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7 Facts to Know about Perimenopause
1. What exactly is perimenopause?
The word “menopause” describes the state of having been without a menstrual period for a year or more. Perimenopause is the gradual transition from having regular periods to having no periods. It begins between three and five years before your last menstrual period, and can last one to two years after your last menstrual period.
2. What are the signs?
Some women experience no symptoms, but perimenopause is the phase in which about 80% of American women begin to experience hot flashes. Irregularity of periods is another sign, and is associated with reduced fertility. Other signs are irritability, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and changes in libido.
3. Is there a test?
The best way to know whether you are in perimenopause is to keep track of your periods. If you are having trouble becoming pregnant or if you have serious mood-related symptoms or hot flashes, your doctor can measure follicle stimulating hormone – levels of this hormone rise with age. This can determine whether your symptoms are menopause-related or caused by another medical condition.
4. Is perimenopause the same as menopause?
The word “Menopause” is commonly used to describe the symptoms of perimenopause. While “Menopause” is the state of being without a menstrual period for a year or more, perimenopause is the period of diminishing menstrual regularity that leads up to menopause.
5. I know one of the symptoms is weight gain? How can I mitigate that? How about changes in my sex life?
Reexamine your old habits, and be willing to change them. According to Nina Price, Licensed Acupuncturist, midlife is all about coming to terms with what’s going on in your body. She says, “Until you’re about 40, it’s easy to ignore your body unless you’re sick. Most of us don’t tend to pay attention. I define midlife as the time when you continue to do what you’ve always done but you get different results. You’re eating, exercising, sleeping, having sex the same way…but your old ways of doing things may not work for you anymore.” Consult a Chinese doctor for herbs that may prevent the hormonal imbalances that cause weight gain and reduced libido during menopause. Stay active. Embrace the changes in your body while examining what parts of your routine or habits may no longer be serving you.
Read more about Nina Price’s advice on smoothing the midlife transition here.
6. If I’m 30 and told that I’m in perimenopause, can I still get pregnant?
As menstruation decreases in regularity, so does the ability to become pregnant. To put it simply, the more regular and consistent your periods are, the likelier you are to become pregnant. Ability to conceive naturally diminishes gradually. The ability to conceive without medical intervention ends one year after the last menstrual period.
Read more about perimenopause and pregnancy here.
7. Are there any vitamins or supplements for perimenopause?
Nina Price also recommends several supplements. Supplementary needs vary, but most women need a good multi-vitamin, probiotic, antioxidants, immune support, Omega-3s, and calcium. Find what works for you and do that consistently.
Read more about why each is important for supporting optimal midlife health here.
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