Perimenopause is a stage in the menopause transition where menstrual cycle changes and menopausal symptoms occur.
Menstrual cycles can become irregular or skip months.
Perimenopause typically starts between ages 42 and 50.
Natural menopause is 12 months of no menstrual cycle.
Induced menopause occurs through surgery or drugs.
Early menopause is before the age of 45 and late menopause is after the age of 54.
Symptoms of perimenopause include anxiety, depression, hot flashes, night sweats, low libido, vaginal dryness, weight gain, brain fog, mood swings, memory loss, irritability, skin and hair changes, fatigue, and insomnia.
Hot flashes can vary in intensity and last longer than a few minutes.
Weight gain is common in perimenopause due to changes in metabolic activity and the lean muscle to fat ratio.
Mood swings can range from depression and anxiety to irritability and anger.
Insomnia is common in perimenopause and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and cognitive function.
Vaginal dryness affects most women in perimenopause but only 7% report it.
Estrogen decline affects the collagen and hyaluronic acid in the connective tissue in the vaginal area.
Low libido is caused by hormonal changes and mental-emotional factors.
FSH, estrogen, and progesterone are important hormones in the menstrual cycle.
Progesterone is only made in the second half of the cycle after ovulation.
Testing for FSH, estrogen, and progesterone is important to assess hormonal changes.
Postmenopause is after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual cycle.
Perimenopause can be a tumultuous time due to the inconsistency in hormone production and cycles.
Hormonal changes in perimenopause include a decline in follicles, increased FSH levels, infrequent ovulation, and a decline in overall estrogen production.
Estrogen is important for maintaining various aspects of health such as cardiovascular health, cognitive health, bone health, libido, and energy.
Hormone replacement therapy can be used to improve quality of life, reduce symptoms, and protect against certain diseases.
Lab testing can be used to measure FSH, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, thyroid function, inflammatory markers, iron, and vitamin D levels.
The Dutch test can be used to evaluate estrogen metabolism and assess risk for DNA damage and cancer. It can also measure progesterone production and adrenal function.
Adrenal adaptogens can correct cortisol deficiency and provide hormone support.
Hormone testing can provide a comprehensive view of body hormones, especially helpful for perimenopause or considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Equia Balance is a product containing herbs and nutrients helpful for perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.
Lifestyle treatments such as diet, exercise, stress management, and therapy can reduce symptoms and optimize the perimenopausal experience.
Non-hormonal options such as various herbs, supplements, and products can reduce symptoms in perimenopause.
HRT includes synthetic and bioidentical hormones with different effects and delivery methods. Bioidentical hormones are derived from plants, while synthetic hormones are derived from horse urine. Safety and efficacy vary by delivery method and dose.
Benefits of HRT include reducing hot flashes, treating vaginal dryness and atrophy, preventing cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
Working with a menopause specialist may be helpful, as many general practitioners and OB/GYNs are not trained in menopause management.
Asking doctors about their experience and knowledge of menopause management can help gauge whether they are a good fit or if a menopause specialist should be sought out.