The transitional phase leading up to the menopause, is know as the perimenopause. It’s the time when production of the female hormones that drive the menstrual cycle start to decline (usually around our mid-forties but can start as early as 35 in some cases) and it is this stage that you are considered to be perimenopausal. It’s also the time when most of the symptoms actually occur and cause hormonal havoc.
In this blog post, I look at the most common symptoms and signs you could be going through the perimenopause and what to look out for.
- Changes in the menstrual cycle – These are very common as our oestrogen levels start to fluctuate and our progesterone levels naturally decline. Periods can start to become less or more regular and some women report that they become so heavy it feels like they are flooding which can be embarrassing and frustrating.
- Mood swings – One minute you’re tearful, the next you’re angry. Your emotions are on a rollercoaster and you don’t know which way it’s going to turn next. Sound familiar? Rage is often reported to me by my clients and I know from personal experience the effects it can have on your relationships, confidence and self-esteem (read this article for more info).
- Hot flashes – Often starting at your neck and rising up your face until your red as a lobster and you think someone has turned the heating up to the max temperature! It can happen at any time with no warning and 75% of women going through the perimenopause experience them. They are usually accompanied by night sweats and can really affect your ability to get a good nights sleep.
- Insomnia – High levels of cortisol at night during the perimenopause can affect our ability to get to and stay asleep by interrupting our natural sleep rhythms. You feel tired but wired and struggle to get to sleep. Combined with the hot flushes and night sweats that keep waking you up when you finally drop off, this is not a remedy for a good nights sleep.
- Brain Fog -You walk into a room and have no idea why and what you planned to do. You struggle to concentrate and focus and your mind just feels like cotton wool. The perimenopause can cause short term memory loss and cognitive issues due to the decline in oestrogen levels and the effect this can have on your thyroid, stress levels and sleep patterns.
- Weight Gain – It’s really common for women that are perimenopausal to complain they are putting on weight and struggling to lose it. Hormonal and physical changes during the menopause make many women more likely to gain weight during this phase of their life. Your metabolism reduces, stress levels can increase and imbalanced oestrogen levels can all cause us to hold onto unwanted weight, particularly around the middle.
- Lack of Energy – Perimenopausal fatigue is one of the main symptoms reported by my clients. It can feel totally overwhelming. Often you feel like you have had a good nights sleep but your body is still exhausted and you have no energy to face the day. This continues throughout the day with peaks and slumps and particularly low in the afternoon (the 4pm slump!) and can have you reaching for sugar and caffeine to make it through the day.
- Vaginal Dryness – Not something that is discussed alot (especially here in the UK!) but a very common symptom. Hormonal imbalances brought on by the perimenopause, due to the decline in oestrogen levels, can cause vaginal atrophy (the official term) and affects between 70 and 80% of women. It doesn’t have to be the end of your sex life however and can be easily treated. Loss of libido usually goes hand in hand!
The perimenopause is physically, emotionally and mentally an unpredictable time for us as women and it can feel overwhelming and like we have no control over our bodies and emotions.
If you are struggling with these symptoms and would like to find out more about managing them naturally, then why not book a complimentary Heal Your Hormones Strategy Call with me here.