There are plenty of special trials women have to face during their lives. Monthly periods can bring all kinds of pain and discomfort, and when menstruation finally comes to an end, they bring a last extra bit of discomfort.
No woman looks forward to menopause. It seems to be different for each individual, and no doubt you’ve heard horror stories of exceptionally bad menopauses, or perimenopause.
So, what is perimenopause? What can you expect, and how can you identify the early signs of perimenopause? Let’s find out.
What Is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the time surrounding menopause - before, after, and during. During menopause, the body changes. Menstruation stops, hormone levels change, and reproduction is no longer possible.
As you can imagine, this transition can be difficult and unpleasant. Perimenopause normally starts in the 40s and can last for around 7 to 8 years.
During perimenopause, you can expect a lot of changes, both to your mood and your body. Your chances of getting pregnant during perimenopause are much slimmer.
9 Early Signs of Perimenopause
Perimenopause can start at different times for everyone. Let’s consider a few signs that could indicate that you’ve started perimenopause.
One of the first and most well-known signs of perimenopause is irregular periods. You might have been as regular as a train timetable for most of your life, but perimenopause can change all that.
You might notice low bleeding or heavy bleeding one month, periods lasting longer than usual, or starting significantly earlier or later, or even skip a period. For some women they end up getting 2 or 3 periods in just one month.
Solution: There just isn't one unfortunately other than the various types of contraception that prevent periods but you would have to decide the side effects of each that you can live with.
Hot flushes! Omg when these start they need no explanation at all.
A hot flush can last anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, and can happen at any time including at night, known as a night sweat. Hot flashes are uncomfortable, distracting, and feel like prickly heat travelling up your body. They can disrupt sleep and cause problems at work and affect up to 80% of perimenopausal women, so you’re likely to suffer a few flashes!
Solution: The North American Menopause Society did a scientific study which showed that a plant based diet with a cup of edamame beans a day can reduce menopausal symptoms by up to 84%! We have a plant based diet you can follow here.
During perimenopause, hormone levels change, and estrogen levels drop. This can leave a woman with a low to zero sex drive not helped by vaginal dryness which is another side effect.
Solution: Water based lubricants and local internal estrogen creams (through your Dr.) really help with this.
Perimenopausal period changes might include heavy bleeding which can lead to fatigue and anemia. It can affect your life at work and in private, leaving you feeling weak and drained.
Solution: Do vitamin tests at this time to find out exactly what you are deficient in (including vit. D)
Between low estrogen levels and hot flushes, you will probably notice a difference in your sleep quality. You might find that you have more difficulty in falling and staying asleep. Night sweats can disrupt sleep and leave you feeling fatigued and exhausted over time.
Solution: Sorting out your sleep rhythm and routines really help including a few diet changes. We have solutions for you here
I call it feeling Mad, Bad and Sad. Because that is exactly what PM does to you. And it all happens at exactly the same time. You get irritable, depressed due to weight gain, sad because you feel isolated and vulnerable etc etc.
Solution: Step into this instead of being freaked out. You are not alone. I see you. We are ALL going through this. If you want help check out our community here.
Unsurprisingly, all of the side effects of perimenopause can leave you feeling weak and lethargic. Hormone changes can also contribute to fatigue, as well as poor sleep, iron deficiency due to heavy bleeding, and more.
Solution: Check your vitamin levels, and start supplementing with good quality nutrients and micro nutrients aka really good organic green powders and a plant based diet. Here are some options we offer.
8. Stress Levels
You may also notice that you have more difficulty remembering important things, and the dreaded “brain fog”. This is because your changing hormone levels can impact your verbal and learning memory, and this comes ON TOP of our generally high stress levels. You can't stop Perimenopause but.........
Solution: Our REWIRE programme helps you to step into lowering stress, reducing your stressfat and helping calm your emotions. Learn more here.
9. Gut Health
Your gut health is the biggest single issue that affects you during Perimenopause including inflammation, joint pains, weight gain etc.
Solutions: DO NOT DIET. It doesn't work. Work on your gut health - we have a programme for you here and it recommends supplements.
Easing the Symptoms of Perimenopause
Now that we’ve discussed all the horrible symptoms of perimenopause, is there anything you can do to stop these symptoms?
Unfortunately, perimenopause symptoms vary from person to person - so if the older female members of your family had bad menopause, you likely will too.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help to ease the painful side effects of hormone imbalances. Alternatively, you can speak to a doctor about help with issues such as heavy bleeding and hot flashes.
Over-the-counter treatments are also available for vaginal dryness.
Of course, a healthy lifestyle will also go a long way to helping you deal with perimenopause. A balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and avoiding bad habits (such as smoking or excessive drinking) can also help the perimenopause period go by smoothly.
While perimenopause isn’t particularly pleasant, it is natural. There’s no need to be embarrassed about your symptoms since this is a natural transition that happens to every woman.Need help navigating your diet and lifestyle through perimenopause? Coaching with Geeta can help you determine what foods work best for you and your body. Find out how you can start making the best choices for your health and during each phase of life.