Could it be perimenopause?

April 30, 2014

Rose-so nice CU

I remember when I started getting night sweats in my 40s. It was the AIDS era and I was sure that was the source of my nighttime condition. A few years later I noticed a major drop in libido. “Something’s wrong,” I told my trusted GYN.  Umm. No. Nothing was wrong. It was how perimenopause manifested for me. 

No one told me anything about this stuff and I swore then that I’d make sure the young women I knew were better informed. Today, I’m letting Healthline talk about perimenopause. They’re a website with a collection of all kinds of helpful medical information.  Check it out.

This is for you, my 20-, 30- and yes, 40-something friends and readers.

pink rose CU2If irregular periods and mood swings have got you feeling like you’ve gone back in time to your teens, but without the tight skin and perky butt, then chances are that you’re in the throes of perimenopause. Yay?

While the road to menopause is no picnic, it really doesn’t have to be all bad. Kissing sanitary products goodbye is one of the payoffs, along with never having to have another period-related headache again.  What’s a gal to do in the meantime? First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms even if they seem spot-on for perimenopause. A lot of the symptoms associated with perimenopause are also seen in some medical conditions so a physical can help rule those out.

If it is indeed perimenopause wreaking havoc on your body and mind, then medications and a few lifestyle tweaks can help keep your symptoms (and sanity) in check.  Consider these:

  • Regular exercise is proven to reduce stress, improve your mood, and help keep your weight down
  • A healthier diet with extra calcium and vitamin D improves bone density and can help to lower cholesterol, which women are at a higher risk of as estrogen levels decrease
  • Regular sex, either alone or with a partner, increases blood flow to the vagina and can improve things like vaginal dryness and atrophy, as well as elevate your moods
  • Water-based lubricants available over the counter can help with the discomfort of vaginal dryness and make sex more enjoyable
  • Estrogen creams, hormone replacement therapy, and other prescriptions are available if your symptoms are getting the better of you and interfering with your day-to-day life

You can find out more about perimenopause by clicking here.

~Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer who has been writing about women’s health and fitness for more than a decade. Her work can be found on several of the world’s most reputable health portals, including Healthline.


22 comments on “Could it be perimenopause?
  1. Thanks for this post! My friends and I have often spoke of the strange things that start happening to our cycles and bodies when we start approaching our 40’s and beyond. I was shocked when I started getting night sweats at 38 and was sure I was in full blown menopause at one point, only to find out that I was pregnant! A happy, but totally surprising event! You are so right, it is really important for women to be totally informed about their bodies. Thank you again!! And can I just say I really love coming to your page, I always learn something!!

  2. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    I can’t stress being aware of the vaginal dryness that snuck up on me in my early 50’s, enough Without regular sex, the walls cave in, so the speak and thin down to the nerves and sex really hurts. My husband spend much of the winter in Floirda while I ( happily) hold down the fort -I sometimes dreaded his enthusiastic visits home. Although my gynecologist could find “nothing wrong”,I learned to stretch my perineum with my fingers while taking a bath–this method and a topical steroid helped a lot-The walls of the vagina thin, so plenty of “Glide” is a good thing!Thanks Carol for bring this issue front and center.

  3. mindy trotta says:

    Even though I love my GYN, as I look back now, I cannot believe how little he discussed with me about perimenopause. Back then I could have really used something like this to help explain why I was feeling what I was feeling. Thank you, Carol. Great info!

  4. Ah, yes. Perimenopause. Firmly intrenched in this lovely phase of womanhood right now. And it is not fun. My GYN talked to me about the symptoms at my last well woman visit, but offered no relief. I started taking an OTC herbal remedy, and it has helped somewhat. At least with the mood swings. No help with the llibido, dryness, and terrible insomnia! Thanks for writing about something so important. People think so much about menopause, but really it is the period leading up to the final menstrual cycle, which can last for years, that causes so many issues.

  5. Thank you so much for this Carol! I grew up in a household with four boys and a mom who believed you “Learned in the streets.” I have been going through this for about four months and without a clue! With everything else going on more emotional things are the last thing I wanted to deal with right now!

  6. Lisa Brock says:

    There is SO much we didn’t talk about…what REALLY happens during pregnancy is another…but this is valuable. I (KNOCK WOOD) didn’t have too many problems and I am all the way through but there are definitely changes – no one gets off with a ‘Free’ pass…good for you for discussing.

    • admin says:

      I’ve had an easy ride, too, all things considered. In some ways it might even have been a blessing to be ignorant, although I really did think I was sick! I never really obsessed over any of it. Then again, I didn’t break out in sweats all day.

  7. thanks. this is so interesting and helpful. i’m identifying with a few too many of the symptoms. 😉

  8. Karen says:

    I have to say I’m glad that the whole perimenopause thing is in my past–it wasn’t terrible, but I spent a lot of time being mildly uncomfortable. Huzzah for post-menopause!

  9. I always feel better knowing I’m not the only one going through this. Perimenopause SUCKS and I feel like I’ve been in the midst of it for years. My body is a shock every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and my mood swings are enough to keep my family on the edge of their seats, not knowing who exactly is going to appear on any given day. Menopause itself has got to be better than this, and hopefully is almost here!

  10. This is helpful. I could never talk to my mom or older sister about this and how perimenopause affected them (as it would likely affect me similarly). They’re both semi-recovering alcoholics and don’t remember squat correctly. So it is nice to hear helpful tips and such from others. Thank you.

  11. Like several other commenters I had an easy menopause, with mild symptoms but no vaginal dryness.
    Women can consider self-pleasuring as an alternative to intercourse if they don’t have, or want, a partner. Stimulation works regardless of who or what is doing the stimulation and insertable sex toys (and fingers) help to tone the vaginal walls just fine! The goal is to increase blood flow to the vaginal area as well as ‘stretch’ or exercise the area. You can use water-based or silicone lubricants depending on whether toys or condoms are being used (silicone can be damaging to certain materials). My new fave is organic coconut oil that I buy at Whole Foods…love the luxurious feel and it smells and tastes nice as well.

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