What You Need to Know About Perimenopause

Perimenopause, or the menopausal transition, may occur at different ages for different women, but generally starts when you’re in your 40s. It’s primarily a pre-menopausal phase that occurs prior to the cessation of your menstrual cycle and can span from 4 to 8 years. Here, your ovaries are slowly beginning to re-align progesterone and estrogen levels to prepare for the changes associated with menopause. Since this occurs while you’re still having menstrual periods, and the term is not that well-known, it’s hard to decipher whether you’ve actually reached this phase. Here’s what to look for, and how to address some of the health concerns you may have. You may also be able to find some relief for troublesome symptoms.

Symptoms Indicative of Perimenopause

The following may not necessarily be signs of perimenopause, but of other underlying medical conditions. However, once you’re reached pre-menopausal age, chances are that they might be.

A common indicator are irregular periods. This may include your cycle’s length and duration too. If you’ve begun having hot flashes, these may be due to fluctuating hormones. You’ll find this symptom goes hand in hand with night sweats, especially when hot flashes occur at night. You may also have insomnia due to this, or perhaps without any night sweats.

PMS may also worsen. This may or may not be linked to other symptoms such as breast tenderness, tiredness and bloating. Vaginal dryness may also be linked to the loss of libido associated with perimenopause. You may also gain weight, and experience urinary incontinence, hyper pigmentation, muscular pain, fluctuating moods, or depression.

Health Concerns and Relief

Since insomnia flare-up are common, you may want to try developing better sleeping routines. It’s advisable to turn off all electronics and cellular phones and create a calm haven, where there are no distracting light and sounds. It’s best to stay away from stimulants like caffeinated beverages, and get into the habit of relaxing, and falling asleep at consistent times.

This phase is linked to weight gain, so sticking to a balanced diet, complete with low  carbohydrates, and protein is imperative. Normalizing your blood glucose levels will help keep cravings and hormonal levels in check.

You should also incorporate a regular exercise routine into your day. This will combat weight gain, anxiety, fatigue and muscular pain. Plus, the surge of endorphins released after your work-out will help relieve anxiety-related disorders.

Reducing alcohol may help keep your weight down, as alcohol increases cortisol levels which leads to weight gain. Smoking may also reduce your estrogen levels, so quitting is best. Try and stay out of the sun wear sunscreen, even if you see no rays, if you suffer from hyper pigmentation.

Contact Dr. Gibson’s women’s health clinic for all your perimenopausal concerns.