Perimenopause: What You Need to Know
Let’s talk about Perimenopause
Many women have misconceptions when it comes to menopause. Many women believe that there is a specific point in time where their hormones just stop being produced and their period never comes again. However, this is rarely the case; though there is always that mother’s, friends, aunt’s, sister who just woke up one day and never got a period again and felt great.
In reality, what happens to a women’s hormones before menopause is much more complicated, and much less predictable. This phase, when hormones start to change before menopause is referred to as perimenopause and can start anywhere from late 30’s to late 40’s and continues until one year after a woman’s last menstrual cycle when she is officially in Menopause.
As a woman ages, she does not ovulate every month. Ovulation is the main event when it comes to hormone production. As ovulation becomes less consistent so does her production of hormones. This shift in hormone production, because it varies from month to month, can produce an array of different symptoms. Some women develop new or worse PMS, bloating and breast tenderness. Some simply notice a change in their mood, new onset depression or anxiety. As women start to have more anovulatory cycles in a row they may experience symptoms of hormonal decline like hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, vaginal dryness and joint pain. To make things even more confusing, the same woman my cycle between these symptoms depending on the hormonal shifts that are happening behind the scenes.
One of the most confusing parts about perimenopause is that most of these women are still getting a monthly bleed. For some women their period will continue to come monthly, some will bleed 2 times per month, some may skip periods from month to month. However, it is important for women (and practitioners) to understand that a monthly period does not mean that you have ovulated or that you made your hormones the way that you should have. In perimenopause, anovulatory cycles often result in irregular, heavy menstrual cycles that can worsen fatigue that they may already be experiencing. Another issue with perimenopause is that her lab work can often be misleading. Because of the dramatic fluctuation within the month hormone testing can result in over , or under estimation of her total monthly hormone production. For hormone assessment to be appropriate in this phase of a woman’s life, it needs to be paired with a discussion about how she is feeling being used as only a portion of her assessment process.
The age variation, dramatic hormone fluctuations, and the fact that most of these women are still getting a monthly period makes it really challenging for there to be a defined diagnostic criteria for Perimenopause. Therefore so many of these women fall through the cracks, being told that “you aren’t in menopause yet,” or “this is all just part of being a woman,” or that they are depressed. At Health Over All, it is our mission to ensure that you are not falling through the cracks. We work with women in peri-menopause to help them understand what is going on with their hormones and why they are feeling the way they are feeling. Using our signature programs, we coach them toward a healthier lifestyle, offer individualised nutrient supplementation and provide the support they need for consistency and results. For some women, we also prescribe additional hormone replacement therapy if needed to control their symptoms.
We are offering a free Alignment Call to learn how we can work together! To learn more, give Sarah a call at Health Over All or book a FREE Alignment Call here.
The Health Over All Team