Hot flashes, anxiety, and mood swings are all common signs you’re heading into menopause, the time when your periods stop for good.
For many women, the transition to menopause isn’t always a smooth one. If you’re experiencing symptoms that disrupt your life or make you feel out of control, board-certified gynecologists Martin Pakideh, DO, and Soudabeh Ahadi, MD, can help.
What you need to know about perimenopause
Menopause is the natural end to your child-bearing years. After your periods stop for good for 12 consecutive months, you’re considered to be in your post-menopausal years.
The transition to no more periods can begin as early as your late 30s and last up to 10 years before you finally reach menopause. This transitional period is referred to as perimenopause. During this time, your body decreases its production of reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogen.
Because these hormones play a role in regulating many of your body’s systems, such as body temperature and sexual health, the loss of hormones can produce noticeable symptoms.
Some women transition to menopause without noticing any unusual symptoms, while others develop symptoms so severe, it compromises their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Signs you may be in perimenopause
As your hormone levels begin to decline, you may first notice changes in your period. They may become lighter or heavier than usual and eventually you may start missing periods or bleeding in between your periods.
Other common symptoms associated with perimenopause include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and mood swings
- Sudden weight changes
- Urinary incontinence
Many women also experience changes in their libido. Their desire for sex decreases, and vaginal dryness makes sexual intercourse painful.
As you lose more estrogen, your risk for osteoporosis (loss of bone density) increases, as does your risk for other long-term health complications like heart disease.
If you’re struggling under the weight of perimenopause symptoms, there are things you can do to feel better.
5 tips for surviving perimenopause
There are several things you can do for yourself to better manage your transition to menopause. The team at Monroe OBGYN recommends:
1.Getting more exercise
Daily exercise not only helps you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, it helps your body release endorphins – your natural feel-good hormones.
Regular exercise also reduces your risk for heart disease and other long-term health complications.
2. Eating healthy
You are what you eat is more than just a saying. What you put in your body matters and can affect your overall health.
There are many foods that help you keep your hormones balanced and protect you from osteoporosis and other health issues. Opt for more fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce your intake of sugar, salt, and processed foods.
3. Improving your sleep habits
Getting high quality sleep may be difficult when you’re going through perimenopause, especially if you have night sweats.
Do your best to stick to a bedtime routine every night by going to bed and waking up around the same time. You should also unplug from all electronics at least an hour before bed to help you fall into a deeper, more restful sleep.
4. Practice mindful relaxation
Symptoms of perimenopause can be overwhelming. Trust that the transition to menopause is completely natural and learn breathing exercises that help refresh and relax you.
Yoga, meditation, and making self-care a priority can all help improve your physical and mental health.
5. Ask about hormone therapy
If you have moderate to severe symptoms that relate to perimenopause, you may benefit from hormone replacement therapy. The goal of this treatment is to restore balance in your hormone levels with the use of synthetic hormones that work like your natural hormones. Once hormones are rebalanced, many of your symptoms will go away.
You don’t have to suffer through perimenopause symptoms alone. For help, schedule a consultation with the team at Monroe OBGYN online or by calling the office today.