It is important that us ladies are well informed about the menopause. Unfortunately, it’s not something that we’re educated about and is often left down to us to research; however, it is starting to be taught to teens after one lady’s campaign after she had suicidal thoughts during her menopause. For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to still be in secondary school and being taught this information, we’ve put together this short guide to understanding the menopause and more importantly, enabling you to recognise perimenopause symptoms and menopause symptoms (you may be surprised by quite a few).
Let’s have a quick chat about what the menopause is and what perimenopause and post menopause is so you can get an idea of where your body’s at.
This is the transition into menopause. Our ovaries are becoming less responsive and the production of oestrogen and progesterone begins to decline. Along the way, there are fluctuations in the control hormones LH and FSH as they start to increase in levels due to the unresponsive ovaries. Because of these hormonal fluctuations, we experience ‘menopausal symptoms’ but still experience a menstrual cycle.
The average woman experiences perimenopause for four years, but it can last as long as 15 years.
This is when our natural progesterone and oestrogen levels drop and our ovaries are unresponsive; as a result, ovulation stops. We tend to classify menopause as such when you have not had a period for 12 months; so essentially menopause is just a day, the year anniversary of your last period.
This is the phase following menopause. Your periods will have stopped. Women will spend a good portion, thought to be a third, of our lives in this period.
How do I know if I am perimenopausal?
As you can see from the above information, recognising if we’re menopausal or post-menopausal is a little simpler than understanding if we are going through the perimenopause because the latter have reasonably straightforward symptoms to look out for regarding your last period.
As a general guide, the average age women begin the perimenopause in their 40s, however some of us will start earlier than this and some of us will be in our 50s.
The symptoms of the perimenopause are quite diverse, so I’ll go into detail about them in a moment, however I wanted to flag that you can get confirmation of the perimenopause with a blood test and assessment of your symptoms.
So, what are the symptoms of the perimenopause? I’m going to break them down into two lists of symptoms that are easily recognisable (you may have already noticed these) and those that can often get missed or put down to something else.
Easily recognisable perimenopause symptoms
I’m not finished with mood swings yet, oh no! In addition to the above, depleting oestrogen production impacts your production of serotonin aka your happy hormone.
As you can see, thus far the perimenopause is not kind. Ready to read on?
Less recognised signs of perimenopause
A study by Forth showed that 63% of the 1,000 women aged 45 plus surveyed found that their working life had been negatively impacted by their symptoms. 41% noted that their memory and concentration issues led them to make mistakes at work. These memory symptoms can cause us significant stress, which in turn can exacerbate the symptoms of the perimenopause.
As you can see, or possibly know from your own experiences, the road to menopause is not always an easy or a pleasant one. Hormonal fluctuations certainly have a lot to answer for and we can see, from what happens when we don’t have the right balance, how important they are to our physical and mental health and wellbeing both immediately and long-term.
Symptoms of the perimenopause can be noticed for the best part of a decade so if you are unhappy with the impact that they’re having on you, there are ways of managing them. After all, if your Thyroid had a deficiency in the amount of Thyroxin hormone it secretes, most of us would decide to treat it, right?
Additionally, the use of all types of HTR currently available, including BHRT, can play a protective role in cardiovascular (heart) disease and osteoporosis which is a weakening of the bones due to a drop in oestrogen.
HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is traditionally used across the board by GPs to help ease symptoms and can be taken for as long as needed; your GP will go over the benefits of this therapy with you and discuss any potential risks for you to weigh up.
There is also the option of bio identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and body identical hormone replacement therapy. These are an alternative to traditional HRT.
So, there is light at the end of this long tunnel of possible menopausal symptoms! Did you discover any symptoms that surprised you?
If you would like to learn more about BHRT please contact our team at our Hertfordshire Clinic, we’d love to tell you more.
Please note that this blog post is not a diagnostic tool, instructional or offering personalised advice. If you have any health care concerns please seek advice from an appropriate professional.
Disclaimer: This blog is not to be used for diagnostic purposes. We are all unique which means that our results, recovery and suitability for any type of treatment will vary. Always seek the advice of a professional should you have any health or cosmetic concerns or to discuss treatments specifically for you.
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