What is Perimenopause?
When we talk about ‘the menopause’, what we usually mean is perimenopause. In literal terms it means ‘period around the menopause’. When it starts, how long it lasts, and which symptoms you are likely to experience varies greatly from person to person. In this post we aim to explain the most common symptoms and basic facts around perimenopause, and help you find ways to stay feeling good as you transition through perimenopause.
Signs of Perimeniopause
Age is not always indicative of perimenopause, some women begin to experience symptoms in their thirties, but for the majority of us symptoms begin showing up between the ages of 40-45, and reach menopause aged 50-54. When 12 months have passed without a menstrual period you have officially reached menopause.
While these symptoms of perimenopause are not the most fun thing to read about, it is helpful to know the signs in order to deal with them most effectively, especially if you suspect that you may already be perimenopausal.
Common early signs of perimenopause:
Concentration issues, memory lag and forgetfulness - You may find it less easy to concentrate on the task at hand, find your mind wandering more often, or have trouble recalling information.
Mood changes - During perimenopause you may find your mood changes and tolerance can decrease. You may get irritable more quickly, experience waves of anxiety, or suddenly need a really good cry.
Changes in libido - During perimenopause many women become less ‘in the mood’ as oestrogen production decreases, however some experience a hefty increase related to testosterone production.
Heart palpitations - It is not uncommon for heart palpitations to emerge as an early sign of perimenopause. This is a symptom best checked by a doctor in case there is something else going on.
Irregular periods - Ovulation may become less regular, and you may not always ovulate. Periods may become lighter or heavier, and PMS and discomfort may worsen.
Hot flashes - Hot flashes can come on suddenly at any time, causing body temperature to increase. Sweating and redness in the face and upper chest are symptomatic of hot flashes associated with perimenopause.
Issues sleeping - You may find you find it less easy to get to sleep, or to stay asleep. Sleep may also be punctuated by the aforementioned hot flashes, reducing time asleep.
Other potential signs of perimenopause:
Hair thinning and hair loss - While not one of the most common early signs, hair loss suffered during perimenopause and during menopause is one of the most visible and for some, one of the most upsetting. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.
Bladder issues - Some women suffer from diminished bladder control during perimenopause, thanks to hormonal changes which can increase the need to urinate, and less bladder control when coughing or sneezing. Perimenopause is also linked to an increase in urinary tract infections.
Fatigue and tiredness - Women experiencing perimenopause may tire more easily and suffer regular fatigue for spans of time
Decreased bone density - During menopause is it common for women to be at higher risk of osteoporosis, the thinning of the bone as it becomes more porous. It is not uncommon for perimenopausal women to begin experiencing this condition too.
Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex - Hormonal changes and the reduction in oestrogen in the body can lead to vaginal dryness and pain or discomfort during sex due to thinning of the vaginal tissue or atrophy. It may also numb feeling in sensitive areas, adding to the decreased libido symptom noted earlier.Cholesterol changes - A reduction in oestrogen production is linked in an increase in the bad kind of cholesterol (LDL) and an decrease in the good kind (HDL) which can contribute to other health issues if it goes unchecked.
Perimenopausal Hair Loss
For many women, one of the most visible and upsetting symptoms of perimenopause is hair thinning and hair loss.
Oestrogen is an important part of helping your hair grow, so when oestrogen production slows down, it can have a negative effect on your hair cycle.
For many this symptom begins to show at around 50 years of age, but it can happen much earlier.
Learn how to manage hormonal hair loss and supplement your hair and scalp to create the best environment to recover strong and healthy hair with our Biotin Hair Care Plan.
The Science: Perimenopause Explained
Perimenopause is the precursor to menopause, when the ovaries stop producing eggs. Signs of perimenopause begin to show as oestrogen and progesterone production decreases in the body. These hormones are intrinsic to many other functions within the body, the symptoms of which you will start to see during perimenopause are triggered by this hormone imbalance. Usually this is a natural process, but it can be triggered by certain medical conditions and ovarian surgical procedures.
During perimenopause you may experience none, some, or many of these symptoms. You may experience them in your 30s or 40s, and maybe for around four years, maybe for ten years. Everyone is different and there is no clear way to predict how or when you will be affected.
What Can I Do to Ease Symptoms of Perimenopause?
It may sound obvious but the ways to counter many of the negative effects of perimenopause are the same as to lead a healthy lifestyle:
- Eat healthily
- Exercise regularly
- Drink less alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Try to build a regular sleeping pattern
- Getting support from family, friends and colleagues.
Feeling Supported At Work During Menopause
The first signs of perimenopause can impact women differently and can cause a huge impact on their day to day lives. Many women often report poor concentration, memory, tiredness and fatigue among other symptoms during the menopause which can naturally make performing at work much harder.
During this time it's important to have support from not just family and friends, but also colleagues or line managers at work to make you feel as comfortable and as supported in the workplace as possible. Whether that's confiding in a colleague, or talking to your line manager to explain the difficulties your facing will give them the opportunity to provide support and make you feel more comfortable.
What Treatment Can I get for Perimenopausal Symptoms?
If your perimenopausal symptoms aren’t too bad you may not need any support from your doctor or from a health professional. If you want to minimise your risk of perimenopausal symptoms, or are suffering with perimenopause and need some support, there is plenty of help out there to treat the symptoms naturally.
- For hair thinning and hair loss - Consider healthy hair and scalp supplements for perimenopause such as our Ginkgo Biloba B+, expertly formulated to encourage healthy hair regrowth caused by menopause along with improve cognitive function, energy levels and relieve stress.
- For osteroporosis and bone health - Consider supplements related to healthy bones, for example calcium and vitamin D
- For hormone levels - Investigate your options for balancing hormones without hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Simone Thomas is a leading hair loss consultant, a qualified trichologist and a bio-energetics practitioner specialising in hair loss, hair thinning, and overall health & wellness. Simone has built an enviable reputation through her multi-award-winning supplements to help manage and alleviate symptoms women may be experiencing due to perimenopause.
Find out more about Hormonal Hair Loss: How We Can Help.
For more information on perimenopause, download our FREE e-book ‘Natural Ways to Look After Your Lady Garden’ to understand more about women's health and how we can take care of our bodies during this stage of our life. Simone Thomas shares insights and advice on various women's health issues and common hormonal changes we may expect during perimenopause & menopause. With natural ways we can best look after our lady garden to achieve a healthier, happier quality of life.
In this e-book you will find information on:
- The different types of women's health issues explained
- What to do when symptoms of perimenopause occur
- How can we best look after our bodies during menopause
- Natural and easy ways to address and improve these conditions throughout menopause as recommended by Simone Thomas, nutrition advisor and bioenergetic practitioner.