What is perimenopause?

The natural menopause is said to be the day one year after your last natural menstrual period. The average age is 51 years in the UK. The perimenopause is the time before that, starting usually in the early to mid 40’s and lasting on average 4-7 years, but it can be longer. Your natural cycle changes, your ovaries start to produce less oestrogen and progesterone and this causes changes in your body.

Oestrogen receptors are everywhere, so your symptoms can vary. It can be hard to put your finger on what is wrong when oestrogen falls, and some symptoms are quite unusual! You may be noticing things are changing in your body, but may be distracted juggling family, relationship, children, parents and work so it’s not usual to wait some time before seeking help and before joining the dots between all the symptoms. Many women put their symptoms down to pressure of life, or to stress, or even to thinking that they are going mad, which of course is not true, but is something we hear often.

The ovaries do not come to a slow graceful stop as they run out of eggs, prepare to stop ovulating and stop producing hormones in a natural cyclical way. Some months they might ovulate and produce these hormones, and other months they may not, so periods could become closer together then further apart, maybe skipping a few months. Consequently periods can be light or can come as a surprise, after a long gap, with very heavy with flooding. If your bleeding is very heavy please click this link to read about how to help this.

Hormone levels can yoyo during perimenopause, so symptoms can come and go. Some women sail through it and feel well, and other women do not, they need help. Don’t worry it you need help, there are lots of things we can do. The list of symptoms can be quite overwhelming, but please be assured that seeing a menopause specialist or your GP early, is the best thing to do, there is no need to wait and battle on through, without support and advice.

This podcast is great to listen to if you’d like to know more information about perimenopause. This podcast covers lots of questions about menopause.

This is a guide to print off and take to your GP if you need help with that first appointment.

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