Ahhhhh, Perimenopause! That oh-so wild time in our life where our bodies decide to shake things up a bit (a BIT?!!!! We heard you).

We know that along with these crazy changes comes questions, soooo many questions. We believe that being armed with all the info is a solid part of your game plan to thrive through these years.

So, grab your fave-y cuppa (maybe it's even one of our Peri-busting Superlattes!) get comfy, and let's dive into the why, what's happening, and how you can navigate this rollercoaster ride like a pro.

What Even IS Perimenopause?

First things first, what is perimenopause and why does it happen?

Well, it all boils down to our bodies transitioning out of our fertile years which causes our hormones, estrogen and progesterone levels to fluctuate which creates the perimenopausal whirlwind that we get served up.

Think of it as a hormonal symphony, with each instrument playing its own tune, sometimes harmoniously, and sometimes, well, not so much. 

Our bodies are going through BIG hormonal changes. For example: estrogen not only regulates the growth, development, and physiology of the human reproductive system but it is also involved in interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system, regulates bone metabolism and is essential to bone health, promotes, maintains, and controls the typical distribution of body fat, and has an antioxidant effect on our cardiovascular system.

With low estrogen levels affecting bone and heart health, nervous system and maintaining body weight it’s important that we head into the perimenopause years with our protective shield to prevent taking ill health into our menopause years. 

Knowing this, it makes sense to focus efforts on soothing the nervous system, supporting bone and heart health and overall health and wellbeing.

Signs of Perimenopause

So, signs of perimenopause. The hormonal dance between estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to a variety of symptoms: from irregular periods to mood swings that could give a soap opera a run for its money!

And let's not forget about the hot flushes and night sweats that can make you feel like you're in the middle of a heatwave.

There are many, many symptoms and each of us will have a unique experience, but here are the top 20 Most Common Perimenopause Symptoms:

  1. Irregular periods: what is yours trying to tell you?
  2. Hot flushes (take these to reduce these)
  3. Night sweats (these will help reduce night sweats)
  4. Mood swings (reduce mood swings by taking these)
  5. Fatigue
  6. Sleep disturbances (definitely take these to get a better night's sleep)
  7. Vaginal dryness
  8. Decreased libido (this will help)
  9. Weight gain or changes in body composition: go here for info
  10. Breast tenderness
  11. Headaches or migraines (take these to reduce these)
  12. Joint and muscle pain
  13. Changes in skin, such as dryness or increased sensitivity (the collagen in this can help)
  14. Hair thinning or loss
  15. Memory problems or difficulty concentrating (this can help boost your cognitive function and brain health)
  16. Increased anxiety or irritability (this is great for mood and anxiety)
  17. Urinary changes, such as increased frequency or urgency
  18. Digestive issues, including bloating or changes in bowel movements
  19. Allergies or increased sensitivity to certain foods
  20. Changes in cholesterol levels,

Perimenopause symptoms and the combinations of symptoms we each experience are going to be different for each woman. We're all unique!

How Long Does Perimenopause Last?

Ah, the million-dollar question: how long does perimenopause last? Well, there's no one-size-fits-all answer, but let's break it down a bit. Enter the stages of perimenopause:

  • Stage 1: Very Early Perimenopause (Pre-perimenopause): This is the sneak peek stage, where your body starts to show subtle signs of change, like irregular periods and maybe a few mood swings here and there.

  • Stage 2: Early Menopause Transition (Early perimenopause): Things start to get real here. Your periods become more irregular, and those mood swings? Yeah, they're probably making themselves known loud and clear.

  • Stage 3: Late Menopause Transition (Peak perimenopause): Buckle up, because this is where the party really starts. Your periods become even more irregular, and those lovely symptoms we talked about earlier? They're likely in full swing.

  • Stage 4: Late perimenopause: You're almost there, hang in there! Your periods might become even more sporadic, and the symptoms can ramp up big time. But don't worry, because menopause is just around the corner.

On average, perimenopause lasts around 7 years but can last anywhere from 2 - 12 years. On average most women reach menopause at the age of 51. So if you are in your mid forties you are likely to be in perimenopause.

Have a squizz at this diagram to see the different stages and what might be happening:


How Do I Know If I'm in Perimenopause?

Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: how do you know if you're in perimenopause? Well, if you're experiencing irregular periods, mood swings that could give a rollercoaster a run for its money, hot flushes that make you want to dive into a pool of ice, and night sweats that have you changing your pyjamas more than a newborn baby, chances are you're in the perimenopause club.

There isn’t a test that confirms if you are in perimenopause. Your doctor will base it on your age and the symptoms that you are experiencing.

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:

What's Normal in Perimenopause (And What's Not)?

It's important to know what's normal during perimenopause and what's not. While irregular periods and the occasional hot flush are par the course, if you're experiencing severe symptoms that are impacting your quality of life, it's time to chat with your healthcare provider. They can help you navigate this journey and find solutions that work for you and rule out if there are any other underlying health conditions at play.

To help you find a doctor who is right for you, the Australasian Menopause Society has a list of doctors who have a special interest in mid life and menopausal women's health, and the promotion of healthy ageing. You can find that here.

Top Tips to Naturally Balance Hormones in Perimenopause

1. Eat Enough Protein 

    In peri it’s important to eat protein for soooo many reasons:

  1. To keep up muscle mass
  2. Keep you fuller for longer and
  3. For the maintenance and repair of every cell in your body.

  4. Protein also supplies the essential amino acids needed to build your protein hormones (which play a crucial role in regulating many physiological processes, such as energy metabolism, appetite control and managing stress).

    In peri you need to eat 1.2g of protein daily per kg of body weight. So it means incorporating a palm size of protein per meal and include in snacks daily. 

    Find out more about the Power of Protein in Perimenopause here.

    You can find our high-protein, adaptogenic Peri Protein POWders here.

    2. Exercise

      Exercise improves blood flow and aids the hormone receptors to function optimally.

      Some studies suggest that it reduces the chances of insulin resistance (likely due to the fact exercise helps to keep you in a healthy weight range, reducing the chances of fat storage around your middle). 

      Read more about how exercise can help reduce your perimenopause symptoms here.

      3. Healthy Weight Range

        Obesity is linked to hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance. Remember perimenopause is a time when we start to store fat around our middles, not on our hips and thighs (boo!!).  Why is it important?  Because fat storage around our middles can lead to insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 diabetes - not good! 

        Read more here about insulin resistance and how to steer clear of that. 

        4. Gut Health

        Our microbiome acts as an endocrine organ and an unbalanced and distressed microbiome can cause either the deficiency or excess of free oestrogen. It also regulates appetite and a healthy microbiome reduces the chances of insulin resistance.

        A focus on good gut health is often overlooked as a way to reduce perimenopause symptoms. Check out our guide here to get started.

        5. Reduce Sugar Intake

        Sugar is not your gut's friend and it's definitely not your Pal in Peri.  Making a concerted effort to reduce your sugar consumption could drastically impact on your symptoms (for the better!).

        Be sure to watch out for added sugars, particularly Fructose, that can be found in sauces, salad dressings, sugary drinks, yogurt, baked goods, and fast foods.

        A diet high in Fructose is linked to Insulin resistance, disrupting the hormone Leptin (which helps regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger, which in turn diminishes fat storage in fat cells).  Phew!  There's alot going on in there!

        Learn about how to control sugar cravings here.

        Are you still with us?  Hang in there - it'll be worth it!

        6. Reduce Stress

        Ah stress.... this one's a biggie for us lot.

        We know well that with our busy lives often juggling households, jobs/careers, finances, kids and their calendars, extended family, stress just feels like an inherent part of existence. 

        And whilst yes, when we step back and look at what we're juggling, it's hardly surprising at all that the vast majority of us are completely and utterly wired.

        But, even though this time of our lives often comes with increased responsibility and more balls in the air than ever, it's also more important than ever to finally put ourselves on our priority lists. 

        It's do or die, Ladies (okay, we're turning up the drama here but whatever it takes to get you to rest!).

        So: What calms you? What helps you reset? Make a little list of those things and refer to them when you've cleared yourself some alone time just for you.  Maybe have some things you can do if you have a spare 2 minutes, things you can do if you have an hour, things you can do if, OMG! you get a WHOLE DAY!

        Our bodies produce the hormone cortisol from our adrenal glands in response to dealing with stress.

        Once the stress has been dealt with our bodies go back to normal. If we are constantly stressed then we start to release cortisol regularly and we'll experience elevated cortisol levels, which in turn stimulates appetite and makes us reach for sugar and high fat foods.

        So, finding time to do things that are chill can have a seriously great impact on our experience of perimenopause symptoms. 

        Take time out of your day - everyday - for you.

        Some suggestions might be:

      1. Read
      2. Do some yoga
      3. Meditate
      4. Go outside and stare at a tree, focusing on that one thing and nothing else.
      5. Simply breathe
      6. NOTE: Regular yoga for perimenopause women shows great results in reducing stress levels and balancing mood symptoms.

      7. Find out more about how to soothe mood swings and anxiety, here.

        7. Eat Healthy Fats

        Healthy fats help reduce the chance of insulin resistance and keep you fuller for longer.   Aim to have a small portion (the size of your thumb with every meal you eat.

        Good fats are found in

      8. Avocados
      9. Almonds
      10. Peanuts
      11. Macadamia nuts
      12. Hazelnuts
      13. Fatty fish
      14. Olives and
      15. Coconuts.

      16. These healthy fats are also called Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and are unique in that they are less likely to be stored in fat tissue and more likely to be taken up directly by your liver for immediate use as energy, promoting increased calorie burning.  Oh yes! We want more of this lot!

        8. Good Sleep

        Sleep is a time your body is resting and digesting.

        Poor sleep can throw your hormones out of whack causing decrease in the fullness hormones (ghrelin and leptin), increase hunger (ghrelin) and stress hormones (cortisol), and increases the chances of insulin resistance.

        Getting good sleep in perimenopause is easier said than done too with many of us experiencing poor and broken sleep.  Read our post here on how to achieve a good night's sleep.

        9. Eat Enough Fibre

        Eating a diet high in fibre is part of a healthy diet and reduces your chances of insulin resistance and releases hormones to tell you that you are full. You also need fibre to feed your good bacteria in your gut, as a happy gut helps balance hormones and reduce peri symptoms.

        For good fibre, eat lots of fresh fruit and veg and some whole grains.  We usually try to make sure 3/4 of our plates are filled with veg each meal.

        10. Additional Natural Supports

        There are so many different minerals, vitamins and herbal medicines that can aid in the balancing out of perimenopause hormones.

        As a Clinical Nutritionist, SheBANG!'s Ange would prescribe depending on your specific needs:

        "I would suggest speaking to your health professional to advise what is best for you. If I was to give only one suggestion, it would be Magnesium.

        I find that most people are deficient and it's the mineral needed for optimal metabolic function; especially important during perimenopause.

        It is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions within our bodies.

        Magnesium Glycinate is the best form for peri ladies and is effective in treating peri mood symptoms, hot flashes, improving sleep, preventing insulin resistance and reducing migraines." Get some here. 

         That is why we have included 150mg of Magnesium Glycinate per serve in our Peri Superlatte range."

        Wrap up

        Embrace the peri-adventures, read up to get as much info as is humanly possible, 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.



        February 26, 2024 — Angela Greely

        Leave a comment

        Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.