Let's dive into a topic that's as inevitable as it is mystifying for many of us hitting our mid-life stride: perimenopause - the precursor to menopause - a chapter that deserves a spotlight, rather than a scribbled footnote in women’s health.

So, what can you expect, how can you handle the surprises, and how to support yourself as best as possible through it all.

When Does Perimenopause Start and How Long Does It Last?

Perimenopause, also known as “the menopause transition,” represent the transition years to menopause. It typically kicks off in your 40s, but don’t be thrown off if it starts peeking around the corner in your late 30s. Everyone’s body scripts its own unique drama!

This phase can last anywhere from a few months to (brace yourself!) up to ten years. On average, most women experience perimenopausal symptoms for about four years. The final act of perimenopause concludes once you’ve gone a full year without a menstrual period, which is the official commencement of menopause.

Common Symptoms of Perimenopause

The symptoms of perimenopause are as varied as the women experiencing them, but here are a few of the chart-toppers:

  1. Hot Flushes: These come on as sudden waves of heat that can turn your face the colour of a ripe tomato and make you feel like you’re living inside a sauna. They're the divas of perimenopausal symptoms and can strike day or night.

    Take these to help reduce the incidence and severity of hot flushes in peri/menopause.

  2. Irregular Periods: Like a train off its schedule, your periods can become unpredictable—early, late, heavy, light. You name it, it’s all part of this transition.

    Read more here about what your periods are telling you in perimenopause...

  3. Mood Swings: One minute you’re laughing; the next, you might find yourself in tears or grappling with irritation. It’s a rollercoaster that can leave even the most even-keeled women feeling a bit off-balance.

    Keen to even out mood swings, reduce anxiety and rage?  Try this.

  4. Sleep Problems: Insomnia and night sweats might have you tossing and turning, wondering if you’ll ever get a good night’s sleep again.

    Try our magnesium loaded super lattes to help improve your sleep. Go here.

  5. Vaginal Dryness: It’s not the easiest topic to bring up at dinner, but many women experience decreased moisture that can make sex uncomfortable.

    Need help with your libido? This can help improve things in that department.

What Can You Do About These Perimenopause Symptoms?

Each symptom has its own set of strategies:

  • Hot Flashes: Dress in layers, stay cool, and consider discussing hormone therapy or other medications with your doctor if they’re severe.

  • Irregular Periods: While there’s not much you can do to regulate your cycle naturally, staying on top of your schedule with an app or calendar can help you not be caught off-guard.

  • Mood Swings: Regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, adequate sleep, and possibly even therapy or counseling can be incredibly beneficial.

  • Sleep Problems: Establish a soothing bedtime routine, limit caffeine and alcohol, and make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep.

  • Vaginal Dryness: Over-the-counter lubricants or vaginal moisturizers can be a game-changer, and don’t hesitate to discuss other treatments with your healthcare provider.

Menopause vs. Perimenopause

While perimenopause is the rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs, think of menopause as the platform where the ride comes to a stop. Menopause officially sets in after you’ve gone without menstruating for a full year. It’s the end of your reproductive period and the beginning of a new phase of freedom from monthly cycles and, hopefully, a reduction in those pesky symptoms.

Life After Menopause

Once you reach menopause, you might find that many symptoms of perimenopause begin to diminish. However, menopause comes with its own set of health considerations like increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. The silver lining? No more periods or unpredictability. Many women also speak of a newfound sense of liberation and confidence.

Whether you’re approaching perimenopause, smack in the middle of it, or waving it goodbye, remember that this transition is a natural part of life. It's full of change, but also full of potential.

Do everything you can to support your body, brain and mind as you move through these years.

May 15, 2024 — Angela Greely

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