Friday, May 16, 2008

Perimenopause Symptoms and Solutions

Have you recently noticed that you?re gaining weight around your abdomen or mid-section, you?re not as energetic as you once were, your periods are somewhat irregular and you simply have an overall feeling of ?blah?? If so, there?s a good chance that you?re experiencing symptoms of perimenopause (the transitional period leading to menopause). In fact, hormone fluctuations during perimenopause can result in many of the symptoms you?re noticing.

As with many women?s conditions, the onset of perimenopause can affect every woman differently, and symptoms can range from being very mild and hardly noticeable, to extremely severe and uncomfortable. Common symptoms of perimenopause include hot flashes or night sweats, difficulty sleeping through the night, weight gain (especially around the mid-section), vaginal dryness, mood swings or depression and feelings of confusion. Most women don?t experience all symptoms associated with perimenopause, but it?s quite likely that you?ll notice at least some changes occurring as you approach menopause.

Believe it or not, there are remedies available to reduce these symptoms, resulting in a much more comfortable and even enjoyable transition as you enter the menopausal years. If you?re like many women, there?s a good chance that you?ll want to do all you can to reduce the severity of your symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes. For instance, if you?re experiencing hot flashes, try to avoid triggers that can contribute to the frequency and/or severity of this uncomfortable symptom. Many women have reported that consuming hot or spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine can bring on hot flashes. Also, if you?re feeling stressed or simply find yourself in a warm room you may notice that there?s a greater likelihood that you?ll experience hot flashes. If this is the case, do what you can to avoid these triggers. If you can, try to get into a regular exercise routine, as physical activity and exercise have been shown to reduce the incidence of hot flashes.

If you?ve noticed that your sleep patterns are no longer patterns at all, but instead broken and interrupted periods of restless sleep, there?s a good chance this can be blamed on your declining hormone levels as well. If you want a good night?s sleep (and who doesn?t?) it?s a good idea to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Don?t, however, do so near your bedtime. Similarly, you?ll want to avoid smoking, consuming large meals and working right before you turn in for the night. It?s recommended that you keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool so that you?re more likely to stay asleep once you?ve gone to bed. If you should happen to wake during the night, it?s a good idea to get up and read until you?re sleepy enough to fall back to sleep.

If you?ve experienced mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), there?s an increased chance that you?re sensitive to hormone changes and will, therefore, probably notice some moodiness and memory problems as you begin to experience symptoms associated with perimenopause. Staying active and getting a sufficient amount of sleep will certainly help to alleviate these symptoms. Not only has exercise been proven to reduce or eliminate several perimenopausal symptoms, but it has been my own personal savior as I began gaining weight, experiencing night sweats and becoming moody and lethargic. When I began a regular exercise routine, one which included weight bearing exercises, the overall improvement in my physical and emotional states was absolutely astonishing.

Of course, some women will simply need to turn to other solutions to eliminate or lessen the severity of perimenopause symptoms. Vitamin E and some herbs have been known to reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes. If you should choose to consider vitamins and herbs to assist with your symptoms, it?s a good idea to work closely with someone who is quite familiar with herbs and vitamins to ensure that you adjust your dosages as needed.

Hormone replacement therapy can help women who are experiencing more severe and difficult symptoms of perimenopause. As with many treatments, hormone therapy poses some risks, in addition to the possible benefits. It?s best to discuss the benefits and risks of hormone therapy with your doctor so that you?re better able to make a well-informed decision regarding this treatment. If you should decide to use hormone therapy, try to use the lowest dose that helps you, and for the shortest period of time needed.

Remind yourself that this can be the start of a wonderful period in your life. Treat your body well and the results will include a healthy, beautiful and energetic you.

Susan Megge is the founder of, a website designed to assist mature women as they approach and experience menopause. Susan, a health and fitness expert, started experiencing symptoms of menopause several years ago and researched various avenues to deal with these symptoms naturally. This led to her discovery that menopause can be a very manageable, and even wonderful time in a woman's life. Susan Megge is the author of "Being Beautiful Beyond 40", a book dedicated to helping women to be inspired, confident and beautiful as they approach menopause.

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