Perimenopause means the time “around” menopause, but it is used to describe the start of a decline in estrogen levels that lead to menopause and the time that women begin to notice menopausal symptoms.
As this can occur to some women as early as their 30s, it may lead them to wonder if they are literally “going mad.”
For most women, at least some symptoms begin by the mid-40s. At any age the sudden onset of perimenopause can be rather alarming.
If you’ve been experiencing some of these subtle and not so subtle changes in your body, it may be perimenopause.
If you’ve experienced fairly regular periods in the past but are now finding that the time between periods is longer or shorter, the flow is lighter or heavier – or if you’re skipping periods, you may be in early perimenopause. If you go longer than 60 days without a period, it’s probably late perimenopause.
Many women experience hot flashes during perimenopause which is often the first sign of waning estrogen levels; hot flashes often occur along with changes in the menstrual cycle.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or occasionally waking up with night sweats, it’s another common sign of perimenopause. Some women tend to wake up at exactly the same time every morning or wake up very early and can’t fall back to sleep.
Becoming Moody and Irritable
You may notice that you’re becoming more irritable and your moods may be unpredictable. Often you’ll feel as if you’re experiencing PMS, but it won’t be at the usual time of month. These mood changes can be caused by a lack of sleep, hot flashes or hormonal changes.
Vaginal Symptoms or Urinary Tract Infections
Due to the loss of some natural lubrication that estrogen and progesterone provide, you may experience painful sex or become more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
Sexual arousal and desire may change but for most women who’ve enjoyed a good sex life and intimacy before menopause, this will continue for many years to come.
Easing Symptoms Naturally
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, there are a number of ways to naturally ease or eliminate them altogether.
Limit or avoid the use of alcohol. Alcohol can cause hot flashes and night sweats to increase, especially after drinking later in the evening.
Sleep in a cool environment. If possible, keep your bedroom cooled to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Your feet and head should be kept uncovered and exposed to as much cool air as possible.
Exercise. Getting 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 times per week is one of the best prescriptions you can follow.
A healthy diet. A nutritious diet is always important, but even more so now. Foods that provide sufficient amounts of essential nutrients will help to relieve mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, tissue dryness and water-retention.
Supplements and herbs. Flaxseed oil is high in lignans and serves as a natural hormone-balancing substance. It is known to be as effective as hormone replacement therapy for lessening hot flashes and sweating and can also fight depression and fatigue.
Taking evening primrose oil can help relieve breast tenderness, mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches and water retention.
Maca root, preferably in a powder or extract form, has been known to reduce menopausal symptoms by balancing the body’s fluctuating chemistry by prompting the adrenal glands to stabilize diminishing hormones from the thyroid and pancreas.
-The Alternative Daily