What’s the difference between menopause and perimenopause?
Menopause marks the natural end of reproductive years when a woman has had no period for 12 consecutive months. The average age of menopause is the early 50s. Perimenopause is the transition period leading up to menopause. Usually, it occurs in women in their mid-to-late 40s (sometimes as early as their 30s). Perimenopause can last from 2-10 years.
Perimenopause is the time when women start to experience hormonal changes. Progesterone is usually the first to drop before changes in estrogen and testosterone. And the issue is not so much in hormones declining but more in imbalances between these hormones. It’s important to know that each woman’s experience through this stage of life is unique. The type and severity of symptoms will depend on her genetics, body composition, lifestyle, and cultural conditioning.
What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
The symptoms vary, but most women experience at least one of the following:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flushes
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
However, perimenopause doesn’t have to be all bad.
Knowledge is power; the more you are prepared for what’s going to happen, the easier this transition will be
The better shape you are in physically, mentally, nutritionally, and metabolically going into this transition, the smoother this journey will be.
How to prepare for perimenopause?
Perimenopause can be a challenging time, but to help go through this transformation time, you can consider some lifestyle changes:
- Tweak your diet – make sure you eat enough protein and fibre. Limit caffeine and alcohol.
- Prioritise strength training – strength training will prevent loss of muscle mass and improve your bone density. It will improve your joint stability, which will help to prevent injuries as you get older, plus improve cognitive brain function.
- Embrace stress management techniques – when you find yourself struggling mentally or emotionally, consider things like meditation, deep breathing and/or walks in nature.
- Establish better sleep habits – sleep problems are one of the most common perimenopause symptoms. To improve your sleep, avoid screens before bed and introduce relaxing bedtime routine.
- Take care of your heart – a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as controlling your stress and weight and not smoking go a long way toward a healthy heart.
- Do your Kegels – as with other muscles your pelvic floor muscle are going to get weaker with age and they also need strengthening, so make sure you are doing your pelvic floor exercises. And go to see a Women’s Health Physio if you have any issues.
While your body won’t be the same at 40 or 50 as it was at 25, that’s OK. Furthermore, it can still be strong and capable, especially with the right nurturing and self-care.
Don’t regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many
For more information please contact your local MumSafe trainer.