chat to your health professional and ask what’s available for you. If you don’t have someone lined up to chat to we recommend checking out this registry with the Australasian Menopause Society, of doctors who have a special interest in perimenopause and menopause.