Perimenopause, also known as menopause transition, is a stage in a woman’s life that marks the gradual decrease in estrogen levels and leads to the end of menstrual periods. While it’s a natural and inevitable process, perimenopause can come with various symptoms that can impact a woman’s quality of life. The good news is that many of these symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes, medication, and alternative therapies.
In this article, we’ll discuss common symptoms of perimenopause and how to manage them. We’ll also delve into the best perimenopause supplements to help alleviate the symptoms.
What is Perimenopause, and Why Does It Happen?
Perimenopause is the period leading up to menopause when a woman’s body undergoes various hormonal changes. It usually starts in the late 30s or early 40s and can last up to 10 years, with the average duration being four years. During perimenopause, estrogen levels fluctuate, causing various symptoms that vary in intensity and duration from woman to woman.
One of the primary causes of perimenopause is the aging process, which results in a decline in the number of follicles in a woman’s ovaries. Other factors contributing to perimenopause include genetics, certain medical conditions, and lifestyle habits.
Common Symptoms of Perimenopause
The symptoms of perimenopause can vary widely from woman to woman, but some of the most common ones include the following:
Changes in the Menstrual Cycle
Irregular periods: The menstrual cycle may become unstable, with periods coming closer together or further apart than usual. This can make predicting when a period will occur challenging, causing inconvenience and unpredictability. Some women may experience more extended periods than expected, while others may experience shorter ones.
Heavy or light bleeding: Periods may be heavier or lighter than usual, and spotting between periods may occur. Heavy bleeding can lead to anemia, causing fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. Lighter bleeding can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, and spotting between periods can be an indication of other medical conditions.
Shorter or longer menstrual cycles: Menstrual cycles may be shorter or longer than usual, affecting fertility and making it difficult to conceive. A shorter menstrual cycle can also cause more frequent periods, which can be inconvenient.
Hot flashes and night sweats: These sudden and intense feelings of warmth and sweating can happen at any time, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Hot flashes can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, and they may occur several times a day or just occasionally. Night sweats can lead to sleep disturbances and insomnia, affecting a woman’s quality of life.
Cold flashes and chills: These sensations of cold can follow hot flashes. They can be just as intense, causing shivering and discomfort. Cold flashes can occur during the day or night and affect sleep quality.
Changes in Mood and Mental Health
Anxiety: Feelings of worry, nervousness, and unease can be prevalent during perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to anxiety, affecting a woman’s day-to-day life and productivity.
Depression: Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of motivation can be shared during perimenopause. Hormonal changes can cause a drop in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, leading to depression.
Mood swings: Quick mood changes, from happy to sad or angry, for no apparent reason, can be disruptive and confusing for women during perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to mood swings, affecting relationships and social interactions.
Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep can be a common problem during perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations can cause night sweats, making it challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Insomnia can lead to fatigue, irritability, and other health problems.
Difficulty falling or staying asleep: Waking up too early or feeling tired upon waking up can indicate sleep disturbances during perimenopause. Hormonal changes can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, making it challenging to get a good night’s sleep.
Changes in Sexual Function
Vaginal dryness and discomfort: Reduced lubrication in the vagina can cause discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse, leading to a decreased interest in sex. Hormonal changes can cause a decline in estrogen levels, leading to vaginal dryness and discomfort.
Decreased libido: A reduction in sexual desire can be a common symptom during perimenopause. Hormonal changes can affect libido, leading to a decrease in sexual interest and activity.
Changes in Skin and Hair
Dry skin: Skin may become drier and itchier than usual during perimenopause. Hormonal changes can cause a decline in collagen production, leading to wrinkles and dryness.
Thinning hair: Hair may become thinner or fall out during perimenopause. Hormonal changes can affect hair growth, leading to hair thinning, hair loss, or changes in hair texture.
Stress incontinence: A loss of bladder control that can lead to leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, or laughing can be prevalent during perimenopause. Hormonal changes can weaken the muscles that control the bladder, leading to stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence: An urgent need to urinate, leading to involuntary leakage, can also be a symptom of perimenopause. Hormonal changes can cause the bladder muscles to contract more frequently, leading to urge incontinence.
Increased weight can be a common symptom during perimenopause, particularly around the midsection. Hormonal changes can affect metabolism, leading to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen.
Perimenopause can be challenging and disruptive for many women, with a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. Women need medical advice and support to manage these symptoms and maintain their health and well-being.
Factors That Can Influence Perimenopause Symptoms
Various factors can influence the severity and duration of perimenopause symptoms, including:
Age and Genetics
Women undergoing perimenopause at an earlier age may experience more severe symptoms. Genetics can also play a role in the onset of perimenopause.
Certain lifestyle habits, such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, can exacerbate perimenopause symptoms. Stress can also worsen symptoms.
Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can impact hormone levels and contribute to perimenopause symptoms.
Some medications, such as hormonal birth control and antidepressants, can impact hormone levels and worsen perimenopause symptoms.
Women who have had their ovaries removed or undergone radiation or chemotherapy for cancer may experience more severe symptoms of perimenopause.
Managing Perimenopause Symptoms
While perimenopause symptoms can be frustrating, there are several ways to manage them. Here are some tips:
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve mood.
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, which can trigger hot flashes and worsen other symptoms
- Practicing stress-reducing techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises
- Getting enough sleep
- Hormone therapy can help balance estrogen levels and alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms. However, hormone therapy is not suitable for everyone and may have some risks, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you.
- Antidepressants: Certain antidepressants can help alleviate hot flashes and other symptoms.
- Vaginal estrogen can help alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to alleviate symptoms.
- Herbal supplements: Some supplements, such as black cohosh and red clover, may help alleviate perimenopause symptoms. However, talking to your doctor before you try any supplements is essential.
Perimenopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life that can bring a range of symptoms, but there are ways to manage them effectively. Whether through lifestyle changes, medication, or alternative therapies, it’s essential to find what works best for you with the guidance of your doctor.
At Neuaura, we understand the challenges that perimenopause can present and are dedicated to supporting women during this transition. We offer daily menopause supplements designed to help manage various symptoms.
To learn more about our supplement and other resources to help you confidently navigate perimenopause. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone – let Neuaura help you feel your best every day.