My Connect Inspire Flourish program helps you feel balanced, happy and healthy and regain control of your wellbeingStill not sure what perimenopause is? You’re not alone. I certainly had no idea when I started getting symptoms in my early forties. I just figured it was way too early for “that menopause thing” no-one talked about, when you suddenly become old, undesirable and past-your-use-by-date. (Hopefully we’ve moved on from that outdated thinking!)

Perimenopause is a fairly new term which “describes symptoms caused by normal hormonal fluctuations that occur as a woman moves closer to her menopause.  Menopause (the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs) officially occurs when you haven’t had a period for 12 months.

Perimenopause can start as early as your 30s or as late as your 50s (on average it starts in your 40s). And while the average length of perimenopause is four to five years, it can be as long as 10 years or just a few months.

Some women sail through it, others have severe symptoms and many of us are somewhere in between. We all experience it differently – in terms of our symptoms, severity of symptoms and how long they last.

So what can you expect?  Here are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hot flushes and/or night sweats
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty concentrating, brain fog, memory lapses
  • Reduced libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Digestive problems, gastrointestinal upsets
  • Higher risk of urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence
  • Worsened PMS
  • Weight gain

It sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it, but the good news is you don’t have to suffer – symptoms can be managed if not alleviated. Just remember that what works for your best friend won’t necessarily work for you. You might find that lifestyle changes are enough (take a look at previous newsletters for suggestions), or you may need some extra help. Just remember: you don’t have to go through it alone!

Three Action Points

  • Pick 1 symptom to work on, think about what you’d like to achieve and why e.g. “I’d like to get better quality sleep and wake up refreshed”, “I’d like to manage my anxiety to feel more positive and calmer” or “I’d like to get back to my healthy weight so I have more energy”
  • Create 2 to 3 specific, realistic behavioural goals for the symptom e.g. “I’ll spend an hour online on Monday night researching ways to manage anxiety in perimenopause”, “I’ll do a two-minute deep breathing exercise as soon as I start feeling anxious”, “I’ll find a wellness coach/naturopath/GP who works with anxiety/stress and make an appointment within the next two weeks”
  •  Put your goals into your phone, diary or calendar