Menopause…are you in denial? (aka signs you may be peri-menopausal!)

Rachael CrowMenopause, Musings

So many women seem to be in complete denial they are anywhere near menopause.

I’ve been talking about menopause in my womens circles for a few years now and most of the women seem to think it doesn’t happen until you are late 50’s-60’s…well I have news for you…symptoms can start as early as 36 and when I say that to women who are post menopausal they nod and identify that they may not have had physical symptoms, but they made some big changes in their lives that they now look back on as “the start of it all!”

So, first you need to know it’s not just about periods stopping…there’s a whole load of other stuff going on!

Tiredness, irritability, fuzzy thinking, gaining weight…. these are all menopause-related symptoms….and according to the Womens Health Network the average woman has eight different menopause-related symptoms. But she may never connect the dots to realise that the underlying cause behind all of these confusing symptoms is menopause!

And then there’s the “Bullshit detector”….suddenly (so it seems) you just won’t put up with the bullshit, fakeness, lack of authenticity around you…so you may find yourself dropping friends, family, changing jobs, moving….It’s a lot to deal with! But lets come back to the physical, emotional and mental changes…(oh and theres the spiritual changes too…but I think I’ll focus on that another day!)

Because of all the changes going on inside your body are happening too quickly for your body to manage them you may experience wide-ranging symptoms, from fatigue and moodiness to vaginal dryness and joint discomfort, to low libido and fuzzy thinking. You may just think these are signs of worsening PMS but in fact it’s the start of your menopause transition…..

And it’s not just your hormones that can affect how you feel: insulin levels, thyroid function and adrenal health are all intertwined with hormones too, because all your body’s hormones affect one another. This explains why the conventional approach to menopause and symptom relief is often too simplistic to be safe and effective.

The best way to know if you’re in menopause is to check in with how you’re feeling and do it often, especially because there’s no single test to confirm you’re in perimenopause or menopause!

Here are some common symptoms of perimenopause & menopause

Cycle becoming irregular: The most important question to ask “is it irregular for you?” in terms of the length of your cycle or heaviness of your bleed. Changes in your moontime are often the first signal that you’re beginning to shift in perimenopause.
Hot flushes and night sweats: Hot flushes can strike once a day, or up to 20 times or more, causing intense flashes of heat along with increased heart rate, dizziness, headache and even claustrophobia or the feeling of being trapped. They can be debilitating, especially when they occur and night and cause sleeplessness….leading on to…
Sleep difficulties: You may toss and turn restlessly as you try to sleep, or wake up regularly in the middle of the night. Insomnia is often caused by a progesterone deficiency in perimenopause or menopause.
Headaches/Migraines:Hormonal headaches occur due to imbalanced levels between oestrogen and progesterone. This is why many women notice headaches right before their periods when progesterone naturally dips. Progesterone can also drop during perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause) sometimes causing headaches as well.
Weight gain: Changes to your weight or the shape of your body are another noticeable symptom. Shifting hormones tell your body to store fat in the abdominal area, even if you’ve never had a weight problem before. This fat is difficult to lose even with diet and exercise.
Fatigue/loss of energy: Not getting enough sleep may make you feel tired, but fatigue can occur even when you get a lot of rest, leaving you feeling physically and emotionally drained.
Forgetfulness or fuzzy thinking: One of the most alarming symptoms for many women is memory changes or fuzzy thinking — and it’s extremely common.
Thinning hair or hair loss: Imbalances between oestrogen and testosterone can cause thinning hair. Many women start to notice clumps of hair in their shower drains during menopause or perimenopause.
Vaginal dryness: It can be a difficult symptom to discuss, but 50% of women in perimenopause and menopause experience vaginal changes, with dryness, itching and pain that affect their sex lives, activities and even the clothes they wear.
Low libido: While vaginal dryness can contribute to low libido, a drop in progesterone or a testosterone deficiency by itself can also leave you without a sex drive.
Joint discomfort /stiffness: Joint pain or stiffness in the back, knees or hips is an unexpected symptom that may be caused by fluctuating oestrogen levels. Hard to believe but true!
Food cravings: If you had cravings with PMS, you may notice they are getting worse. This can be due to your body’s increased needs for valuable micronutrients, or to the “crash cycle” pattern of fatigue/carbohydrates/fatigue with hormonal imbalance that so many of us fall into.
Digestive discomfort: Embarrassing and uncomfortable gas, diarrhea, and constipation can all increase in perimenopause and menopause.
Anxiety and/or sadness: Perimenopause can raise your stress levels, and can create hormonal imbalances that affect mood and emotional health. Stress hormones directly affect the production and balance of other hormones.
Irritability and/or moodiness: Feeling angry all the time and snapping at your friends and family doesn’t feel good — for you or them. Outbursts and mood swings are some of the first signs many women notice in perimenopause.
PMS-like symptoms: You may think stronger cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches or mood swings are due to worsening PMS, but as symptoms get more frequent or severe, it’s often a sign of perimenopause.
Feeling overwhelmed: Perimenopause and menopause can compound existing stress levels, causing your body to be overcome with too many demands. Under these conditions, it’s likely you’ll feel overwhelmed mentally and feel unable to deal effectively with anything.

Look into how you can reduce your perimenopause symptoms naturally

Your symptoms are your body’s way of getting your attention. By listening to your body you’ll be able to find out what support it needs to naturally rebalance its hormones. Effective natural options include include vitamins and minerals, and simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments that can provide relief by resolving the single root cause of all your symptoms.

I recommend lots of things on this blog post, and If you’re interested in diet changes, the Medical Mediums Life Changing Foods comes highly recommended.

And…now theres a menopause on line course at Red School…Thank you Alexandra Pope! Check it out!

(C) Rachael Crow 2018