By Dr. Shawna Darou, ND
Today’s article is more about perimenopause, and especially the unusual symptoms beyond irregular periods and hot flashes.
Perimenopause is the period of time when your hormones, especially estrogen levels start to fluctuate, which can last up to 10 years before menopause. What this means is that you may begin to experience changes as early as your late 30’s, although it is much more common after 45, lasting until menopause. Cycles will become longer or shorter, and menstrual flow can get heavier or lighter.
As you may have seen from my previous post about perimenopause, there are different patterns that can develop through this transition. You can read more here: https://drshawnadarou.com/2022/02/22/whats-your-perimenopause-type/
Many women do not see the body changes that happen through the 40’s as symptoms of perimenopause. It is fascinating to see the variety of systems that can be affected – bottom line, your hormones affect everything! Below I have created two lists of symptoms – the more common symptoms of perimenopause, and a long list of other symptoms that could be related. If you are experiencing more than a few, it really could be your hormones.
Common symptoms of perimenopause:
- irregular periods – shorter or longer cycles
- flooding (very heavy periods)
- very light cycles
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- weight gain
- vaginal dryness
Less common symptoms of perimenopause:
- hair loss
- increased facial hair
- short-term memory loss
- increased UTI’s
- urinary incontinence
- mood swings
- feeling more overwhelmed
- itchy skin
- heart palpitations
- increased bloating
- dry eyes
- dry skin
- brain fog
- change in body odour
- more joint pains
- decreased or increased sex drive
Treatment for perimenopause is guided by your perimenopause type (see article above), and when done properly, you will see an improvement even in the unusual symptoms above.
If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s and are noticing some unusual body changes that match the lists above, you may be in perimenopause! There are certainly many ways to support this hormone transition – using nutrition and supplements, as well as addressing stress and sleep. Remember that this transition does not have to be rocky – you can still thrive with optimal health and wellness during this time. The symptoms give us clues for which systems need extra support right now.