‘You’re going through perimenopause’, my Dad said in that infuriating matter of fact Doctor speak, like they see it every day. Well actually, he does see it every day, but hey I’m his daughter, I deserve a bit more sugar-coating!
Don’t be daft Dad, I’m only 42, and what the heck is perimenopause anyway?? I’m assuming it’s something to do with the menopause (I’m clever like that), and I’m way too young for that – so what on earth do you mean?
‘It’s the run up to the menopause’ he sighs, and apparently it can start at age 35 and go on for years! Actual menopause is when your periods have completely stopped for a year and the average age for that is still 51. BUT in the years running up to your periods stopping, your hormones can really cause havoc.
Hang on a minute, I’m not sure I’m hearing this quite right. So at the tender age of 42, my hormones are deserting me and won’t be coming back any time soon?
‘Don’t worry’ says Dad, having just relayed all this cheery information and seen my horrified face. ‘It’s not just your age you know. Your hormones are influenced heavily by your diet, lifestyle, stress levels and environment – are there any improvements you can make in these areas?’
Uh, possibly, yes….. is he kidding? I had no idea what I was eating and putting on my skin had anything to do with me feeling tired and fat! So of course, I have been getting away with all sorts. Time to reassess……
So for all you ‘still young’ women out there, here are 11 signs that you might be going through it too;
- PERIOD CHAOS – Not knowing when your period will come, having 2 or 20 day bleeds, sometimes gushing sometimes trickling, odd spotting in between, and painful cramps like you had when you were a teenager? Not to mention the bloating, mood swings, headaches and ‘I’ll die without chocolate’ cravings. You’re kidding right? You thought you were past all that PMS stuff and now it’s worse than ever.
- SWEATY BETTY – Oh the joy of hot flushes! Turning into a red hot furnace without a moment’s notice has to be the WORST hand dealt by mother nature.
- MOODY MANDY – So you’re moody, irritable and generally horrible pretty much most of the time (not just for one week before your period). Either everyone in the world is a moron, OR your hormones are in control….
- TATT (TIRED ALL THE TIME) – As if your life isn’t exhausting enough, your fluctuating hormones are taking their toll on your energy levels. Your sleep might also be interrupted by night sweats and having to change the bed sheets. Blimey, it’s a wonder we get through the day!
- MOVING UP THE DRESS SIZES – you might notice your weight creeping (or surging!) upwards, especially around the stomach and hips – the dreaded ‘middle-age spread’. You just look at a loaf of bread and your trousers feel tight. On top of all that, your body is hanging on to its fat cells for dear life. That’s because they are one of the few sources of oestrogen after your ovaries have outlived their usefulness.
- CHOCOLATE OR SEX? No contest! Chocolate is winning that one far too often. And if it’s not chocolate that is winning the battle, it will be sleep. We are so exhausted by bedtime that sex is the last thing on a long to-do list.
- ITCHY – Oestrogen keeps your skin supple, soft and smooth. So when levels decline, we start to get itchy and dry skin, as well as wrinkles, crows feet, age spots, vaginal dryness and pimples.
- ANXIOUS – As well as moody and irritable, you may also be anxious and panicky. Signs are that you stress or worry about the smallest things, you cry at the drop of a hat, or you get panicky over things you were really confident about before.
- BRAIN FOG – Lost your phone/keys/glasses again? Impossible to concentrate on anything? Brain fog and memory loss are very common in peri-menopause. Not helped by the huge amount of ‘stuff’ that we are responsible for and trying to remember!
- HAIR (in all the wrong places) – it’s coming out of your head (in clumps) but growing like crazy on your face!
- JOINT ACHE – back pain, tendonitis, dodgy knees, hip pain – pretty much any aches and pains – apart from the obvious injuries, illness or wear and tear, can be due to hormone fluctuations.
If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. Perimenopause can affect us all in different ways (or not at all if you’re one of the lucky few!).
The great news is that even though you can’t do anything about your biological age, you can regain control if you make some simple changes to your diet, lifestyle, stress levels and environment.
If you would like to know more, grab your FREE Hormone Balancing Guide.
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