You don't need to have a change in your periods to be perimenopausal
A lot of women don't really know about Perimenopause.
Unlike periods, pregnancy and childbirth, the ending of a woman's reproductive years does not get as much attention.
Even doctors don't always recognise it.
So what is it?
Perimenopause is the time when our hormone levels begin to change and fluctuate because we are starting the transition towards menopause (the ending of our periods)
The symptoms can be subtle at first and look a lot like other conditions. Which is part of what makes it under-recognised.
Your hormone blood tests are usually normal in the perimenopause
Remember back when you first started your periods? They probably took a while to settle down and become regular. The first year is the most 'clumsy' time, as the brain and ovarian hormones try to find their monthly timing.
For some unfortunate women, this hormonal signalling never settles down and they can suffer with unpredictable, heavy or painful periods for their whole reproductive life.
The ending of our periods can be just as clumsy as the beginning - sometimes even worse.
The hormones don't just stop one day - they fluctuate. There can be sudden surges, followed by sudden drops and the nice monthly rhythm starts to get lost.
All these hormonal ups and downs can cause havoc. Mentally and physically.
The early symptoms can include any of the following:
- Brain Fog
- Mood changes, especially anxiety.
- Trouble sleeping
- Skin changes (dryness, acne etc)
- Reduced sex drive
- Muscle and Joint aches/pains
It is still possible to get pregnant when you are Perimenopausal
Even though your periods can become very erratic and spaced out during the perimenopause, you may still become pregnant and so contraception is still needed during this time.
HRT is NOT a form of contraception (unless you are using a Mirena Coil as part of your HRT)