Interestingly, and understandably, most women under the age of 40 are hard-pressed to describe what menopause is, let alone perimenopause! So for many women the start of the 4th decade can hit you like a ton of bricks, things start changing and you don’t understand why your body is not behaving or responding the way you are used to, its common to fob off symptoms to some other cause and medically your doctor may not even check your hormone levels until you have gone 1 year without a menstrual bleed! To add further insult to injury, perimenopause can go on for years, yep years with little to no attention by medicine or understanding from those around you.
Understanding Perimenopause & Menopause
Let’s get the basics understood!
Perimenopause precedes menopause, it’s the time where things start to change, both physically and emotionally but you are still getting a menstrual bleed.
Menopause is reached the moment you have gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual bleed and this occurs on average at age 51 which of course will happen earlier or later for many of you – that’s the average.
Interestingly menopause lasts 1 day because once the 12 months is up you then move into the postmenopausal state!
So, a lot of the unsettling symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and temperature issues generally occur in the perimenopause stage which can start 10 years prior to menopause! This can be quite confronting and confusing when it’s not something that you have ever thought about! Especially when your cycle has not yet changed, because we can still be getting a menstrual bleed during this time it doesn’t mean that ovulation is still happening – it may not be!
Menopause is a natural process, known as spontaneous menopause, it’s not abnormal and some women will just lose their menstrual bleed with no symptoms, but most of us will have symptoms and we will want to do our best to support the body to reduce the discomfort these cause. These symptoms include weight gain, sleep issues, dryness, exaggerated mood responses too!
Beyond symptoms, perimenopause and menopause place us in a different position with our health and you will want to know the various risks moving forward:
- How to protect your brain
- How to reduce your cardiovascular risk
- How to protect your bones
- How to strengthen your muscles
- How to age well
TIMING AND MORE
Some premature menopause can occur due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, removal of ovaries and some due to medications.
And usually whilst perimenopause is when most of us are symptomatic, and some symptoms end others don’t! It’s not the end of our future risks, muscle wasting, bone issues, cardio risk, brain health issues and of course sleep issues, weight issues etc.
The timing of menopause is genetic and has or will generally occur at a similar age to your other female relatives.
Some of you will be relieved to hear like me that early menopause does not mean you are necessarily aging any earlier!
Postmenopause is considered the time after menopause and can go from 40 to 58!
What to Put on Your Plate?
The healthy balanced meal formula designed for menopausal & perimenopausal women