Seven signs you’re going through the perimenopause

Are you noticing changes to the way you feel or your body and mind work? Discover seven signs you could be going through the perimenopause.

Menopause often gets billed as something that happens to “older women”, usually expected around the 50s. But a little known fact, is that the gateway to menopause, known as perimenopause, often starts much sooner, sometimes even as early as 35.

As many of us are having children in our 30s and 40s, menopausal symptoms are often overlooked or attributed to postpartum or menstrual issues, but it’s very possible you may already be on the menopause journey.

What makes it even trickier, is that many of the signs and symptoms of menopause look the same as PMS – because it’s the same group of hormones driving us crazy! The key is to look for changes in when your hormones are fluctuating, how much and how frequently.  

1) Irregular periods

The disruption of your menstrual cycle can be caused by lots of things, but you may have noticed that your once clockwork-like periods have become irregular, heavier, or lighter than usual. It’s like your body’s saying, this is it, we are closing for business!

2) Mood swings

You know those rollercoaster mood swings that make you want to laugh, cry, and shout, all within a 10-minute window? Usually, they’re just around the time of your period, but maybe you feel a little more agitated, erratic or low… all month long.

This could be another sign that your hormones are spiking and dropping at a rapid speed, another key sign of entering peri-menopause. This is often referred to as meno-rage. 

3) Hot flashes

You’re just going about your day, and then – BAM! – you’re hit by a wave of heat, making you feel like you’re sitting in a sauna fully clothed. Hot flashes are one of the most common and uncomfortable symptoms, and probably the one you’ve heard most about. 

4) Sleep issues

Good sleep becomes elusive. Whether it’s falling asleep or staying asleep, a sound night’s rest could feel like a thing of the past. Don’t just toss and turn; this is a signal to adjust your wellness routine and look at new ways to help you relax and destress before bedtime. 

5) Reduced libido

If your sex drive has suddenly hit the brakes, it’s not just you, and it’s not just ‘a phase.’ Lower levels of estrogen can make you feel less frisky and less likely to be interested in sex, which can make intimacy feel like a chore.

6) Vaginal dryness

Less talked about but equally serious issue is vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy. The decline in estrogen affects the natural lubrication of your intimate areas, and this can lead to discomfort or even pain during sex, and in extreme cases, can cause issues in your daily life because of extreme discomfort and itching. This in turn, can make you even less interested in sex. Fear not ladies, there are so many remedies to help!

7) Cognitive changes and brain fog

If you’re feeling a bit foggy or having frequent moments of forgetfulness, this could be a sign. Many women report a decline in cognitive function during peri-menopause, often described as ‘brain fog.’  

Perimenopause can start earlier than you think

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms and you’re in your late 30s or early 40s, it might not just be the standard stress of adulting. Perimenopause can start earlier than you think, and it’s essential to talk to a healthcare provider for proper testing, diagnosis and treatment.

So instead of dismissing these changes, consider them a heads-up, a little nudge from your body, saying it’s time to focus on and take care of YOU. 

Cheryl MacDonald is an expert in yoga, women’s wellness and hormonal balance, pregnancy, birth, motherhood and running a successful business. She has over 25 years of experience in the benefits of yoga, mindfulness and birth preparation.

Her book YogaPause – what women need to know after 40 and why yoga is the answer is available from Amazon for £14.97