As you approach your 40s and 50s, you may be increasingly aware of the changes that are coming for your body and cycle. While menopause definitely doesn’t happen as a surprise, it can take months and years to officially hit the stage of life sans periods. We’re tackling all the things when it comes to this less-than-talked-about time in your womanhood journey — and how you can make it a more pleasant season of your life!
What is Perimenopause?
The middle ground period between normal periods and no period at all is called perimenopause, and there are some wonderful ways to prepare your body and treat your body well during this transitory time!
In the same season of life, women are typically dealing with so many other changes like having teenagers, adjusting to lots of different schedules, and needing to carve out time for yourself. Remember that how much you care for your mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health directly impacts how you feel and how well you feed the relationships around you.
As your body slows down on egg production and your estrogen levels drop, you will begin to have some clear symptoms. Through understanding this phase, you can prepare for feeling a little off and mitigate some of the emotional issues that can come along with the physical side effects.
What is the Average Age Perimenopause Starts?
Perimenopause symptoms can come anytime between your 20s and 40s, but most often comes in your 40s. While a changing of your cycle can come and go within a year, it can take up to ten years for your cycle to stop fully.
Signs That Perimenopause is Coming.
While every woman’s body is different, you will know perimenopause is coming as you experience changes in your cycle. When women experience fluctuations more regularly — either lighter or heavier or longer or shorter periods — they may be approaching perimenopause. Once you’ve hit 60 days without a period, you can take it as a sign that menopause is definitely coming.
If at any point, you have irregular periods and menstrual cycles that don’t look normal, including blood clots with heavy periods, spotting between periods, or spotting after sex — be sure to consult with your wellness professional to ensure your body is dealing with normal processes and not another health factor.
What are five of the most common symptoms of perimenopause?
Here are some of the unfortunate symptoms tied to this phase — but thankfully there’s hope! Keep reading for some natural ways to help your body deal with these issues!
1. Hot Flashes. Hormones levels and fluctuations contribute directly to your core temperature. Hot flashes (Being flushed and sweating for 5-10 minutes) and night sweats (waking up drenched) affect over two-thirds of women coming into menopause. While some opt to take estrogen or other medications, they can have terrible side effects, long-term.
One of the best things to is deep-breathing exercises throughout the day. Instilling these stress management techniques earlier in life can help your body process the changes. Some people are affected by caffeine, spicy food, or hot drinks. Keeping as cool as possible and having layers you can take off or add will definitely help.
2. Vaginal Dryness or Discomfort and Changes in Sexual Desire. As you lose estrogen, your skin tissue becomes thinner and dryer. While it may seem counterintuitive, having more sex can help your body stay strong, but to make that time more enjoyable, we encourage women to try our Hemp Vaginal Suppositories or the Moisturizing Suppositories to ease the itching, soreness, and pain during sex.
3. Urinary Urgency. While there's not as much you can do to avoid these issues, you can still do a bit to less the effects. You may have thought kegels were just for postpartum, but these exercises can help support your entire tract and keep everything working well. Try incorporating more omega-3 fatty acids (like pumpkin seeds or fish) to help improve urinary function. And, drinking fewer diuretic drinks during the day can help you get through your day-to-day tasks with fewer interruptions. If this becomes a bigger problem, see a pelvic floor specialist or your medical professional for other options.
4. Sleep and Concentration Problems. As your hormones continue to change, getting deep sleep and concentrating well can be a struggle. Some women opt for hormone replacement therapy or antidepressants, but like mentioned earlier, these options can have lasting negative health implications. You can improve your sleep naturally with good sleep hygiene. Be sure to shut off the tablets, phones, and TVs an hour before bed, keep your bedroom cool. Try to form good habits to prepare your mind, like drinking an herbal tea with chamomile, stopping eating at 8pm, using the restroom before falling asleep, and reading to wind down. All these things can help your body prepare for quality rest and keep your mind sharp during the day.
5. Mood Changes. When you’re dealing with this host of side effects, changing family dynamics, and lower serotonin levels, your mood naturally will hit the downward slope. Unfortunately with the back and forth of hormones, you may feel sudden and strong feelings of panic, anxiety, or anger. But you can take steps to reduce these feelings.
Many of the things we previous listed will help with mental health issues. If you’re having regular sex with a loving partner, getting enough sleep, and avoiding too much caffeine, you’re already on the right path to supporting mental wellness. Additional emotional supports to instill include starting a daily thankfulness journal with meditation, having a group of women you can talk with, and if needed, seeing a counselor who can help you navigate this changing time.
Some physical remedies include getting enough of Vitamin B12, exercising outside, in the sunlight, and keeping regular sugar levels can all help you avoid unwanted emotional feelings. Our Sage Woman Herbal Tea incorporates red raspberry leaf, sage, lemon balm, vitex berries, and more to help you reach holistic hormone balance. Ultimately, surrounding yourself with people who care about you and talking openly with them will help you manage how you feel.
How can I know I’m in perimenopause vs. menopause?
Once you’ve reached 12 months without a period, you officially have reached menopause and will not likely have another period.
Enjoying a New Stage of Life.
While women often dread spotting signs of perimenopause, know that the life without a menstrual period is as full and as rich as any other stage — as you come into this golden season, many women feel freedom and more creativity in their maturity. Look for options to start sharing your knowledge, expertise, and passion with an upcoming generation and use your life experience to impact others. You have so much to offer the world and remember to focus on feeling your best in the days ahead!