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Perimenopause symptoms can be intense, but tend to vary from person to person. Many who’ve been through perimenopause will agree calling it “the change” is something of an understatement. Perimenopause often brings with it hot flushes, sleepless nights and changes to your mood. These are the 13 most common symptoms of perimenopause.
What does perimenopause mean?
Perimenopause is a loose term defining the time changes to your menstrual cycle, as well as a host of other symptoms, taking place before menstrual periods finally stop.
The reason the body goes through so many changes during perimenopause is your hormone levels begin to change, signalling your ovaries to release fewer and fewer eggs, before your periods stop altogether.
In most people, perimenopause takes place between the ages of 45 and 60.
The length of time people experience symptoms can vary from a few months to several years.
Once you have not had a period for an entire year, you are defined as having reached menopause.
What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
The symptoms of perimenopause can vary wildly from person to person.
Some people only experience very mild symptoms, whereas others will find their symptoms interfere with going about their daily life.
If you struggle with symptoms, speak to your doctor about it.
Medication called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often prescribed to help manage the symptoms of perimenopause.
These are the most common physical symptoms, according to Bupa:
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Incontinence and bladder problems
- Weight gain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Difficulty sleeping
Perimenopause can also affect your mental health and brain function, causing symptoms including:
- Feeling depressed
- Experiencing mood swings
- Problems with memory and concentration – sometimes called “brain fog”
- A loss of interest in sex
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How can you manage perimenopause symptoms?
First and foremost, if you’re having a rough time going through perimenopause, speak to your doctor about their advice.
This will give them the chance to rule out any other causes, and they may recommend some medicine, such as hormone replacement therapy.
However, if you’d prefer to try natural remedies for perimenopause symptoms, some methods are shown to help.
Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can aid any difficulty sleeping, and can sometimes help minimise the occurrence of hot flushes.
Giving up smoking is recommended to make hot flushes less likely.
Taking up mindfulness or yoga can help with stress and anxiety. But if these aren’t effective, your doctor may be able to help you access mental health support.
Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly may help keep extra weight off, and can also have a positive effect on your sleep and mental health.
Your body changes as you go through perimenopause, and after menopause women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis or heart disease.
This makes eating a healthy diet – low in saturated fats and with extra calcium supplements if you wish – even more important, as it can reduce your risk of either condition.
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