What is Perimenopause?Oct 21, 2022
Perimenopause (peri, Greek for “around” or “near” + menopause) is a prolonged transition state leading to menopause, lasting an average of 3-4 years. However, it can last only a few months or up to 10 years.
As your ovarian function deteriorates, you begin to produce less estrogen and your menstrual cycle becomes irregular. While your estrogen and other hormones are shifting gears, you may experience ‘menopausal symptoms’.
You may have a rollercoaster of emotions and symptoms or you may be fortunate enough to only experience mild symptoms.
The Perimenopause phase ends one year after the last menstrual period. You are then only said to be in Menopause, which is only one day and is the 1-year marker of your last menstrual period. After this, you are in the Postmenopause phase.
More than a Hot Flush
Perimenopause usually begins in your 40s, but some women start to notice signs of change as early as their mid-30s.
Tracking your cycles (frequency, flow, duration, symptoms, emotional and mental state) will empower you to know your body better and understand why you are experiencing certain things. You are then able to make informed decisions and find balance and flow for yourself.
Here are some of the menstrual cycle changes that may indicate you’re entering Perimenopause:
- Irregular period
- Heavy bleeding
- Dark blood
- Short/long cycles
- Missed cycles
Note: irregular periods might have other underlying causes. Make sure you speak with your healthcare professional and have regular check-ups to be completely sure what the cause is.
Other symptoms of Perimenopause:
- worse premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before periods
- breast tenderness
- weight gain
- hair changes (thinning)
- itchy skin
- dry eyes/mouth/vagina/skin
- heart palpitations
- loss of sex drive
- concentration difficulties
- muscle aches
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- fertility issues in women who are trying to conceive
This list does sound scary and there is a stigma around Peri/Menopause, but ultimately we have a choice in how we live this phase.
Your Mindset Matters
Perimenopause is celebrated in many cultures like in the Chinese culture.
Chinese women have a positive view of ageing which is seen as a sign of maturity and wisdom. Interestingly enough, women in China are less likely to experience menopausal symptoms! A true testament to the importance of mindset.
In my next blog, I will share how you can take an empowered approach to the Perimenopause phase.
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