How do I know I'm in perimenopause?

How do I know I'm in perimenopause?

A question I have found myself asking a lot in the last year us, how do I know I'm in the perimenopause? 

Well, thanks to the movement of Davina McCall raising awareness' to this subject and bringing it to the forefront of women’s conversations we are a lot more aware than we used to be.  

I very much suspect that if this was not a topic of conversation, I would not have recognised my symptoms as those that are linked to menopause.  

Prior to those conversations I was one of those naïve people that thought it was for older women to worry about. But thank goodness that is not the case, I would have suffered my symptoms for a lot longer and alone had I not been made aware.  

In my early 20’s I underwent a lot of treatment for endometriosis. One of the treatments was a course of Zoladex injections. These injections temporarily switch of the ovaries and stop the release of oestrogen. Effectively putting your body into a temporary but reversable menopause.  

As a result of this treatment and endometriosis I have been advised that I am going through early menopause. A recent study observing women with endometriosis found the link between endometriosis and early menopause to be a common challenge.   

Now I know I am in this stage of my life; I can reflect back on the last few years and identify other symptoms that have been associated with peri-menopause. For me personally, my increased anxiety, brain fog, sleep issues and what seems to be an unusual ability to cope with stress any longer can now be attributed to perimenopause. This knock-on effect for me has been a loss of self-belief and confidence. And I can honestly say at one point I thought I was going mad and something was wrong with me. I’d even started discussing medication with my GP for anxiety.  

And similarly, to when I was first diagnosed with endometriosis, I am on a mission to understand this phase in my life and how best I can treat it naturally.  

When does the menopause start?  

According to the NHS perimenopause and menopause start on average between the ages of 45-50 years old. However, many women are experiencing the symptoms of peri-menopause much earlier. This can easily be misdiagnosed or women not recognising these are the symptoms. For some the symptoms start in the lead up to being 40 years old.  

 

The difference between perimenopause and menopause 

Peri-menopause is when your hormones start changing and fluctuating. Often you are still having regular periods at this stage. But the symptoms are underlying. This is the time to really start looking after your hormonal health 

Menopause is when your periods actually stop. You reach menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months. With the average age of women reaching this stage at 51 years old.  

 

Signs of the perimenopause  

During perimenopause, as progesterone and then oestrogen drops, these are the symptoms I have experienced.  

  • heightened anxiety 
  • mood swings 
  • depression 
  • low mood 
  • difficulty sleeping 
  • heavy periods 
  • headaches 
  • PMS 
  • Brain fog  
  • hot flushes 

Other symptoms that you might experience include but are not limited to:  

  • Heart palpitations 
  • Problems with memory 
  • dry itchy skin 
  • hair thinning 
  • joint pain 
  • weight gain 
  • vaginal dryness 
  • Reduced sex drive or loss of libido 
  • Increased facial hair 
  • Urinary infusions 

 

Signs of the menopause 

It is suggested that by the time you reach the actual menopause this can be easier than those years of peri-menopause. This marks the official end to your reproductive system. But additional signs include 

  • No periods for 12 months or more  
  • Low reproductive hormones 
  • Decreased sexual desire, painful intercourse 
  • Vaginal and urinary issues 
  • Extra weight around the middle 
  • You may continue to experience all of the above symptoms of perimenopause and as you reach post menopause your symptoms may start to ease.  

Natural support for menopause  

For me, I like to look for natural ways to support my menopause journey, and of course my tea really helps. I love researching the ingredients that could support me and playing around with the blends.  

Behind each blend there is a story of why I have produced the tea, the three blends in my wellness collection have supported me on a hormonal journey for nearly 20 years. I’d love for you to try them and let me know what you think.  


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