“Well, I for one can’t wait for menopause. Do you realise how free it would be not to have periods,” said Miranda in Sex and The City episode. If only she had hinted at the rocky road to the freeing end! Hot flashes, decreased libido, irregular periods and what not, there’s so much to deal with before finally hitting full stop on periods. The medical world calls it perimenopause and we’re here to give you all the deets on what to expect during this stage. Take a look:
What Is Perimenopause?
While menopause is a fairly common term, not many people are aware of what perimenopause means. For the unversed, perimenopause means “around menopause”. It refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. It is also known as the menopausal transition.
What Is The Difference Between Perimenopause & Menopause?
Perimenopause refers to the time of transition before menopause. It ends in a menopause. It is marked by a drop in estrogen, the main female hormone produced by the ovaries. The estrogen levels can also go up and down more sporadically than they do in a typical 28-day cycle. This can cause irregular periods and other symptoms. Menopause kicks in when the ovaries produce so little estrogen that eggs no longer get released. This causes your period to stop. You officially enter the menopause club when you don’t get your period for 12 months straight.
When Can Perimenopause Affect You?
Hormonal changes leading up to the end of your periods can start eight-ten years ahead of menopause. According to a 2016 study, the average age at which a woman hits menopause is 46.2 in India and 51 in the United States. Going by this number, one can enter the perimenopause stage during their 30s-40s.
Causes Of Early Perimenopause
Hitting menopause before the age of 40 is considered as premature menopause. This means experiencing perimenopause in your 30s is considered to be early. Anything earlier than that is possible but very rare. Now, there are a host of factors that can lead to early perimenopause. Take a look at the most common causes:
-Chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer
-Surgery that removes your ovaries
-Surgery that removes your uterus (hysterectomy)
-Getting your first period before age 11
-Chromosomal abnormalities like Fragile X or Turner’s syndrome
-Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease or thyroid disease
-Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
-Having HIV or AIDS
-Infections like mumps
What Are The First Signs Of Perimenopause?
There are two stages to the perimenopause or menopausal transition: the early transition, where cycles are mostly regular, with relatively few interruptions. This is followed by stage two, wherein amenorrhea (absence of period) becomes more prolonged and lasts for at least 60 days. Now, the initial stage of perimenopause may not cause any extreme changes in the body and you might not notice any symptoms. However, it may make your periods irregular or cause hot flashes (rarely).
Signs & Symptoms Of Perimenopause
The drop in your estrogen levels during perimenopause can manifest as a host of symptoms. Here are some of the most obvious and common signs of perimenopause:
-Worse premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before periods
-Unexplained weight gain or loss
-Difficult in Concentrating
-Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
How Long Does Perimenopause Last?
Perimenopause may begin as early as eight-ten years before your periods finally end. Its symptoms become more intense as you near menopause. However, you may experience perimenopause-like symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, headache, loss of libido, and unexplained weight gain or loss a few years post menopause as well.
Can You Get Pregnant During Perimenopause?
Even though the drop in estrogen levels can make you less fertile, it is possible to get pregnant during perimenopause. As long as you have a period, you can still get pregnant.
How To Take Care Of Yourself During Perimenopause
Dealing with the transition from getting your periods to finally bidding them goodbye can be a tad bit confusing. But here’s how you can take care of yourself during perimenopause to make your life easier:
Heat Therapy For Period Pain
If you experience severe period pain during perimenopause, applying heat on the area in pain can help you a great deal. You can use a hot water bottle or a heat patch to lower inflammation and boost blood circulation for some much-needed relief from period pain.
Keep Stress At Bay
Stress leads to the production of the cortisol hormone in the body. This is the root cause of most hormonal imbalances and it can aggravate or trigger symptoms of perimenopause. However, getting seven-eight hours of sound sleep, taking breaks from work, exercising regularly, and indulging in your favourite hobbies can help keep stress at bay. This in turn can boost your mood and help you battle fatigue and mood swings during perimenopause.
Consuming a balanced diet full of green-leafy veggies, fresh fruits, pulses, whole grains, and dairy can prevent nutritional deficiencies. This in turn can take the edge off the symptoms of perimenopause. So eat healthy and take regular blood tests to identify any deficiencies. Don’t forget to start consuming doc-recommended health supplements to cover up for it.
Keep Period Products Handy
Since perimenopause can make your periods irregular, make sure to keep a comfortable period product handy at all times. You can also wear a panty liner to manage a light flow or spotting.
Sirona Recommends Best Products To Manage Perimenopause
Sirona Feminine Pain Relief Patch
You can ditch your painkillers and count on Sirona’s Feminine Pain Relief Patch to reduce period pain during perimenopause. Sticking this sleek patch can provide instant relief from pain without causing any side-effects. That’s because it is made with natural pain-relieving ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus oil. It is easy to carry and stays effective for eight-ten hours.
Sirona Pain-Relief Heat Patch
Made with 100% natural ingredients, The Pain Relief Heat Patch by Sirona is the perfect, side effect free alternative to dealing with period cramps during perimenopause. Sticking this patch on your abdomen can work like a soothing balm. These portable wonders can provide heat relief for up to eight hours straight and can be disposed of easily after each use. No hot-water-bottle hassles involved!
Sirona Herbal Headache Relief Patch
Stress and hormonal changes can manifest as a full-fledged headaches during perimenopause. But instead of popping painkillers, you can count on Sirona’s Herbal Headache Relief Patch for instant relief. Packed with the goodness of menthol, camphor, and clove oil, they’re a much-needed break from messy balms with a burning sensation.
Sirona Feminine Cramp Relief Roll On
The Sirona Cramp Relief Roll On can be used on your lower back, abdomen, and legs. Packed with all-natural ingredients like lavender oil, clove oil, cinnamon, and eucalyptus, it helps relieve period pain during perimenopause. It’s calming aroma helps relax your muscles and the smooth roll-on application makes it convenient to use. No side-effects, no pain!
Sirona Dry Comfort Panty Liner
Sirona’s Dry Comfort Panty Liners are just what you need to manage spotting or light period flow during perimenopause. They provide protection from staining if you get a light period unexpectedly. Made with ultra-soft cotton, they’re breathable and wafer-thin. So you can step out feeling confident and comfortable at the same time.
We hope that these products help you prep for perimenopause and deal with it without feeling clueless or confused. All the best!
Featured Image: Pexels
How to deal with menopause?: Here’s how to bid farewell to your periods like a boss.
Menopause Weight Gain: Here’s why menopause makes you gain weight and what to do.
Hot Flashes During Menopause: Hot flashes during menopause troubling you? Here’s what to do.
Vaginal Dryness Causes & Symptoms: Everything you need to know about vaginal dryness and how to combat it.