What is Perimenopause?

Peri-menopause literally means “around” the menopause. Perimenopause symptoms can start a few months before a woman becomes menopausal to as far back as 8 to 10 years prior to her menopause. Women start experiencing mild to moderate signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalances years before they reach their menopause. One of the very first perimenopause symptoms women start noticing are changes to their sleep pattern and mood which could be transient or more persistent. As this time of life usually coincides with increasing professional, family and social responsibilities the link between the emergence of these symptoms and existence of a hormonal imbalance is often missed.

Symptoms of Peri-menopause

Perimenopause symptoms can begin from any time in our late 30s when we can have anovulatory menstrual cycles. This means that we do not ovulate every time we have a period. This can result in reduced progesterone levels. Since this is the hormone which helps regulate emotions and also helps with maintenance of sleep, these symptoms can begin.

Sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing. If we haven’t had a good night sleep, we often feel irritable and easily overwhelmed during the day. Hormonal imbalances can have a negative effect on our stress management and production of other hormones like thyroid hormone.

Perimenopause symptoms can include sleep disturbance, mood changes like increasing anxiety, low mood or depression, irritability, achiness in joints and muscles and water retention and breast tenderness.