Peri-menopause is the time leading up to menopause. It typically starts from the early 40’s and can last 2 – 10 years.
Menopause = when you haven’t had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months
Even if you haven’t heard of peri-menopause before, you’ve probably heard about the symptoms you might experience:
- hot flushes
- trouble sleeping
- weight gain
- joint pain
- brain fog
- irritability and mood swings
It all sounds rather horrible (and it can be for many women), but there is some good news: you have the ability and power to minimise and even avoid these symptoms.
Let’s take a look at the facts:
Every single woman will go through peri-menopause and menopause.
Think of it like the flip side of puberty. Teenagers experience the hormonal changes that transition them from childhood to becoming adults, and women will experience a similar hormonal shift at the end of their reproductive years.
Fact: our hormones control everything, every function, in the body
Fact: when our hormones are at ideal levels, they work together like a beautiful orchestra.
When these same hormone levels start to change and increase or decrease, we experience symptoms like hot flushes or moodiness.
Fact: In many cultures women don’t experience peri-menopausal symptoms.
Read that again: many women go through the menopausal transition, without symptoms.
We all go through the same changes, so why do some women sail through this transition period without a bother, and other suffer, sometimes to the point of quitting work and broken relationships?
The good news:
We all have the chance to have an easy menopausal journey. The daily choices we make in how we live, eat, move and think, play a big part in determining the journey we each go through.
You are unique. Your life story will be different to almost everyone else’s. Your health; experiences you’ve had and the impact of society, all make up the person you are.
All of this will have an impact on your experience of menopause.
A woman who has had radical medical treatment might go into menopause early or have a medically-induced menopause. If this is you, chances are you will be taking hormone medication to moderate your hormone levels.
So, what can I do?
I’m so glad you asked, because there is a lot you can do.
As I mentioned before, we are all unique so I can’t give you a Magic Top Ten list of things that will change your life, but I can point you in the right direction so that you can work out what works for you.
You might like to start here (and most of these are FREE! how good is that):
Food: eat a rainbow – aim to eat a broad range of colourful vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes. This will give you a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals as well as fibre to help keep you regular.
Top tip: work towards eating 30 different plant varieties a week
Sleep: prioritise your sleep health, it can be life changing.
– Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day (including weekends and holidays).
– NO screens in bedrooms. Not negotiable
– sleep in a cool, dark room
– if you can, use cotton sheets and sleep wear
Top tip: consistency is key
Exercise: every day. If you’re new to exercise, start slowly with 5 – 10 minutes a day and build up until you’re doing something active every day. Aim to do at least 150 minutes of huff and puff exercise a week (cardio like boxing, swimming, bike riding, anything you enjoy that gets you out of breath a bit) and then do some strength work.
Top tip: get some guidance from a personal trainer to avoid injury.
Mindset: take some time out of your day to just sit and be still. Whether you like to meditate or just close your eyes and take some deep breaths. The power of this restorative practice is astounding. Go on, give it a try!
Top tip: download a free meditation app
This is just the start of a wide range of things you can do to improve your chances of a smooth transition from peri-menopause to menopause and beyond. If you would like more information or guidance, check out Unpause: the natural menopause program
Unpause is an 8 module program designed to take you through all the things you can do to build up your toolkit of strategies to manage your menopause.