We discuss the 13 perimenopause symptoms that announce the arrival of this chapter in your life. Are you suffering premature menopause?
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have a persistent change of seven days or more in the length of your menstrual cycle, you may be in early perimenopause. If you have a space of 60 days or more between periods, you’re likely in late perimenopause.
Perimenopause symptoms #1: Hot Flashes
You just turned 43 and it is now a year since those unexpected, creep up on you in the middle of the night sweats started to disrupt your life. When they began, you thought it was just a glass of wine that didn’t quite agree with you.
But then it happened after eating spicy foods, drinking a glass of chardonnay, nibbling on a couple of pieces of dark chocolate and now it seems that you are suffering every night.
And it sometimes even in the middle of an important meeting at work pouring beads of sweat down the inside of your shirt! Now to perimenopause symptom #2.
And in addition to the sweats, you are feeling a lot more anxious about life and your family than you ever have before. The morning cup of coffee now seems to leave you with heart palpitations.
What the heck?
You feel like you have been betrayed by your own body. You never had hormone issues before. Periods would come every 28 days. You didn’t even suffer with the proverbial PMS. But now?
Belly fat and bloat
Even that figure hugging black dress is bulging around the waist – you have belly fat where you never had it before and then you realize that you feel belly bloat that worsens as the day goes on. Your kid even asked you if you are expecting another baby! Yikes!
Irregular, crampy and heavy periods
Periods are still showing up, although they aren’t what you’re used to. They are irregular, crampy with extremely heavy bleeding.
What’s going on?
Well, these symptoms are collectively known as perimenopause, aka the change before “the change”.
It is the 5-10 year period before you reach menopause.
It’s marked by a steady slow drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. It is also marked by irregular ovulation, hence the irregular periods.
Menopause itself is determined by no periods for 12 months or more. And comes on average at age 51 years old.
So you certainly don’t understand these symptoms at 43! Heck!
You think you should be in the prime of your life but right now, you feel like your body is an unwelcome enemy.
Will every woman suffer with the same symptoms?
No, not every woman will suffer all these symptoms. In fact, you can actually sail through this time of life and not really suffer any of them. I was a lucky woman who passed through perimenopause with none of these symptoms. I am grateful because I was taking care of a brand new bundle of joy!
On the flip side, these changes in your hormone levels can also cause a sudden spike in hormones resulting in a “surprise” baby. I am blessed to have birthed a child in my mid-forties so I can attest to the joy that this period of life can deliver!Clare Kelway
Fluctuating hormones doesn’t just relate to progesterone and estrogen. Testosterone, progesterone, thyroid hormones, cortisol, DHEA, insulin and leptin are also changing. Hormones are the switches to every cell in your body, so these changes can really dismantle your body’s ability to function properly.
Other perimenopause symptoms
And besides the symptoms already discussed, the litany of perimenopause symptoms may also include:
- brain fog
- lethal mood swings
- handfuls of hair lining the shower drain
- poor sleep
- zero interest in sex
- painful vaginal dryness
- migraine headaches
- blood sugar issues
- dry skin or acne that suddenly appears (thanks – wrinkles and acne together are such fun!)
How many of these boxes did you check off? Several, I am sure! It is no wonder that you feel insecure, helpless and frustrated by what is happening deep inside your cells.
What actions to take about your symptoms?
Firstly, ignoring the symptoms will not take them away. Acknowledge the situation. Write down all your symptoms. Be brutally honest with yourself.
Ignoring these symptoms is likely to make your stress worse because you will be driven by anxiety to comfort eat and when we comfort eat, we usually eat sugary, processed foods making your symptoms even worse.
Consider the stress that you may be under besides all these changing physical symptoms. Are you taking care of teenage kids, eldery parents and fighting hard at work for that next rung on the career ladder you have always dreamed about?
Like anything in life, doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results is the ultimate definition of insanity.
If you have questions, then reach out to us via email or schedule a FREE discovery call with a member of our team and we can guide you on your own unique situation.
Perimenopause is a normal process of life. Many women’s experiences mirror those of their mothers. So you may want to ask her if she is around to ask. Use this time in your life to refocus on your health, yourself and your goals.
Through our women’s functional medicine practice, we honor and celebrate every woman’s journey. We help you balance your hormones, improve your gut health and optimize your detoxification pathways to make your perimenopause symptoms lessen or even go away.
What symptoms are you suffering from?