Perimenopause – Are You Suffering Needlessly?
(AZ Networking News, Feb/March 2003 issue)
Many women suffer needlessly during this subtle yet dynamic phase of life. Have you forgotten where you placed your keys lately? Missed a lunch appointment? Locked your key in the car? Confused about where you placed those important papers? Subtle, or not so subtle, external changes in your life may be a reflection of greater internal hormonal changes in your body.
Perimenopause is the period before menopause, occurring as early as 7-10 years prior to “true” menopause (When the menses has stopped for 12 consecutive months). The average age of menopause occurs at 52 years of age, while the average onset of perimenopause, occurs at age 47. Although perimenopausal symptoms occur at an average duration of 4-5 years prior to menopause, the duration and severity of symptoms is different for each woman.
Perimenopause is a time of ovarian decline. That means the ovaries begin to down regulate with a subsequent slow reduction in estrogen and other reproductive hormones. It is a natural process that may take many years. Common, yet subtle signs may include: poor sleep, changes in memory or cognition, increased bladder infections, increased yeast infections; painful, heavy, or irregular menses; fatigue, decreased sex drive, headaches, and joint pain.
Although it is inevitable our body with change with time, poor sleep and menstrual irregularities does not have to be a pre-requisite for aging. Nor does aging require every woman to experience a mirage of distressing symptoms.
It is first important to identify if you are experiencing any perimenopausal symptoms. This may require you to keep a log of your daily experiences and ask others who you live or work with if they have observed any changes in your mood or behavior. If the above-mentioned signs and symptoms of perimenopause are affecting your daily routine or relationship, it is time to take action.
Conventional approaches to treating perimenopause may consist of drug hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other drug therapies including anti-depressants and other mood altering drugs. Common traditional drugs used in (HRT) have been shown to increase the risk of cancer, strokes, and blood clots and may not be necessary when lower-risk alternative counterparts may provide effective relief of symptoms. Mood altering medications may have many side effects associated with their use.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that a correct diagnosis is made, so that you can be treated effectively. This requires you to see a trained practioner who will take a thorough health history, utilize necessary laboratory tests, and make reasonable and safe recommendations.
There are many gentle, non-invasive, and safe approaches to support the body through the subtle changes leading up to menopause. Through individualized treatment and utilization of diet and nutrition, lifestyle modification, medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and many other additional therapies, perimenopause can be an empowering time of balanced transitions and healthy living.
Don’t suffer needlessly, identify if you are suffering with perimenopausal symptoms. If you are, take action!