How do I know I’m in perimenopause?
I get asked this question a lot by my clients and on social media. There are some “usual” tell tale signs but let me start by saying that this topic is getting a lot of press lately. Why? because of a few different reasons but mainly because we (women) are living longer and we live more stressful lives.
Lets go back to the 1900’s for a moment where the average life expectancy for a women was 50, now a days the average age for the onset of menopause is 51 and we are living to an average age of 80, that’s 30 years longer (and in my Nana’s case double as she lived to 100).
So it’s no wonder the topic of perimenopause and menopause is more prevalent and pressing now, and more specifically, how do you know you’re in it?
“Perimenopause, the period encompassing the years of menstrual irregularities and the 12 months immediately following, marks the transition from reproductive to non-reproductive life. The median age of onset of the perimenopause is in the mid-to-late forties and typically lasts 2 – 10 years, with a median duration of 4 years”.
“According to the NIH State-of-the-Science Panel’s Conference Statement on the Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms, “(W)omen seem to have more sleep disturbances as they progress through the menopausal stages. The prevalence of sleep disturbance varies from 16% to 42% in premenopause, from 39% to 47% in perimenopause, and from 35% to 60% in postmenopause.” These estimates included surgically as well as naturally menopausal women”.
Perimenopause is usually defined as a period in a women’s life when her estrogen (E2) is elevated, relative to her progesterone. Either a decrease in progesterone or an elevated estrogen can result in an estrogen dominant state leading to:
- The onset of heavy or light periods
- The onset of irregular periods
- The onset or increased symptoms of PMS
- Breast tenderness
- New sleep disturbances are seen
- Nights sweats
- Increase or intensity of headaches or migraines
- Noticeable weight gain without a change in diet or exercise
Any 3 of these symptoms could mean you are in perimenopause, which can last anywhere from 2 years to up to 10 years before true menopause.
According to a study from the University Of British Columbia (UBA) “Sleep disturbances..tend to increase in later perimenopause and often extend into menopause”. If your suffering from just one of these symptoms life can get more stressful which in turn will impact your stress hormones.
As a society focusing on self care, slowing down and listening to our bodies has to be fundamental, as does setting good foundations for health and wellness as we extend our longevity.
Can you say yes to 3 of the symptoms listed above? Leave me a comment below and let me know.