Women's Health

Perimenopause, Menopause and Post Menopause

Understand what’s happening and what can be done so you can embrace these years with confidence and improve your well-being.
Perimenopause, Menopause and Post Menopause

What is the menopause transition?

Perimenopause is also referred to as the menopause transition. Women may begin perimenopause at different times, often in their 40s but can occur beginning their mid-30s. Perimenopause and menopause mark a significant phase of a woman’s life as hormone levels decrease, menstruation stops, ovaries fail brining reproductive years to an end. Women may notice any number of physical and emotional changes during this phase of their life.

Perimenopause can last 4 to 8 years and ends 1 year after the final menstrual period.

Menopause marks the day 1 year after last menstrual cycle (average age of menopause is 51)

Post menopause is everything after the mark of that time.

Smokers may reach menopause 2 years earlier.

Natural early menopause is the onset of menopause after 40 years of age but before 45 years of age.

Natural premature menopause is the onset of menopause before 40 years of age.

Both natural early and premature menopause should be evaluated by your health care provider.

Early menopause may be induced for medical necessity.

What symptoms may indicate I am in perimenopause?

Symptoms can be different for each woman during perimenopause. Changes may come on gradually and you may not immediately understand they are due to loss of estrogen during the natural transition to menopause.

You may experience one or any combination of the following symptoms during this time:

  • Irregular periods
  • Interrupted sleep, night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Urinary or recurrent UTIs
  • Bladder leakage
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Hair thinning
  • Dry skin
  • Dry eyes

If you are experience uncomfortable symptoms that are disruptive to your life, talk with your gynecologist at a separate comprehensive visit to discuss how you are feeling.

While you should continue to have your annual well-women visits, setting dedicated time for this conversation is beneficial.

Call 757-316-5115 or click here to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist today!

How should my diet change during perimenopause?

 How should my diet change during perimenopause?

Eat a balanced diet high in protein, fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

  • Lean proteins are best
  • Beans, berries, seeds, nuts, avocado are good sources of fiber
  • Healthy fats help with your energy and keep you full longer
  • Eat foods that are sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Magnesium and Vitamin D
  • Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1-2 drinks per week, which can reduce visceral fat, help ease menopause symptoms and prevent cancer

Exercise during perimenopause eases symptoms

Exercise during perimenopause eases symptoms

Weight bearing and resistance exercise protects your bones by rebuilding muscle mass that declines during perimenopause. Mix in low-impact cardio exercises like walking, swimming and cycling, yoga and deep stretching.

Exercise reduces your risk of visceral fat and cancer, lessens brain fog and improves your mood. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week.

Take care of your mental health during perimenopause

Take care of your mental health during perimenopause

Perimenopause often coincides with a time when you may have teenagers or young adult children, maybe you are becoming an empty nester or are helping aging parents. This stage of life can be stressful especially when combined with perimenopause and menopause symptoms.

In addition to exercise, meditation and mindfulness can reduce stress and help you feel better.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

For most women HRT is safe and effective option for managing perimenopausal symptoms when taken within the first 10 years of menopause and before age 60. It is important to have your HRT prescribed and managed by a health care provider.

Benefits of HRT include:

  • Weight management by regulating metabolic hormones
  • Improve insulin sensitivity, lowering your chance of developing diabetes
  • Keeps bones strong by preserving bone density, decrease osteoporosis risk and fractures
  • Low-dose hormone replacement therapy has been found to increase HDL

Loss of estrogen and cardiovascular disease risk

Loss of estrogen and cardiovascular disease risk

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women contributing to one in five female deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While women can develop heart disease at any age, the risk increases significantly after menopause, likely do to hormonal changes.

Click here to learn more about Women’s Heart Health.

Navigate Perimenopause and Menopause More Comfortably