Monday, October 8, 2012

What Does Perimenopause Mean?

You may think you were going crazy at first. Your body seems to be working against you and your mind isn't far behind. Be assured there is nothing wrong, it’s just a stage of life called perimenopause, and this may be your time.

For hundreds, even thousands, of years, women's health was neglected and led to early death in many cases. 

But in this new enlightened age, the importance of women’s health has put issues like perimenopause on the front burner. 

Now, not only do women understand their bodies better, but health care practitioners are taking women's issues more seriously.

What is Perimenopause:

Perimenopause is the transitional stage between reproduction and menopause. We all know about menopause. You may have lived through the turmoil with your mother or grandmother. 

The topic may not have been discussed in those days, but you know something was happening and things weren't quite “normal” anymore. There were mood swings, cooling fans, even tweezers kept handy.

This period can be a worrisome time for women. 

The perimenopause stage can last for a few years or even ten to fifteen years before it is officially declared you have entered menopause. 

The length of time depends on the individual woman. 

Perimenopause is to be taken seriously since the symptoms can be of concern for many years and at times can be debilitating.

What Happens During Perimenopause:

During perimenopause you will still have a menstrual cycle, albeit erratic. 

You may have been on a regular cycle of every 28 to 30 days during your reproductive stage. During perimenopause you might get a period every 14 days or every 60 days, and then again not for 6 months. 

Changes in hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone can be blamed for this sketchy cycle, as well as other symptoms experienced by women who are in the perimenopause stage.

Officially, perimenopause is not over until a woman has gone twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period. It is crucial to know this because there are many “late in life” children born to parents who thought that perimenopause was actually menopause. 

These two stages in a woman's life are very different.

Birth control is still highly recommended during perimenopause. Because the menstrual cycle is so erratic, there is no guarantee when fertility is occurring, how often, or if all. 

In other words, you can get pregnant during perimenopause.

What Causes Perimenopause?

The answer is simple. Nothing really causes it. Just like nothing causes puberty. 

The body transitions into different stages throughout life. 

Perimenopause occurs as we move from our reproductive years to our non-reproductive years. There is no mystery, just patience as we move through this stage.

Perimenopause is likened to puberty by many. This is with good reason. 

The hormonal fluctuation is similar as are the symptoms. 

Perimenopause Symptoms:  

  • Erratic periods
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping disturbances 
  • Blemishes

Many women report similar feelings during perimenopause as during puberty and knowing that, just like puberty, this is temporary.

Perimenopause can be a scary time for women. Even though we're still visiting the “feminine protection” aisle in the store, we can't be sure when, or if, our next period will arrive. 

Along with that, you are experiencing:

  • Hot flashes 
  • Night sweats
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Irritability
  • Confusion 
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • Sometimes even pimples

Take heart; this stage is temporary, just like puberty. 

A healthy, Nutritional Diet including herbs can ease your symptoms.   
  • Black Cohosh
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Dong Quai
  • Ginseng
  • Red Clover
  • Soy

With understanding and some tender-loving-care, you'll get through this stage and be ready for the next!

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