As a woman’s ovaries age, the coordinated patterns of female hormones begin to vary. This throws the body out of balance, causing symptoms affecting a woman’s quality of life. This remains the number one reason why menopause is a persistent health issue for women. And it’s not just affecting aging women. It can also occur to women in their 40s.
There is a misconception about the onset of menopause. While it’s often perceived as a health issue for senior women, it also affects women as early as in their late 30s. Your body’s ability to produce progesterone and estrogen diminishes when you reach the age of 30. When you reach the age of 40, the length of your menstruation cycle and volume of menstrual flow becomes irregular. This period is called perimenopause.
Perimenopause is the onset of menopause. You know you’re going through it when you feel a set of often uncomfortable and impairing symptoms. Technically, it is the set changes that indicate you’ll be expecting menopause at the end of it. Menopause, on the one hand, is that one life-changing day that confirms your reproductive days are over. Often, it is confirmed after 12 consecutive months of absent menstruation. After which, you’ll be in your post-menopausal stage.
With that established, it’s important to understand if you’re already going through perimenopause. Each day, 6,000 women in the US reach menopause. Although it can happen earlier, the typical age is between 40 and 60, with an average age of 51, according to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Perimenopause, however, can last for years. In some cases, a decade.
If you’re experiencing some hot flashes at night, you may be wondering if it’s the onset of menopause. To help you understand what you’re going through, here are the symptoms of perimenopause.
Symptoms of Perimenopausal Syndrome
You’re lucky if you don’t experience any symptoms at all. Others who are not so fortunate will initially experience common symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. Gradually, this will lead to several vaginal issues and bladder problems.
Perimenopause can cause vaginal dryness as tissues lose elasticity and lubrication. Pain during sex will become common, affecting your sexual arousal and desire. This also makes you vulnerable to infections and incontinence. And, of course, your ability to conceive becomes less likely.
Your mental health can also suffer significant changes. You’ll become more moody and irritable, which sometimes leads to depression. You’ll also notice how gradually you become forgetful and out of focus. All of this can also affect the quality of your sleep.
Perimenopause can also affect you physically. Your skin will increasingly become dry, and so are your eyes and mouth. Your hair will start to thin out, while places like the chin and neck will begin to grow a peach fuzz. Weight may be affected, too, as your cholesterol levels change unfavorably.
If symptoms are bothering you too much, treatments are available for you. Your physician can prescribe oral contraceptives, low-dose antidepressants, and clotting medicine. However, according to the NAMS, if your case is severe, you can be defined with hormone therapy.
Although hormone therapy is a government-approved treatment, there are health risks involved. Fortunately, there are complementary and alternative treatments available to treat perimenopause symptoms.
Prescribed as traditional Chinese medicine, Gua Sha is a method of massage that involves the use of a massage tool. This tool is used to scrape or rub your body while being massaged. The scraping action improves blood circulation from the skin towards the internal parts of your body. The effect, symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia are minimized.
To get a gua sha treatment, make sure that you’ll only go to a trusted massage therapist that specializes in
Herbal Treatments and Supplements
Traditional herbal medicines that are good for reducing symptoms of perimenopause include black cohosh, St. John’s Wort, ginseng, soy, and flaxseed. Ask your doctor about the proper form and dosage of these medicines.
Supplements such as vitamins E and D can also help treat perimenopause symptoms.
Yoga, aerobic exercises, and breathing exercises are known to lessen the effects of perimenopause on women’s mental health. These therapies can minimize mood swings and improve sleep.
Most importantly, lifestyle adjustments are necessary to promote good health. You should eat healthily, surround yourself with positive people, get away from stressful situations, avoid habits that disrupt sleep, and maintain an active lifestyle.
As with any other treatment, it is best to consult with your physician. Your doctor knows best about what you’re going through and how to remedy it. Before following or using any alternative treatments suggested here, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you first.