There’s been so much about this in the media over the last year and we talk about the peri-menopause and then the menopause but it can all get a bit confusing, so which one are you in and what does it mean for you?
Put simply, the peri-menopause is the period of time leading up to menopause. Menopause is the time when you haven’t had a bleed for 12 months.
Peri-menopause can last anything between 1-12 years and generally starts between age 40 and 50 but can be earlier. It’s important to remember that symptoms may well fluctuate during that time so don’t panic ! Alternatively, you may have very few symptoms and experience a very straightforward transition. And it is a transition rather than an end. A transition into the next phase of life; a time to focus on you.
There are currently 34 recognised symptoms of the peri/menopause (and realistically there are more than that but we’ll just focus on the most common ones here):
Do you recognise any of these? Are you looking at this thinking ‘Yes! This is me!’? And if you are, where do you go from here?
If you think you’re peri-menopausal and don’t know where to start, here’s what you need to know:
- Don’t be afraid of speaking to your GP. Top Tip: When you make your appointment, ask for their menopause specialist GP as most GP surgeries should have one and they will have more awareness, and hopefully understanding too.
- Know that GP’s are now told to base a diagnosis of peri-menopause on your symptoms rather than blood test results. They may want to check your FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone), just to see where you are along your menopause journey but it’s worth noting that this hormone can fluctuate wildly during peri-menopause (around age 45 and upwards) so just because it could be within the normal range on one test it may be very different six weeks later, so cannot be relied upon.
- Many of the symptoms of peri-menopause are very similar to those of an underactive thyroid so it’s normal to have your TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) level checked through a blood test too.
- Make sure you have a journal of your symptoms or have kept notes if you do want to go through them with your GP. There are some helpful apps for this: Balance – balance app (balance-menopause.com)
- There are lots of ways of navigating this transitional period (and dare I say even embracing it…) so never think if you can’t or don’t want to go down the medicated route that you will have to suffer through it. You won’t! There are other options.
One of the most important things to remember that this is your experience and you always have the choice of how you want to handle it. You may want to try a medicated approach with HRT; you may want to use the natural approach; you may want to use both. You do what works best for you, regardless of what everyone else is doing. Educate yourself on the peri-menopause and the options that are available to you and do it your way. Your body, your choice. Always.
If you don’t know where to turn but also know you don’t want to feel like you currently are, there is natural menopause support available so just give me a call on 01242 227752 or book a no-obligation, complimentary phone call with me here.
As someone who is trained in Reflexology for Menopause and actually is peri-menopausal, I’m walking the path too.