The difference between perimenopause and menopause is that perimenopause is the transition phase before permanent infertility (menopause), which can take up to ten years before a woman is no longer menstruating. Women can start perimenopause at any age and may notice symptoms somewhere in their 40s, but depending on a women’s egg reserve, this may happen as early as their mid-30’s.
A fluctuation or uneven rise and fall of hormones is responsible for the symptoms associated with perimenopause. The cycle may become irregular, by initially shortening or later extending, as a woman reaches the end stage of perimenopause and transitions to becoming menopausal.
OTHER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PERIMENOPAUSE
- Menstrual irregularities
- Long or short cycles
- Heavy bleeding
- Abnormal bleeding between cycles
- Vaginal dryness
- Low libido
- Weight Issues
- Mood changes; Anxiety, depression, irritability
- Hair loss- thinning of hair from head
- Unwanted hair – on the chin, face, hair
- Skin issues (acne, drier skin, prominent wrinkles, formication (itchy, tingling under the skin)
OTHER COMMON ISSUSES
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Lack concentration, memory problems
- Elevated cholesterol
FINDING A NATURAL APPROACH
Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and Naturopathy all offer a natural approach to help treat the symptoms of perimenopause. Much of the focus is based on balancing the pituitary and hypothalamus axis and increasing and balancing the relationship between oestrogen and progesterone production. The wonderful benefits are that symptoms such as irritability, insomnia and hot flashes can be alleviated and eventually resolved once the hormones have been stabilised.