How To Tell If You Are In Perimenopause – For many women, perimenopausal symptoms are hot, severe, and come on suddenly. One day you can drink wine, sleep well and have a regular cycle, and the next day you’ll be moody, have hot flashes and not be able to sleep at night.
Although misunderstood and discussed enough, just like puberty, perimenopause is a transitional period in which every woman’s ovaries begin to form.
How To Tell If You Are In Perimenopause
And despite what most women have heard from professionals, perimenopause doesn’t have to be a scary, depressing period you just have to get through. There really is no shame and there are some amazing natural perimenopause remedies that will support your body and help you manage your symptoms. Let’s do this!
Resources — Talking Menopause
Perimenopause is a transitional period in which a woman’s cycle becomes irregular as menopause (end of menstruation) approaches. Catalyst for this? Decreased ovarian reserve.
Women are born with a certain number of eggs, and as you get older, the number of remaining eggs, also known as your ovarian reserve, decreases. When the ovarian reserve decreases, ovulation ceases to be regular and the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. If you have not had your period for more than 12 months, you are officially in menopause.
The most frustrating thing for women? Premenopause doesn’t happen overnight. This is the wind of your reproductive years, just as puberty is the peak of your reproductive years. Perimenopause can last for months or even years (yes, years), and symptoms can come and go.
During perimenopause, cycles may be unusually long or short, or periods may be missed for several months. As you ovulate irregularly, your progesterone levels drop. FSH and testosterone are also reduced. But the real reason for feeling messy? Estrogen is a bit of a roller coaster: sometimes it goes up and then it goes down again. When estrogen is high, you’ll have PMS-like symptoms, and when it’s low, you’re more likely to experience hot flashes or vaginal dryness.
Surviving Perimenopause: ‘i Was Overwhelmed And Full Of Rage. Why Was I So Badly Prepared?’
Ah, the magic question. Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to this question. The age at which perimenopause begins depends on several factors, including your genetics, use of birth control, number of pregnancies and even your level of physical activity. Most women go through perimenopause in their mid to late forties. On average, perimenopause lasts about four and a half years, but it may take up to 10 years before you officially reach menopause, when you have not had a period for more than 12 months.
Some research has shown that certain factors can contribute to an earlier perimenopause, including smoking and even lifetime sunlight exposure. This is important because early menopause is associated with cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, stroke and all-cause death.
There is no single sign that you are in perimenopause. The best indicator is when you start noticing symptoms.
If you’re under 40 and have started experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, don’t think you’re just starting out. Chronic stress that causes high cortisol levels (and other hormone imbalances) can mimic perimenopausal symptoms. If this sounds like you, consider hiring a trusted medical organization to get your hormone levels tested and start balancing your hormones naturally.
Let’s Talk About: Menopause, Anxiety And Mental Health
Irregular loop. Menstruation may be heavier or lighter than usual, cycles may be longer or shorter, and you may skip months of your cycle at the same time. This is a concern during your reproductive years, but is normal during perimenopause.
Gaining weight. The average weight gain is around 8 to 15 pounds, and many women find that this happens even with no change in diet and exercise. Other women have found that perimenopause makes them less able to respond to (or recover from) exercise.
Hot flashes and night sweats. Fluctuations in hormones (mainly estrogen) are responsible for large changes in temperature that can lead to a drenched wake or fall by noon. Studies show that nearly all women experience it, but the severity varies.
Sleeping disorders. This is a double-edged sword, as perimenopause not only makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, but many women find that their ability to function while asleep is also impaired. If you’re sleeping less than 8 hours, perimenopause may be time for that to change!
Perimenopause: What You Need To Know If You’re In Your 30s (or Beyond)
Vaginal dryness. Along with physical changes such as increased dryness, some women also experience a decrease in libido (perhaps due to low testosterone levels).
Mood changes. An increased incidence of depression and anxiety has been reported during perimenopause, even in women who have not experienced them before. Irritability also often increases.
While the symptoms of perimenopause may seem random, overwhelming, and out of control, there are many things you can do to prepare before perimenopause and natural perimenopause remedies to ease the transition.
The best thing you can do to prepare for perimenopause? Before this happens, take care of your health.
What Is Perimenopause?
This means that by doing everything we know, you can support your body’s physiological processes, including proper hormone production, digestion and metabolism. Basically, if you reduce inflammation in your 30s, balance your hormones, and support your body’s detoxification processes (so you can secrete your hormones properly), your body will be able to handle hormonal changes much better when perimenopause arrives.
These include an anti-inflammatory, whole-food diet, regular movement and exercise, good sleep, stress management, regular sun exposure, and a good community and support system.
If you have irregular cycles in your 20s or 30s, the best thing you can do is work with your doctor to make sure your hormones are healthy and regulate your cycle. Here are some resources to start regulating your cycle and hormones right away:
I also highly recommend cycle synchronization, which can help support proper hormone function during the reproductive years. Check out my in-depth articles on Food Cycle Sync and Fitness Cycle Sync.
Perimenopause: What You Need To Know
Finally, testing your hormone levels while you are fertile can give you a baseline for when you will enter perimenopause. All women naturally have different levels of healthy hormones, so it’s important to get a baseline reading to know what’s going on with the perimenopause repeat test. This is especially important if you want to consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in perimenopause. Before perimenopause, you need to know what your hormone levels are.
The Dutch test is the gold standard for accurate hormone testing. For details on the Holland test, check out my podcast: Everything You Need to Know About Perimenopause and After 40 by Dr. Carrie Jones.
If you’ve been tracking your cycle for years, perimenopause can drive you crazy: Your normal patterns will be weird and you may not be able to see any patterns. It’s fun to keep watching, but don’t tire yourself wondering what each little flash means. It’s time to go as far as possible with the new flow.
Sleep is more important and more difficult than ever before during menopause. Do whatever it takes for the zzzzzz’s except earplugs, a face mask, and getting the dog out of bed! It’s also important to stay calm: replace alcohol and caffeine with calming chamomile tea and wear blue light-blocking glasses after sunset to stimulate melatonin production. Melatonin production is critical for maintaining your circadian rhythm.
At Home Perimenopause Test
Your hormones are already changing, you don’t want to add extra cortisol to the mix. Chronic cortisol production, a physiological response to stress, affects ALL other hormones in your body, including thyroid and sex hormones. Look at every aspect of your life and seriously consider where you can reduce and reduce stress: Are you overly committed to work? Do you juggle too much at home? Overdoing it at the gym? Ask for help! Learn more about reducing stress and cortisol in The Adrenal Fatigue Myth: What Really Happens and How to Treat it.
“Mother needs her wine” is everyday culture, but the truth is alcohol isn’t your friend in perimenopause. The liver and kidneys are already taxed with detoxifying hormones, and this also disrupts sleep. Also, research has shown that night sweats and hot flashes may worsen in some women. Eliminating alcohol will help balance your hormones by removing used hormones from your system.
Continuing to eat healthy and exercise is great. Worry about every pound you’ve gained? It won’t do you any good just because it raises your cortisol levels, making it harder to lose weight. It’s normal to gain a few pounds, in part because fat cells produce estrogen and your body tries to make sure you’re getting enough estrogen after menopause. This is another time to remember that body and weight changes are a normal part of life. Your body is changing and that’s okay.
Decreased testosterone and general stress associated with perimenopause can impair tolerance or recovery to cardio exercise. Cardio or steady-state exercise is also associated with higher cortisol levels. Instead, switch to lighter exercises like walking or swimming. Weight lifting
Cooling Products For Menopause & Perimenopause
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