Brace yourself – while most of us are aware of the menopause and the symptoms to expect, the perimenopause still remains a bit of a mystery. Technically, it’s the period just before menopause and can affect your body from head to toe, for up to 10 years.
It pays to prepare for the perimenopause, so here’s what you need to know.
Many of us mix up these two terms but in the medical world they have two clear definitions:
Every woman goes through this hormonal upheaval but not all of us will notice its effects. That’s because the symptoms of perimenopause are often dismissed as natural signs of ageing, or as being caused by other health issues.
There are over 30 symptoms but some of the most common include:
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You can tackle perimenopause symptoms in two ways; by fooling the body into forgetting that your hormones are changing, or by directly targeting the symptoms themselves. Here are three remedies that have been shown to help:
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These contain substances called phytoestrogens that mimic oestrogens in the body, so it’s thought that they can help moderate the symptoms of perimenopause. The evidence so far is mixed but some research does show they may reduce hot flushes, and anxiety and depression associated with menopause.Exactly why the studies are so varied isn’t completely understood but a 2012 trial led by the University of Washington found women who can convert soy into a substance called equol were more likely to get positive effects from it – so the effects could be highly individual.6
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1. NHS Choices. Menopause. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/
2. Kargozar R, Azizi H and Salari R. A review of effective herbal medicines in controlling menopausal symptoms. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783135/
3. Bommer S, Klein P, Suter A. First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133
4. As Source 2
5. Mehrpooya M, et al. A comparative study on the effect of ‘black cohosh’ and ‘evening primrose oil’ on menopausal hot flashes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29619387
6. Data presented at North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting. Equol-Producer Status Of U.S. Women Influences Soy Food Effects On Menopause Symptoms. Available from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/equol-producer-status-of-us-women-influences-soy-food-effects-on-menopause-symptoms-178963111.html