Hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycle, mood swings and lack of sex drive are well-known menopausal attributes. But did you know that these symptoms may develop several years before menopause occurs?
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Natural transition from reproductive age to menopause is called perimenopause. In this period, your estrogen levels decrease bit by bit, causing unpleasant symptoms listed above.
In some women, perimenopause lasts for only a few months, while in others it becomes apparent several years before your periods are eventually ceased.
Menopause can be diagnosed, if you skip periods during the last twelve months, and there is no underlying health issues that affects your reproductive function.
The problem is also that reduction of estrogen can lead to loss of bone tissue and accumulation of cholesterol. All these can boost your risks for fractures, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Sometimes perimenopausal symptoms are so uncomfortable that it appears difficult even to perform your daily tasks.
But keep your chin up, there is still a lot, you can do to relieve perimenopausal symptoms and prevent complications like osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Here is what to do to stay happy and active during perimenopause:
#1. Speak about hormonal pills – for some of us, estrogen therapy may be the only effective way to deal with perimenopause. You can take medications in the pill, cream or skin patch. Another good option is hormone-contained vaginal ring or tablet, used to get rid of vaginal dryness and fight off pain during intercourses.
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#2. Antidepressants – group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, was found to be effective in relieving menopause-associated hot flashes, especially for those, who can't consume estrogen for certain health issues.
#3. Stress reduction – there is wide variety of special techniques, which can help you reduce stress and stay calm, even when hormonal levels in your body gets changed. Try yoga, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation to improve your mood, sleep and overall well-being.
#4. Lubricate down there – vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourses can cause a lot of problems in your relationships and give excessive stress. To avoid these, use water-based lubricants and moisturizers to stay sexually active during perimenopause.
#5. Vitamin D and calcium – drop of estrogen can impair absorption of dietary calcium and lead to bone loss. Ask your doctor about supplements, if you can't get enough calcium with foods. Vitamin D, in turn, can not only increase calcium absorption, but also fight off hot flashes and reduce vaginal dryness.
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#6. Herbs – some studies found that taking certain herbal supplements, like black cohosh, ginseng and wild yam, can help you alleviate hot flashes, improve sleeplessness and reduce nervousness. Speak with medical professional before taking any teas, pills or capsules, as herbs are not as harmless as it seems. Some of them may interact with your medications and cause side effects.
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