Sometime around your early 40s, your body begins to change. You may experience hot flashes, an irregular period, even vaginal dryness. While any of these symptoms can pop up on their own, if they’re arriving together, it’s likely you’re entering perimenopause.
Perimenopause is the transitional phase between your reproductive age and menopause. During this time, your period slows down and your estrogen levels are affected, leading to a whole host of new symptoms and bodily changes.
Perimenopause can be an uncomfortable transition, made worse by taboo surrounding the subject. We don’t talk about perimenopause enough, and that makes it harder for women to find solutions to their symptoms. That’s why we’re here.
What are the major symptoms of perimenopause?
Like anything related to reproductive health, women experience menopausal transitions in many different ways. That said, there are several symptoms of perimenopause that tend to be the most common.
When we think of menopause, we think of hot flashes, and there’s a good reason for that: they’re experienced by a vast majority of perimenopausal & menopausal women. While episodes typically only last a few minutes, they can be supremely uncomfortable. Women with severe hot flashes may experience fatigue, sweating, and even heart palpitations.
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth saying: one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause is an irregular period. Women in this transitional phase don’t get to say goodbye entirely to their monthly bleeding, but it does get more sporadic. Cycles become less predictable, time between periods stretches longer and longer, and eventually, your periods will stop (finally signaling the onset of menopause).
As we age, we often experience sleep issues, and this can be made worse by the hormonal changes brought on by perimenopause. Many women find themselves awake all night, tossing and turning and trying to get to sleep.
Typically a symptom of later-stage perimenopause, vaginal dryness affects a significant number of perimenopausal women. This can complicate sex and cause discomfort and pain.
This one may come as a surprise, but women in the early stages of menopause are statistically much more likely to experience issues with their mental health. For many women, this can even be their first significant struggle with mental health.
What can you do to combat the symptoms of perimenopause?
For some, perimenopause symptoms are mild and may only last for a few months to a year. Unfortunately, this sort of easy transition isn’t the norm, and studies show that around 90% of women experiencing the menopausal transition will suffer medically significant discomfort. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to ease this pain and keep yourself feeling more like yourself.
Know your symptom triggers
Hot flashes are the worst. They’re uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking, and often end in noticeably sweaty clothes. Unlike many menopause symptoms, however, there are certain known triggers for hot flashes, and by keeping track of yours, you can minimize how often you feel them. Make sure to watch out for hot foods, alcohol, and stress, as these can be especially pernicious.
Hot Tip: The National Institute on Aging recommends keeping a journal of your hot flashes. By recording their cause and duration, you can keep track of any triggers and know what to avoid.
Talk to friends and family
Because of the taboo around menopause, your instinct might be to keep the discomfort to yourself. However, this only increases feelings of isolation and depression. Do your best to be open with friends, family, and your therapist. It truly does take a village, and you’re ultimately helping others by not going through it alone.
Natural supplements can help provide relief
One of the best ways to ease perimenopause symptoms is through the use of natural supplements and vitamins. Studies show that ingredients like black cohosh, chasteberry, and ashwagandha root can help stabilize estrogen levels and help alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause. For an OBGYN-trusted, all-in-one formula, MENO Menopause Relief comes in sugar-free capsules & delicious, berry breeze gummies—multi-symptom relief for every preference.
Speak with a doctor you trust
There’s no advice like expert advice. Doctors can help make sure what you’re experiencing is normal, and offer knowledge on prescription medications for perimenopause symptoms. Hormone therapy and SSRIs are just two of the options available to help get you some relief, and you can review all of them with a trusted medical care provider.