Period Limbo: Major Signs You've Hit Perimenopause

BY MELISSEA ROWE - September is Menopause Awareness Month! And although this may not be a particularly sexy cause, it’s no doubt an important period (no pun intended!) in a woman’s life.

We all know menopause doesn’t happen overnight. It can feel like a long, drawn-out process with you asking yourself every other month -- are we done yet?! But the journey to this important milestone is a bumpy one, which is why it has its own special name, perimenopause.

Perimenopause is a gradual process that happens when the ovaries start making less estrogen. It usually lasts about four years, but can continue on for ten. (and ten years of anything is pretty awful). If you’re unsure whether you’re going through it, here are the top three signs you’ve officially entered, what many call, ‘period limbo’.

1. Irregular periods
For most women, the first sign of perimenopause is when irregular periods start. You may skip periods entirely or they may just be lighter than usual. But according to doctors, you’ve ‘officially’ hit menopause when you haven’t had a period for a full 12 months. It's all so touch and go!

2. You suddenly have hot flashes
Let’s face it, none of us would have a problem with hot flashes if they burned off some unwanted fat in the long-run. But all we end up with are sweaty pits and frizzy hair. And hot flashes can be downright embarrassing. Everyone will know you’re having one when your face turns bright red and you’ve got beads of sweat rolling off your forehead. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to avoid hot flashes during perimenopause. But stay away from triggers, such as stress, alcohol and spicy foods. Using fans and wearing loose-fitting clothes will also help.   henlit

3. Decrease in sex drive

Natural hormonal changes can impact sexual desire or arousal. When your estrogen levels decline, you lose bone strength and density. This can not only lead to bladder infections and incontinence, but painful intercourse and a lack of sex drive too. Many doctors say perimenopause also brings about a radical decrease in fertility. But don’t assume this means you can’t become pregnant! While it’s true you have fewer eggs than younger women, all it takes it one!

Navigating the ‘Period Limbo’
You don’t have to go through perimenopause looking like a hot mess. A few simple tips will help you navigate through it:

-Manage symptoms with a healthy, nutritious diet 
-Incorporate exercise or any physical activity into your daily routine (that's what dogs are for!) 
-Make getting enough sleep a top priority 
-Choose all-natural remedies to manage symptoms, instead of treatments like hormone replacement therapy (which comes with its own risks) 
-Make time for romance with your partner to get your sex drive back (this could be a post of its own!)

So, can anything good come out of perimenopause? I bet! Say good-bye to periods, birth control and PMS!

In the meantime, think of this time as your own ‘personal summer’. Unless you’ve had your ovaries removed, it’s inevitable you’ll go through this stage too. As the saying goes -- ‘Chin up, or the crown will fall’. So stay healthy, think positive, and you’ll get through perimenopause like the queen you are! 

“Literally one moment you’re fine, and then another, you feel like you’re in a vat of boiling water, and you feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you — especially the first experience. What I would say, which I’ve said to myself and to girlfriends who’ve also experienced hot flashes, in particular, is that change is part of being human. We evolve and should not fear that change. You’re not alone. I feel that part of living this long is experiencing this, so I’m trying to turn it into a very positive thing for myself, which it has been, in the sense of acceptance and tolerance and education about this time of life.” -Kim Cattrall

Here are some recommended links I've found useful on this journey: 

Best Health Magazine: The Top 10 Quiet Signs You're In Perimenopause
Calm Clinic: How to Handle Anxiety During Perimenopause
Doctor Oz: Conquering Perimenopause
Global Healing Center: 11 Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Health Harvard: Perimenopause: The Rocky Road to Menopause
Mayo Clinic: Perimenopause Symptoms and Causes
Medicine Net: Perimenopause - Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Menopause Matters Today: What Stage of Perimenopause Are You In?
Menopause Now: 4 Natural Remedies for Treating Perimenopause
Meraki Lane: 19 Natural Remedies for Mood Swings and Weight Gain
My Second Spring: 8 Step Guide to Managing Perimenopause
The Perimenopause Blog: 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

Care to share any of yours?

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