Dont let menopause or perimenous SUCK
Are you struggling to make sense of the symptoms of menopause? You could be in the perimenopause or menopause phase if you’re in your 40s or 50s. The common side effects of this life stage include irritability, moodiness, and sleepless, sweat-drenched nights.
Some believe that this phase only occurs in much older women. Others are of the opinion that it’s all downhill when you reach this period. Neither of these statements is necessarily true.
The good news is that it’s not a life sentence. Additionally, not everyone experiences the symptoms of menopause in the same way.
Continue reading to learn more about this life-changing stage. Find out what to expect and how to not let it suck.
Perimenopause vs. menopause
Perimenopause and menopause are commonly referred to as the “change of life” stages. They signal a transition phase in a woman’s body and ultimately in life.
Some women compare this period to puberty. Several symptoms of menopause are similar to those that appear when you’re an adolescent. The irregular menstrual cycles and fatigue can remind you of your teen years. You may even encounter some dreaded pimples.
Let’s examine what happens during this “change of life” phase.
Perimenopause means “around menopause” and is also known as “the menopausal transition.”
During this time, a woman’s reproductive abilities draw to a close. It’s similar to puberty, as it marks the end of a stage in your life. Perimenopause ends one year after your final menstrual cycle.
The start of this period differs from one woman to another. It typically occurs in your 40s, but for some, it may start in their 30s. The symptoms of perimenopause could stay around for years if they present early.
Fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels during perimenopause cause irregular menstrual cycles. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual, and some may not result in ovulation.
Most women typically experience menopause between the ages of 45 to 55. These time frames aren’t precise, as the “change of life” stage can be very unpredictable. The same is true for the symptoms of menopause.
Your health and various genetic factors influence the start of this phase. Early menopause can occur in women with an abnormality in their chromosomes. Autoimmune disorders are another factor. Surgically removing ovaries for health reasons can also trigger menopause.
Menopause occurs gradually and mainly presents as menstrual cycle changes. It’s caused by a loss of the function of your ovarian follicles. This means they no longer release eggs for fertilization.
As this function ceases, so does menstruation. Menopause marks 12 consecutive months without a monthly period.
Pregnancy is no longer possible when your reproductive years come to a close. Fertility treatments could still allow you to conceive. These include donor eggs and frozen embryos.
Symptoms indicating the “change of life” phase
The symptoms of menopause and perimenopause are very similar. Your age and the presence of a menstrual cycle typically determine the difference.
Below are the most common side effects.
Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a sudden onset of heat. They emanate from your neck and chest area, then make its way to your face, leaving you looking flushed. You may experience hot flashes at any time of the day or night.
Some last for a few seconds and others for a couple of minutes. At night, hot flashes can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling sweaty. Some women are also known to have accompanying heart palpitations.
The intensity of hot flashes can impact your daily routine. It’s not entirely clear what the causes of this condition are.
Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. They’re not as frequent during perimenopause. The good news is they will end.
Look out for specific triggers. Some women have more intense hot flashes when they consume certain foods or drinks.
Erratic menstrual cycle
The time between your monthly cycle can either become longer or shorter. Its duration also varies, while the flow can be heavy or light.
Some women experience menorrhagia during menopause. It’s a menstrual flow that lasts a few days and consists of heavy bleeding. Depending on the severity and the associated pain, you may find it hard to perform your daily tasks.
In some instances, you may even skip your period for a month or two. Remember, perimenopause only ends when you don’t menstruate for a full year.
The varying levels of estrogen and progesterone are the cause of irregular periods. You may also experience the resurgence of acne. Another throwback to your puberty days.
Serotonin levels typically drop when there’s a reduction in estrogen. A change in the former impacts your mood. There’s a chance you could develop mental health issues, even if you’ve never had problems before.
A University of Pennsylvania study found that women with no history of depression may develop it during menopause. The risk factor increases by up to four times during this stage.
Sometimes, a change in mood may relate to other factors besides hormones. For instance, a lack of sleep due to hot flashes could contribute to irritability and anxiety.
Vaginal dryness and bladder conditions
Decreased estrogen levels make some women more susceptible to bladder or vaginal problems. A drop in this hormone could also leave your vagina less lubricated. Low estrogen levels are also responsible for reduced elasticity in the vaginal tissue.
Here are some commonly reported conditions:
- Incontinence. Some women experience a leakage of urine when they sneeze, cough, or laugh. This condition results from the thinning of the urethra’s lining. It’s the tube responsible for emptying the bladder.
- Urge incontinence. This condition causes you to have the desire to pee immediately. There’s no forewarning, so it can result in you not reaching the bathroom in time.
- Nocturia. Waking up many times during the night with an urge to urinate could point towards nocturia.
In some cases, menopause isn’t the main reason for these conditions. Vaginal birth and age are also said to play a role. Diabetes and multiple sclerosis are other contributors to poor bladder function.
Decreased sex drive
Increased sexual activity stimulates blood flow, which benefits the vaginal tissue. The desire for sexual intercourse may diminish during menopause.
Disrupted sleep and mood swings could be the reason for this change. Vaginal dryness is another factor. Uncomfortable sex won’t enhance your sex drive.
It’s not the end of the road. Certain products, like lubricants and vaginal moisturizers, could improve your sex life.
There’s no reason to worry if you had a satisfactory sex life before menopause. It can most likely continue during and after this phase, too.
Bone loss and joint pain
A decline in estrogen may increase the chances of osteoporosis. This condition causes your bones to lose some of their tissue. They become brittle and delicate.
With age, you may also develop weak joints. Combined with hormonal imbalances, menopausal bursitis is possible. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae. These liquid-filled sacs protect the anatomy around your joints. Estrogen plays a huge role in reducing inflammation.
It’s common to experience this type of joint pain in your hips, heels, shoulders, elbows, and knees. Some women also report aches at the base of their big toe.
Not every woman experiences weight gain during the “change of life” stage. Like many other symptoms of menopause, it varies from one woman to another.
During early perimenopause, the ovaries typically produce a huge amount of estrogen. Increased levels of this hormone could contribute to gaining extra kilos.
Estrogen levels drop drastically during menopause. They may also lead to increased weight, specifically in the stomach area.
Increased cholesterol levels
Decreased levels of estrogen affect your cholesterol. They also influence changes in your metabolism. Together, these factors impact your lipid profile.
Your lipid panel, among others, includes “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Hormone imbalances may lead to an increase in the “bad” and a decrease in the “good.” A shift in these two levels could increase the risk of heart disease.
Tests to determine cholesterol during menopause aren’t done regularly. Discuss it with your physician if you have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol.
Lapse of memory
Forgetfulness is another symptom of menopause. Whether absent-mindedness is directly related to menopause isn’t entirely clear. Other factors, like a lack of sleep and anxiety, may also be the cause. In general, most people’s memory wanes with time.
We can again attribute this symptom to a drop in estrogen levels. This hormone plays an important role in the functioning of the brain and is shown to affect your memory.
How to manage the symptoms of menopause
The symptoms of menopause vary in intensity and duration from one woman to another. Experts aren’t sure about the reasoning behind this phenomenon. Some believe that it’s connected to the person’s lifestyle.
You may feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride when you experience these symptoms. There’s no need to panic. Remain steady during this turbulent period with a range of naturopathic options.
Below are a few ways to manage the side effects of menopause naturally.
Following a healthy diet is always a good idea, irrespective of your condition. Monitor your reactions to each meal. There may be certain foods or drinks that trigger symptoms.
Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms of menopause and your diet:
- Hot flashes: Some women find alcohol and coffee activate their hot flashes. Others have discovered that hot and spicy foods trigger this symptom.
- Bone loss: A calcium-rich diet could strengthen your bones and prevent bone loss. Consider including milk, cheese, and yogurt in your daily intake.
- Weight gain: Making vegetables part of your daily food plan may limit weight gain. Certain ones assist with bone health, leading to reduced menopause joint pain. Avoid carbs, as your body finds them harder to process due to a slower metabolism. These foods include pasta, potatoes, and rice.
- Cholesterol: Consuming lean meat may control your cholesterol levels. It also reportedly benefits bone density and weight management.
Daily exercise is as important as a healthy diet, whatever age or life stage you’re in.
Consult your doctor before embarking on any form of exercise. It’s especially important if you have an existing health condition.
Those diagnosed with osteoporosis may need to avoid weight training. The same applies to women with menopause joint pain. Low-impact cardio is a more suitable choice.
An exercise regime can assist with many menopause symptoms. It may reduce cholesterol, maintain weight, prevent heart disease, and enhance your mood.
Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may assist with certain mood disorders. This option is ideal if you’re unable to shake anxiety or depression.
CBT is considered a natural option that assists with psychological healing. It’s somewhat similar to exercise and acupuncture. You learn various techniques to help you deal with day-to-day stress. They include recommended actions to handle unexpected hot flashes away from home.
You may develop negative thought patterns about aging and menopause. This mindset can lead to disrupted sleep. CBT may help you correct this problem.
A study concluded that acupuncture is a safe procedure for women with menopause. It reflected a reduction in symptoms of hot flashes, mood swings, and disrupted sleep.
Acupuncture may also assist with blood flow. Since it lowers your blood pressure, it could reduce fatigue. This form of treatment is well known for alleviating pain. It may also stimulate the nervous system, releasing endorphins that relieve discomfort.
Experts believe that acupuncture assists with regulating the levels of endocrine hormones. As a result, it may prevent osteoporosis and increase bone density.
Other lifestyle changes
Besides the above-mentioned suggestions, you can implement other lifestyle changes, like:
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
- Rest as often as possible, especially if a good night’s sleep eludes you.
- Take up a new hobby or join a social club.
Schedule regular annual check-ups with a gynecologist. Your doctor will alert you to any physiological changes during these visits.
Seek medical advice outside of a check-up for the following reasons:
- If you’re younger than 45 years and are experiencing symptoms of menopause. A medical practitioner may need to perform tests to make an accurate diagnosis.
- If you bleed between menstrual cycles.
- If you bleed post-menopause.
- If your symptoms disrupt your daily routine and cause difficulty working, moving, or sleeping.
Bioidenticals: A natural alternative
Most of the symptoms of menopause relate to diminishing hormone levels. Wouldn’t it be great to address the problem at the source?
Well, there are treatments that could reduce or eliminate the symptoms. A popular option is hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
As previously mentioned, menopause results from an imbalance in certain hormones. The common ones are progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen.
HRT aims to ease the effects of menopause by replacing the diminishing hormone levels with bioidentical hormones. These compounds are extracted from plants and chemically similar to those your body makes.
Apart from bioidentical hormone therapy, you can also opt for herbal remedies. They’re available as creams, sprays, gels, pills, and vaginal inserts.
Bioidentical hormone therapy allows you to manage your hormone levels naturally.
Discuss how you can administer this form of therapy with one of our naturopathic doctors. You can consider all the pros and cons before commencing this treatment.
Like any other form of therapy, the results may vary from one person to another. These products may cause minor side effects. Some reactions include headaches, increased facial hair, and blurred vision.
The “change of life” doesn’t have to suck
Menopause is a life-changing stage. The symptoms of menopause can have a deep impact on your quality of life.
Many women report hot flashes, irregular cycles, and sleepless nights. Mood swings, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and joint pain are also common. As distressing as this phase may seem, you don’t have to let it suck the life out of you.
LIVV Natural is a naturopathic medical clinic. Our practitioners can assist you with various holistic treatment options for menopausal symptoms. We’re passionate about helping you achieve ultimate wellness.
Book a consultation with us today and discover your ideal natural health solution.
Author: Dr. Jason Phan NMD – Founder of LIVV Natural – Anti-aging – regenerative medicine – peptide therapy