If you’re in your late 30s and 40s but experiencing what feels like hot flashes and mood swings lately, you might have a feeling that there’s something going on. Especially if you still have your period and menopause is not in the cards yet, it may feel like your body is telling you something but you just don’t know what it is.
If aside from those symptoms you’re also experiencing some events of forgetfulness, irregular periods, and low libido, you could be going through what's known as perimenopause.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause means "around menopause". It is also oftentimes called menopausal transition. It happens right before you start menopause, in which your body gradually reduces its estrogen production. Normally this occurs four to five years before you have your menopause, generally during your late 30s or 40s.
During this period, your estrogen levels go up and forth sporadically, which causes you to experience irregular periods. Perimenopause occurs and progresses differently for each woman. Some women might seek medical attention when perimenopause sets in. But for some, because perimenopause arrives so subtly and gradually, they don’t even notice that they’re in perimenopause already.
Signs that you're in perimenopause
Perimenopause is associated with a lot of symptoms. According to Laurie Tarkan of Prevention.com, you might experience a wide range of symptoms, from “depression and anxiety, rage, embarrassingly heavy periods” to “hot flashes, insomnia, exhaustion, tip-of-the-tongue forgetfulness and migraines.”
Wow, that’s a long list. However, here’s how you can deduce that you’re in perimenopause, long list of symptoms aside. You only have to look out for its six most common symptoms, which are:
And/or low libido
You should expect that these symptoms will intensify as your menopause draws closer.
How do you know if your menopause is close?
It’s when three months pass by and you haven’t had your period. When it stretches to twelve months (and you’re not on birth control that is known to mess with your period) and you still haven’t gotten your period, it’s official: you are now menopausal.
What to do if you're in perimenopause
Perimenopause should not be a cause for worry as it’s a normal biological process every woman goes through. However, there are several things you can do to alleviate its symptoms.
Good diet and healthy lifestyle is a huge factor in helping you course through perimenopause like a breeze. Reduce your calories, consume more calcium, and eat less fat. Most importantly, give priority to consuming calcium when you’re going through perimenopause. Because of your fluctuating hormones, your body loses muscle mass and bone which then contributes to osteoporosis.
Commit to maintaining or losing weight if possible by exercising at least 30 minutes a day. You should also practice stress-releasing activities, like breathing exercises and yoga. Stress is a huge trigger for hot flashes and mood swings. Also opt to reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake.
For those using birth control, doctors suggest that you continue to use birth control during perimenopause and about 12 months after menopause arrives.
In rare cases, you might experience some symptoms that require urgent medical attention. If you experience these symptoms, please consult with your OB-Gyn as soon as possible:
Extreme heavy bleeding such as changing tampons or pads every hour or two
Periods that occur less than 21 days apart
Bleeding between periods
Bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
Furthermore, before proceeding with any treatment or supplement, consult with your physician first. The information contained here is not to be seen as medical advice. You should seek the medical advice of a licensed physician if you think you might be perimenopausal. We hope this information will help to make your perimenopause go smoothly.