I’m not 40 but feel I’ve started perimenopause - how can I know?
The simple answer is there's no test to know if you're in perimenopause. As our hormones change wildly day by day in this phase of our life. It’s all based on age and symptoms.
On average, women reach menopause by the age 51 (menopause is a point in time which marks 12 months of no period). The time after that day you're considered post-menopausal.
On average women are in perimenopause for six years, so as a rule of thumb if you are in your mid-forties you are peri. As with everything to do with health, we're all unique so perimenopause can start anywhere from your late thirties. Each woman will likely experience it differently too.
Oh wait! Do you know what perimenopause is??
Perimenopause represents the transition years leading up to menopause (which is a point in time of no periods for 1-year).
Some women sail through perimenopause with zero bother, where others might experience symptoms and can manage with natural supports and lifestyle changes, and then some women may have a really hard time of it needing a few different support strategies such as natural supports, counselling, hormone replacement therapy in addition to lifestyle changes.
It’s important to remember perimenopause won't be forever - you will get to the other side. Don’t sit in silence if you are struggling, speak to your GP (important to find one that specialises in women’s health especially in mid-life), there are SO many different strategies and supports for you to try. You don’t need to suffer in silence and alone.
It might be you're under 40 and lately your body has been dropping hints that something funky is going on. You know, those days when you're convinced your hormones are having a wild party without inviting you? Yeah, welcome to the "Not Quite 40, Yet Definitely Something Goin On" club!
Let's dive into the mysterious world of perimenopause and figure out how on earth we can tell if we've become honorary members.
The Sneaky Signs of Perimenopause
Okay, so picture this: you're chilling, minding your business, and suddenly you're hit with a mood swing (rage, anxiety, low mood) that rivals a telenovela plot twist. Or, out of nowhere, you're on an energy roller coaster that makes you question if you've accidentally done a triathlon without knowing or you just can’t seem to get a good night's sleep and your PMS has reached a new high. Sound familiar? Well, these could be the subtle signs that perimenopause might be knocking on your door.
But hold up, don't grab the panic button just yet. The thing about perimenopause is that it's like the sneak preview before the grand show of menopause. Hormones, the maestros of this symphony, start playing unpredictable tunes, and you're left wondering if you've stumbled onto a hormonal dance floor without knowing the steps.
Is It Perimenopause or Just Life?
Now, before you start Googling "am I perimenopausal," take a breath. The symptoms of perimenopause can be a tad tricky because they often mimic the usual suspects of stress, lack of sleep, and the general chaos of adulting. But fear not! There are a few telltale signs that might help you distinguish between the regular craziness and the peri-adventure.
The Irregular Periods: Your menstrual cycle decides to go rogue, playing hide and seek with your sanity. Sometimes it's fashionably late, other times it shows up unannounced. If your once predictable period becomes a mystery, you might be in perimenopause. More about peri periods here.
Mood Swing Extravaganza: Suddenly, your emotions are on a rollercoaster, and you're not sure if you should laugh, cry, or eat a whole tub of ice cream. If mood swings have become the norm, it's worth considering the peri-possibility. Check out our superlattes to tame those wild mood swings
- Night Sweats ++: Your peaceful slumber is rudely interrupted by night sweats, hot flushes and maybe insomnia. If your bed feels more like a sauna than a sanctuary, perimenopause might be playing a part. Read up on getting better sleep in perimenopause, here.
If you're just unsure but know there are changes in your body, book an appointment with your GP to get yourself checked out and to make sure there's nothing else going in. Good to have peace of mind...
The Early Perimenopause Test
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) - In the very early stages of perimenopause, your cycle can still be regular or it could be shortened to 21-26 days.
- 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.
Knowledge is Power
Here at SheBANG! we strongly believe that knowledge is power. It helps to understand what's going on with your body and how to best serve your needs to get the most out of life. Here are some helpful articles to get you started on your peri info journey:
Embrace the peri-adventures, read up, celebrate that you've come this far, and remember, we're in this together! You can find the SheBANG! Perisister community here where you can find support and information.
If you're looking for perimenopause symptom relief, head here to shop our peri-busting super lattes and adaptogenic protein blends. 92% of our customers report a reduction in their symptoms.