Today is World Menopause Day. We think it’s marvellous that the conversation surrounding menopause is changing and confidence is growing. We believe that early awareness of perimenopause and menopause are key to helping breaking down stigma and enable people to seek help and support early in order to live healthy, happy lives.
But it’s early days and old perceptions can still hold a lot of weight. For example, what do you picture when someone mentions the word ‘menopause’? Well, we keep it under wraps for a start, we don’t like to talk about this sort of thing… periods suddenly stopping, hot flashes in the midst of winter, night sweats, someone much older? Pretty dramatic and certainly not something that will be relevant to you any time soon!
Yes, getting to the menopause, for most of us, will take a little time to get to, the average age of a women reaching menopause in the UK is 52/53, but the lead up to menopause has a name and is a real phase of life. It’s called Perimenopause and it is accompanied by a whole host of symptoms you may or may not experience, but it’s important to be aware of.
Perimenopause can begin up to 10 + years before you menopause day – and Menopause is just one day, it’s the day after you have gone 12 months without a period. The next day you are officially in post-menopause. So perimenopause can start in you late 30s early 40s – who knew?!
During this time you’re body starts to decrease the amount of oestrogen it produces – but it doesn’t do this in a smooth way, it oscillates dramatically, so your levels of oestrogen could be great one day, low the next. And oestrogen is so important to the health of our bones, brain, metabolism and energy levels (to name just a few things), which is why a fluctuation in levels contributes to the symptoms you may be experiencing – achy joints, lethargy, brain fog…
The tricky thing about Perimenopause is identifying whether you are in it or not! We now know this phase can begin in our late thirties/early forties, but with our busy lifestyles and in some cases starting a family older, mean that we are maxed out, stressed, on the go, morning, noon and night, it’s hard to know what symptoms relate to perimenopause and what are brought on by a hectic lives.
It’s easy to assign our terrible headaches, anxiety, disrupted sleep, achy joints, weight gain, breakouts, thinning hair and roller-coaster emotions down to stress, work, kids, lockdown, and life in general. And without knowledge of perimenopause and it’s symptoms, how are you meant to know, and do anything about it?!
The first signs of perimenopause as your oestrogen level begin to fluctuate, tend to surface as irritability, mood-swings, irregular periods, and anxiety, which can be exhausting to manage on top of an already busy lifestyle. Generally, the closer you get to menopause the more symptoms you might experience including difficulty sleeping, anxiety, l