Perimenopause. Have you heard of it?
Chances are you have, but if you haven’t, you certainly aren’t alone. Just as with so many women’s health issues, there is a lot of mystery surrounding perimenopause. This article will outline what it is and how to tell if you are experiencing it.
Perimenopause is the term used to describe the stage before menopause when the body begins to slow its production of oestrogen and the balance of hormones changes. This causes the ovaries to slow (and eventually stop) production of eggs.
When Does Perimenopause Happen?
Just as the menopause can happen at different times for different women, so can perimenopause. Genetics do play a role in perimenopause and it can start from your mid 30s. It can last between three and 10 years, with an average length of four years.
If you experience a persistent change of seven days or more in the length of your menstual cycle you may be in early perimenopause.
What Are The Symptoms of Perimenopause?
- Irregular periods
- Missed periods
- Heavier or lighter periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Sleep problems
- Frequent urination
- Changes in mood
- Sudden weight gain
- Joint aches and pains
When you experience 12 consecutive months with no period, you are considered to be in menopause.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Symptoms?
You can visit your GP for confirmation but the chances are if you are in your 40s you will probably be somewhere along your perimenopausal journey.
Perimenopause affects your body in many ways. Changing hormone balances can impact many of the body’s systems such as blood sugar balance or the thyroid.
Seeking professional advice for how to best manage your symptoms and carry on feeling fantastic will help you manage the changes and take control of your body.
Please do bear in mind that some irregularties may not be caused by perimenopause and you should see your doctor. These include very heavy periods or blood clots, periods lasting upwards of seven days longer than usual, spotting or bleeding in between periods after sex.