Monday 18 September 2023



One day you are happily going about your business as normal and then all of a sudden you feel this rush of heat radiate throughout your body. You wonder if you are coming down with something but as quick as it came, the strange warmth has calmed down and everything is ok again.  Have you considered it could be the start of perimenopause?

Most women experience hot flushes during their cycle but as we get to a certain age, they may become more frequent and more intense.  It is one of the most recognised perimenopause symptoms. Did you know there are many more symptoms you may not recognise as being linked to your hormones?

What is menopause?

Menopause is actually only one day. It is the 356th day since your last period.  You need to have gone 12 months without your period to be classed as having gone through menopause. From day 366, you are classed as post-menopause.

Why does it happen?

It is a natural transition.  It is caused by depleting Estrogen and Progesterone levels. It can also begin after surgery (hysterectomy) This is known as surgical menopause.

So why do most women experience symptoms and still have a period?

This phase is called perimenopause.  This can last from a few months to 10 years. This is when the majority of the symptoms will present themselves. 

What age will this happen?

This is different for every woman.  The average age for menopause is 51. This means Perimenopause can happen from 41 years old and onwards. We are told perimenopause happens between the age of 45-55 and the early menopause happens between 40-45.  However, for some women, it happens before the age of 40. This is known as premature ovarian failure.

What symptoms should I look out for?

Prepare yourself for this one.  There can be over 30 symptoms of perimenopause. They will vary from woman to woman and will also vary in severity. The most common symptoms are:

Hot flushes
Mood swings
change in cycle (frequency)
change in flow (lighter or heavier)
Lack of libido

There are many more. Here is an example of a symptom checklist.

How should I approach my doctor if I think I am Perimenopausal?

First thing you should do is make a note of all your symptoms. Track these for a couple of months. You can then take the diary to your doctor.  You should also take a completed menopause checklist with you too.

Your doctor may recommend blood tests to rule out any other issues (deficiencies or thyroid issues) They may also send you for a FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This is controversial as the FSH blood does not fully rule out menopause.  This is because the hormones fluctuate wildly during that time.

Your doctor will talk to you about your options.  You can try HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or you may opt for the natural route. HRT is now body identical, meaning it is similar to what your body produces already.

Is there anything else I can do?
You can join support groups on Facebook, I recommend Menopausing and Me which is a wonderful support group. There are many books on menopause. My book recommendations are:

If you would like to find out more about menopause, click here

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