Perimenopause (Premenopause, Pilmenopause) is a healthy, natural transition between reproductive function and menopause, or 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. Perimenopause can begin anywhere between your mid-30s and 50s, but the average age is 47 years, and menopause occurs at an average age of 52 years. Perimenopause, an important stage in a woman’s life, is a biological progression. However, you cannot predict how long it will take.
Perimenopause is very important to many women because their reproductive hormones start to fluctuate. As estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone change and decrease, they become out of balance with each other. This imbalance can lead to increased symptoms that can last for years.
Research your symptoms to find out if you are in perimenopause. If your symptoms are new, suddenly worse than before, or have no clear pattern, you’re likely experiencing the hormonal imbalance of perimenopause.
What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
Symptoms are solid proof that your perimenopause transition has begun. Hormone-related perimenopause symptoms include:
Irritability is the most important complaint among perimenopausal women. It is triggered by sudden and extreme hormone fluctuations that affect important neurotransmitter systems in the brain.
Feelings of anxiety caused by a hormonal imbalance may seem manageable at first, but can spiral out of control as the perimenopause process progresses.
- weight gain
Incredibly common and extremely discouraging, perimenopausal weight changes are often exacerbated by stress and its effects.
- adult acne
Skin changes like dryness and wrinkles are to be expected as we age, but many women are surprised when they experience hormonal acne and acne, especially on the chest and upper back.
- Depressive feelings and pessimism
When a woman enters perimenopause, her mood can become unstable due to disruptions in estrogen and progesterone, increasing anxiety and sadness about natural life changes.
- Irregular periods
Menstrual changes are often the first sign of perimenopause; Depending on physiology and other factors, menstruation lengthens, shortens, becomes lighter or heavier.
- Joint pain
Since estrogen has an anti-inflammatory effect, knees, elbows, hands, feet, etc. You may notice signs of inflammation, such as joint pain.
- menstrual migraines
Migraines often have a hormonal component, so long-term menstrual migraine headaches can be triggered because estrogen disrupts the balance of progesterone.
- memory problems or blurred thinking
As estrogen and progesterone levels spike during perimenopause, memory problems and cognitive concerns often arise.
- sleep problems
Insomnia is a huge problem for perimenopausal women, often linked to adrenal stress and exacerbated by imbalanced reproductive hormones.
- Hot flashes and night sweats
Hot flashes, the prominent symptoms of perimenopause, are fueled by intense hormonal ups and downs; some live only a handful a day, while others live 20-30 or more per day.
- vaginal dryness
Vaginal changes in midlife include dryness, atrophy and itching, reduce libido and cause discomfort and even pain during intercourse.
- low sex drive
Changes in reproductive hormone levels and how they are regulated by the body can cause a decrease in sex drive.
What causes all these perimenopausal symptoms?
While changing hormones may be the cause of midlife symptoms, it is not true that perimenopause means a gradual but steady decline in estrogen. In fact, estrogen levels in perimenopause can climb higher than they have in years – sometimes causing dramatic menstrual changes.
Another misconception is that all symptoms are due to decreased estrogen. Instead, it is hormonal fluctuations that cause symptoms to develop. When fluctuations are excessive or occur too quickly, your body cannot manage them and things start to go off course in your body.
Fluctuations in other hormones also have a great impact on the perimenopause period. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA are also changing, which can worsen perimenopausal symptoms.
What happens to your hormones as you enter perimenopause?
Sex hormone levels and the menstrual cycle are regulated by continuous three-way feedback from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries. For this hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis to work properly, each region must be sensitive enough to respond to signals from the others.
However, the number of ovarian follicles (the sacs each containing an immature egg) decreases with age, making them less responsive to incoming messages.
To compensate, the hypothalamus amplifies its signal, including making changes in FSH and LH, until it’s almost as if you’re shouting louder for attention. In perimenopause, the ovaries may not respond to the call at all or may become hypersensitive to the high FSH signal and raise estrogen levels.
Your body is naturally equipped to deal with changing hormone levels. But some factors can have serious effects on your hormones, such as:
- chronic stress
- sleep problems
- enough exercise
- exposure to environmental toxins
Even problems that start small when you’re young can throw your hormones out of sync as you enter perimenopause. In the end, your body’s gentle coping methods aren’t enough to make up for it. During times of life’s most dramatic changes — like perimenopause — your hormones can cause intense symptoms. Therefore, it is very important to take steps to support your body so that it can restore hormonal balance.
What makes you more likely to have the dreaded perimenopause symptoms?
Having hormonal symptoms early in life makes them more prone to going through perimenopause as well. Having PMS doubles your odds of having perimenopausal symptoms. You may also experience depression during perimenopause if one of your PMS symptoms is feeling depressed or after giving birth or if you use birth control pills.
Chronic stress and emotional strains, such as financial worries or caring for aging parents, can add extra weight to the burdens you carry in perimenopause. Some of these factors are impossible to change, but you can do something about others and stress should be at the top of the list.
Chronic stress severely magnifies the effects of changing sex hormones and neurotransmitter levels in perimenopause and menopause. This is because your body uses the same basic building blocks to make both adrenal stress hormones (cortisol) and sex hormones. But when you’re buried under chronic stress, your body has to choose to prioritize non-stop cortisol production. Just when you need it most, sex hormone production has to take second place.
But you can change this. Stress management and adrenal support can help divert your body’s resources away from the fight-or-flight response and channel it into balancing reproductive hormones.
How can you relieve perimenopausal symptoms and feel better?
Signs and symptoms are the same for both perimenopause and menopause. For the most effective, longest-lasting perimenopause symptoms relief, consider a common sense approach that includes:
- Eat healthy.
- Find enjoyable exercises.
- Correct hormonal imbalance with targeted herbs and nutrients. Phytotherapy
- Pay close attention to your emotional health.
- Take time to rest and relax.
At this stage of your life, I recommend that you don’t let your symptoms define you. Perimenopause is a real opportunity to live your life on your own terms so you can feel healthier and happier than ever before.