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5 Minute ReadEducation by Jess Lacey
To some, perimenopause might appear like it’s come out of nowhere because we weren’t all talking about it ten, even five years ago. But far from a new-fangled concept, perimenopause is simply a better distinction of the very first stage of menopause and something we need spread the word on.
Biologically speaking, perimenopause is when oestrogen production in the ovaries begins to slow, while menopause sees the ovaries ceasing to release eggs completely. So perimenopause is that initial transition stage of the hormones gently winding down and rebalancing... It is absolutely not something to freak out about but it is something that needs to be identified and supported.
Just like when you started your period, perimenopause has a lot to do with genetics. It also depends on your ethnicity, your lifestyle habits and whether you’ve had children. But one certainty is that perimenopause begins way before even a teenager could class you as over the hill, (to your face at least); the average age for a woman to start perimenopause in the UK is 40-44 and consequently the average age those women will reach menopause is 51. Therefore it could well make up a decade of your life. Think about it, your body hasn’t gone through this big a stage since puberty and for most of us, that was hellish. Hence the big deal and the much needed amplification of the perimenopause conversation.
There’s the rub because it’s not easy to decipher if you’re on that journey, merely from how you’re feeling. When is it just a string of bad days and when is it the beginnings of perimenopause? Perimenopause emerges at a time when you’ve got a lot going on, like a fast-paced career, demanding family life and thriving social circle and seeing as the symptoms of perimenopause are so extensive, fluctuating, and open to interpretation, it’s not easy to diagnose yourself.
But rather than feeling overwhelmed, start to become familiar with the most common signs of perimenopause taking residence and feel confident in what that might look like for you.
Changes in menstruation
Often the first sign of perimenopause starting is a change in your cycle. Before oestrogen begins its gradual depletion efforts, the first hormone that starts to dip is in fact, progesterone and when this happens, menstrual periods become noticeably heavier. Also, what was once a trusty 28-day cycle may become spotting every 10 days, a much-elongated flow or completely different from one month to the next.
Poor sleep is a firm indicator that you’re perimenopausal. A continuous change in sleep habits like trouble getting off to sleep, regular night time waking and feeling exhausted upon waking could be the biggest sign. Perimenopausal night sweats are often in the mix too. Sleeping with the windows open, getting the room down to an optimal eighteen degrees and wearing natural cotton fabrics in bed all help to lessen the issue.
The most recognisable of all menopause symptoms, hot flushes can start years earlier in the transitional stage of perimenopause. It’s a distinct feeling of heat creeping through your body, climbing upwards, but it will pass and the best thing to do is to take a moment, stay calm and cool down.
Walking into a room and forgetting what on earth you went in for isn’t exclusively reserved for perimenopause but that unnerving feeling of being off your A-game is a red flag. Many women describe a ‘loss of self’ which might sound a tad abstract as a symptom but look out for repeated lack of confidence and the inability to make simple decisions, like which salad to have for lunch or even which bra to put on in the morning.
Erratic mood swings
Not just mammoth meltdowns or your own personal brand of PMS but often an ongoing background sadness or low-level anxiety. Your GP might suspect thyroid issues or depression but the misdiagnosis of perimenopause symptoms is something that spreading awareness will lessen.
Inexplicable joint pain
Unrelated to that over optimistic run yesterday or that punishing CrossFit session you dragged yourself to, joint pain in the hips and knees can be down to hormonal changes and dwindling oestrogen stock. Stretch, change your workouts and allow ample rest days.
A yes / no sex drive
Not wanting it one day, then being super keen the next is a very common side effect of being perimenopausal. Sometimes it’ll feel amazing and others it’s the last thing you want. Communicating clearly with your partner and explaining it’s down to a hormonal shift will help manage their expectations and take the pressure off you both.
Important ways to support your body and mind through perimenopause.
Experts commonly refer to the 34 symptoms of perimenopause which seems like too many to keep track of, let alone treat. Therefore, the best treatment for perimenopause is arguably one that treats all of them at once. The LYMA Supplement does just that; one gold standard health supplement medically supported to optimise the body and mind. Though not limited to being a natural supplement for perimenopause alone, every one of the ten powerful plant-based ingredients addresses a symptom of perimenopause. Creating a more restful state for sleep, bringing down inflammation throughout the body, increasing neural connection for a clearer mind and even containing a defence protein for muscle repair; this is why LYMA is widely acknowledged to be the best perimenopause supplement for 2022. Taking LYMA before or as perimenopause begins will manage those hormonal changes and equip you for the journey ahead.
Note down shifting patterns in sleep or track it on your wearable tech. Ask someone you trust to be aware of your behaviour, mood swings and anything out of character. Then let them be honest, this is not a character assassination.
Balance your hormones through a diet of oestrogen-supporting foods, such as dark leafy greens, wild fish, grains, legumes, fresh and dried fruits and eggs.
If after consideration, you think you are perimenopausal, book an appointment with your GP or women’s health specialist. Write notes about how you feel and take them with you. Taking a friend to appointments is also a smart idea because they can explain on your behalf should the brain fog and anxiety kick in.
Read about the women who’ve gone through perimenopause and menopause and what LYMA did for them.