Perimenopause, are you noticing changes to your body but know you’re not going through the menopause? It seems that all the attention is put on the menopause but really attention should be given more to the perimenopause as this phase can have a big impact on women’s lives.
So what is the Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the transition period between having normal hormone levels, regular periods and the menopause. Menopause is when a woman has not had a period for 1 year or more. During the perimenopause women can experience physiological changes to their body.
When does it start?
This phase can begin four years before the menopause or for some unlucky women up to 10 years before. This means that it is likely to start in a woman’s 40’s or even earlier in her 30’s.
It’s thought to be caused by fluctuating hormones causing disruption to the menstrual cycle and other symptoms such as mood swings. The medical profession originally thought that it was mainly due reduced levels of oestrogen but there is evidence that now shows women can experience higher levels of oestrogen and instead of high levels of progesterone, they actually have low levels of this hormone.
How do I know if I’m going through the Perimenopause?
Well, symptoms will differ from woman to woman and progression through this phase will be different for everyone. Symptoms may intensify as you move nearer to menopause as oestrogens’ decline accelerates as you get closer to the menopause. However, everyone is different some will sail through this phase without too many issues whilst others will wonder what is this nightmare they’re going through.
Interestingly, women in the Far East experience fewer symptoms than women in the West, maybe because their stresses are less. In the West we tend to live life at a faster pace, juggling jobs, rearing children, running the home, keeping up with social media etc. and no time for rest. In addition, Eastern women include phyto-oestrogens such as soya in their diet which may have an impact on reducing symptoms.
Check out this list of common perimenopausal symptoms
Sleep pattern changes -trouble sleeping through night
Menstrual irregularity, timing and maybe flooding/heavy)
Depression – maybe as a result of experiencing some of these symptoms
Difficulty in concentration
Memory is affected
Hair loss or change in condition
Vaginal changes – dryness, itchy
Incontinence upon sneezing or coughing
Gum problems, increased bleeding
Changes in body odour
Increased tension in muscles
Some hot flushes
Burning tongue, change in taste or mouth odour
There are lots you can do to reduce symptoms by making changes to lifestyle, diet and exercising and I’ll be writing a further post on how you can help yourself. In the meantime, if you would like to find out how acupuncture can also help with these symptoms just get in touch.