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What you need to know about Perimenopause

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Feel as though your emotions are on a roller coaster ride? Hot flushes even when it’s chilly? Irregular periods driving you crazy? If you recognise some of these symptoms, it could be your hormones fluctuating as you transition towards menopause.

This stage, known as perimenopause, is less discussed than menopause itself but women can experience this in their 40s (or even earlier). Lots of natural hormonal changes occur during this process, including the ovaries gradually producing less oestrogen.

Perimenopause is different for everyone and lasts three to four years on average, ending when you reach menopause. If you’re under 40 and have not had a period for 12 consecutive months, this may indicate an early menopause and you should have a chat with your GP.

To maximise your wellbeing during  this time, it’s important to educate yourself to reduce possible effects  (now and in the future).

Here are some helpful tips:
  • It can be tricky dealing with emotionsgone-haywire. You may be anxious, irritable and moody due to changes in oestrogen influencing serotonin (the body’s ‘happy hormone’) levels. Take up a relaxing activity such as yoga or meditation.

  • Although this is a natural stage in every woman’s life, it’s important to seek expert advice if you have any concerns. If you have bleeding between periods or after sex, experience change in your body, energy levels, or general health, please see your GP.

  • To combat night sweats, keep your bedroom cool and avoid potential hot-flush triggers such as spicy food, caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol.

  • Getting more sleep might also help to ease some of your symptoms and regulate your mood.

Boost feel-good factors

It’s important to remember that perimenopause and menopause are not illnesses, but stages of life. In fact, these stages present a great opportunity to take control of your health and change it for the better.

Anything that helps you feel perkier, such as getting to and maintaining  a healthy weight, giving up smoking, reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake, exercising regularly, indulging in relaxing activities and getting more sleep can help ease symptoms and boost your sense of wellbeing.

It’s also a good idea to keep a record of the natural patterns of your cycle in your diary or with an app. You may notice you feel low at a certain time of your cycle, so look after yourself (if that means binge watching Game of Thrones, then so be it!). If you’d like to know about products that support symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, talk to your Life Pharmacist or explore our Women’s Health category.

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