- Perimenopause is a change in hormonal functions leading up to menopause. It is a "wake-up call" for your body! Dr. Northrup, explains that many perimenopausal women describe it as "Having our foot on the gas and not enough on the brake."
- The symptoms of pre-menopause , or perimenopause as it’s called, begin years before your period ends.
- Some women experience no symptoms at all.
- Perimenopause is a process similar to puberty: it doesn’t happen overnight. As menopause approaches, women gradually go through changes physically, emotionally and spiritually. For many women, perimenopause can last anywhere from five to fifteen years.
- Perimenopause occurs typically around age forty, but it’s normal to begin in your thirties when your menstrual cycle is normal.
- The onset of perimenopause doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. Women who do not want to get pregnant should use a form of birth control for one full year after their final period.
- Menopause is officially defined as that point in time when your periods stop permanently.
- Even though your periods may have stopped occurring regularly, you are not completely done menstruating until one full year has passed from your last menstrual period.
- The average age of women whose menstrual periods have completely stopped is 52.
- Remember: many of the symptoms can also be related to serious health conditions, so it’s always best to consult your doctor.
- Heart palpitations
- Migraine headaches
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Aching and sore joints
- Increase in allergies
- Cold hands and feet
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Itchy, "crawly" skin
- Change in libido
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Irregular or erratic periods
- Vaginal dryness and/or painful intercourse
- Urinary symptoms
- Skin problems
- Bone loss
- What can you do at home?
Healthy lifestyle choices can help to promote good health as well as alleviate menopausal symptoms. Be sure to adopt a low-fat, high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Adding calcium-rich foods helps, and since alcohol and caffeine can trigger night flashes, avoiding them altogether can bring some relief.
Regular exercise can help control weight gain and provides an added bonus of putting you in a better mood! But don’t stop at 30 minutes of exercise a day—be sure to practice regular meditation or stress-reducing activities such as yoga to help you relax.