What is Perimenopause?

What is Perimenopause?

For some women, hormonal changes are gradual. For others, especially those who go through severe stress or a hysterectomy, there can be a more sudden dropoff in hormones. These changes are perimenopause, which is the slow climb to menopause that occurs around age 50.  

This hormone upheaval involves your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Typically, progesterone starts to drop and eventually the estrogen follows. Testosterone also begins to decline at a greater pace. This can look like more irritability, more anxiety, less energy during the day, more sleeplessness at night, vaginal dryness, and creaky joints. Most women at this point ask, ‘Does it have to be this way?’

The answer is no. Not that you can stop your hormones from dropping, but there are definitely herbs and nutrients to make the transition easier. And your lifestyle is very important to this transition.  If you are working 80 hours per week and eating fast food, you will most likely be having more symptoms.  And, of course, there are always bioidentical hormones if needed to help ease the transition.

Here are a few symptoms I see clinically that you may want to pay attention to:

  • Are you waking up hot and sweaty?  Like you are in Hawaii with no air-conditioning?
  • Do you find yourself yelling more than you used to? And do you feel like you can’t control it?
  • Do you avoid leaving the house to be social, such as declining invitations from people you enjoy?
  • Are you not sleeping because you keep thinking about work or how to homeschool your kids?
  • Do you find yourself contemplating an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication?
  • Are you avoiding sex with your spouse because you aren’t as interested anymore?  Maybe choosing a bath or a glass of wine over that intimate time?

Perimenopause is a time of transition for most women.  By providing a little help to our lovely hormones, it can be a very positive transition!  What are you going to do to help yourself through perimenopause?