Symptoms of Perimenopause and How to Deal with Them Naturally

by Laura Ramirez on July 18, 2011

Common symptoms of perimenopause typically make themselves felt among women in their late forties to early fifties, although some rare cases of women in their late thirties have also been known to experience them. Perimenopause is widely considered to be the threshold of actual menopause. When two or three perimenopause symptoms occur at the same time and last for more months, it is a safe bet that a woman has begun the journey towards menopause…which can actually be quite liberating with the right attitude and effective treatments.
Seven of the most common physical and emotional symptoms of perimenopause are listed below, with discussions on the best natural ways to address and remedy them.

  • Noticeable changes in the menstrual cycle. While the start of menopause is signaled by the absence of a full year’s worth of monthly flow, one of the symptoms of perimenopause is when a woman’s period changes with regard to volume and frequency. For instance, you may experience light spotting in between cycles, and begin either missing periods or suddenly going through longer cycles.How to deal with it: Keep track of your periods by marking them on a calendar. Make notes if they are light, heavy, and if other symptoms go with them. This is important to rule out the possibility of pregnancy and other illnesses that are not menopause-related.
  • Hot flashes. This is one of the symptoms of perimenopause which is likely to carry over into actual menopause. It is punctuated by a sudden sensation of warmth beginning from the face and creeping downwards to the neck and chest area. Hot flashes are characteristically followed by day or night sweats.How to deal with them: Hot flashes can be controlled by cutting down on spicy and fatty food, drinking plenty of water, introducing more isoflavone-rich soy into your diet, wearing comfortable cotton clothes, doing regular exercise routines, and staying away from stressful situations. Since there is some controversy over soy, you might want to try black cohosh for hot flashes. It is one of the most effective herbs according to a plethora of studies.
  • Vaginal dryness. Discomfort during sex may be attributed to one of the most inconvenient symptoms of perimenopause, which is caused by declining estrogen levels. Vaginal dryness is the result of thinning, less elastic vaginal lining and less lubrication.How to deal with it: There are over the counter water-based lubricants to address discomfort during sexual intercourse. Natural remedies such as eating soy and using herbal supplements or medication like black cohosh and wild yam are also believed to help alleviate vaginal dryness. If you smoke, cut down or quit altogether, as this contributes to faster decline of estrogen levels.
  • Decreased libido. Declining hormonal levels is also the main culprit for one of the most worrying symptoms of perimenopause as far as sexual performance goes. Decreased libido typically brings with it difficulty in getting sexually aroused, less sensitivity to touch and on previously sensitive areas, as well as the aforementioned vaginal dryness.
    symptoms of perimenopause

    Symptoms of perimenopause can be controlled naturally.

    How to deal with it: As with the previous point, ingesting more food and supplements rich in isoflavones (which are bio-identical plant hormones) is recommended over synthetic hormone replacement therapy (which poses the risk of certain cancers). Regular exercise and the Kegel method are known remedies for decreased libido. You can also choose to have more intimate activities with your partner that can pave the way for sexual arousal. Romantic candlelit dinners, massages, and mini-breaks are a few suggestions for doing so. Testosterone hormone creams for women are also effective since testosterone levels determine your sex drive.

  • Memory lapses and difficulty in concentrating. Estrogen is responsible for healthy blood flow to the brain for learning and concentration. Short-term memory loss and temporary confusion over seemingly mundane tasks are some of the symptoms of perimenopause which can also be attributed to less estrogen production.How to deal with them: Increase your B-vitamin and folic acid intake, as they are proven effective to specifically address memory lapses. There are also some natural brain boosters in the form of gingko biloba and Omega 3-fatty acids which can be taken in capsule form for convenience. It is also recommended to do at least an hour of games and puzzles which can help improve concentration and memory, such as crosswords.
  • Mood swings and depression. These symptoms of perimenopause are definitely caused by changes in a woman’s hormone levels. Estrogen is known to stimulate the nervous system, while progesterone has a more calming effect. Fluctuating levels can make a perimenopausal woman swing from one mood to another, or have the blues.How to deal with them: Essential amino acids found in protein-rich food such as dairy, cheese, nuts, lean meat, and fish can aid in both mood and memory. These, along with proper dosages of vitamin B-6 and exercise to produce endorphins, are recommended for women at the onset of perimenopause.
  • Breast tenderness. Not unlike breast tenderness during PMS, symptoms of perimenopause and menstruation involving water retention bring about this uncomfortable physical phenomenon. Breast tenderness can diminish through the years as the menstrual cycle ceases.How to deal with it: Vitamin E, Vitamin B-6, and magnesium can do wonders for this particular physical symptom. Flax seeds can also be sprinkled on food to help reduce breast pain. Avoid wearing underwire bras and tight tops.

Addressing the symptoms of perimenopause need not be risky. While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) offers relief from most perimenopause inconveniences, using bioidentical hormone replacement along with natural solutions, like herbs and healthy additions to your diet, are safer and more beneficial for your overall health and well-being.

Copyright © 2011 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.

Do you have a question about perimenopause symptoms or a tip or story to share with all your sisters who are going through the change? Please leave your comments below.

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