Many women begin to experience symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, before their periods stop. If you feel confused as to why you're experiencing these symptoms when you're still getting your period you aren't alone! Most people don't know that menopause actually occurs in three phases: Perimenopause1, Menopause2, and Post-Menopause3.
What's the Difference between Perimenopause, Menopause, and Post-Menopause?
Perimenopause: A process of changing hormone levels leading up to menopause. This natural process can last between 2-8 years. During this period, estrogen and other hormones begin to fluctuate, but periods don’t stop.
Menopause: This phase generally happens around age 50 and is when a woman hasn't had a period for a year.
Post-Menopause: This is a phase after menopause where symptoms can last for 5-10 years or longer.
Most Common Symptoms During Perimenopause
1. Hot Flashes
The first signs of perimenopause is a change in your menstrual cycle, irregular periods, and hot flashes. Hot flashes are a transient wave of heat and sweat that is caused by changes in estrogen4. This symptom can cause anxiety, stress, increased heart rate, and discomfort. Generally, hot flashes last for only a few minutes, but some women can experience 10 or more in a single day.
Hypnotic relaxation is a technique to help with hot flashes. It involves entering a relaxed state and experiencing mental images of "coolness" such as a snow-covered mountain or frozen tundra. Other remedies include acupuncture or yoga.
2. Sleep Disturbance
Most seniors find that they sleep less as they age. The onset of menopausal symptoms can cause a woman to wake up multiple times in the night or have trouble falling asleep.
Reducing stress and going to bed on a regular schedule can help. We also recommend taking NATURELO's Sleep Formula with valerian, chamomile, and melatonin to help you fall asleep naturally, stay asleep through the night, and wake up rested.
3. Mood Swings
Feeling moody, more irritable, or slightly depressed can occur as estrogen levels decrease. Our moods can sometimes be affected by hormones, but this is not to be confused with stress caused by work or family.
The next time you feel stressed, try taking a deep breath and focusing on a relaxed state of mind. You can also try yoga, meditation, and exercise to relieve stress.
Most Common Symptoms During Menopause
1. Increased Night Sweats
Night sweats are hot flashes that occur during sleep. Although they can occur during perimenopause, they get worse after your body stops producing estrogen5.
Try listening to audio recordings of books or meditation practices to improve sleep.
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is fatigue. Fatigue involves a physical and mental state of being extremely tired. Physical and mental fatigue are different, but they often occur together.
It's super important to eat a quality breakfast in the morning to sustain energy all day. Throughout the day, a healthy diet of fruits and omega-3 fatty acids can help keep you feeling more mentally alert. You can also take a whole food multivitamin and omega-3 supplements to make sure you are hitting your daily amounts.
3. Decreased Libido
Your sex drive can be affected by stress and relationship issues. But a more common factor as you age is changes in your estrogen levels.
More than anything, it is important to talk to your partner about what's going on with your body. We recommend getting away for a weekend or a romantic date night.
Most Common Symptoms During Post-Menopause
1. Bone Loss
An increased risk of osteoporosis during post-menopause can lead to hip fractures and other serious medical problems6.
2. Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness can be painful and cause discomfort during intercourse, spotting, or bleeding.
Vitamin E oil can be applied to help improve lubrication.
3. Weight Gain
Did you know that estrogen helps to control body weight? As women get older, maintaining their usual weight becomes more difficult and why many women gain weight post-menopause.
Make sure to consume a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Try things like yoga, walking, or an aerobics class. You can also try NATURELO's Garcinia+ Fat Burner on top of working out to help keep your weight under control.
4. Memory Lapses
Men and women experience forgetfulness as they age, but it can become more frequent post-menopause.
We recommend avoiding foods that are high in fat and sugar. Exercise your brain by learning a new skill, solving puzzles, and playing games like chess.
References: 1. Perimenopause: Rocky road to menopause 2. The Mayo Clinic, Menopause: Causes and Symptoms 3. Menopause, Perimenopause and Postmenopause 4. National Institue of Aging, Hot Flashes: What Can I Do? 5. CEMCOR: Perimenopause and night sweats 6. National Institue of Aging: Osteoporosis