Women’s health is an ongoing journey. The body is constantly shifting into new phases, from the first period to menopause. Symptoms of perimenopause in particular have become a talking point in recent years, with women sharing their experiences of hot flushes, mood swings and poor sleep affecting daily life. And we want to keep the conversation going.
The good news is, with increased awareness comes more ways to support women throughout these changes. Helping to lead a more balanced life during the hormonal upheaval of perimenopause. In this article, we’ll cover the difference between menopause and perimenopause, the symptoms to look out for and how to manage them. Making the transition a little easier.
What is Perimenopause?
The term literally means ‘around menopause’. It signals the reproductive system slowing down, which happens as the body produces less oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones are known as ‘the sex hormones’, and are essential for all stages of reproduction, from puberty to pregnancy.
Menopause is when periods stop due to lower hormone levels. According to the NHS, this usually happens around the age of 45-55, but can happen earlier.
Perimenopause is when you have symptoms of menopause, but your periods have not stopped. Perimenopause ends and you reach menopause after 12 months without a period.
What are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?
Symptoms of perimenopause are varied. It's important to know they are different for everyone, and there are lots of ways to support (which we’ll cover a bit later). But first, the main culprits…
75% of women experience hot flushes - the sudden feeling of being hot and dizzy - making this one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause. Experts suggest avoiding caffeine, spicy food and alcohol, which may widen or restrict blood vessels, causing flushing.
If you’ve ever walked into a room and forgotten why, or have lost your train of thought mid-sentence, you’re not alone. Changes in hormone levels can contribute to lack of focus, a symptom of perimenopause affecting around two thirds of women.
Lower levels of progesterone can lead to disturbed sleep patterns. Sleep is essential for healthy cognitive function, so lack of rest fuels other well-documented symptoms of perimenopause, including brain fog and headaches.
Unbalanced hormones have a lot to answer for, including irritability and a fluctuating mood. Many women experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms will be familiar with the disorientating pendulum swing of high to low mood, so keep reading for ways to support.
Muscle Aches and Joint Pain
Bone density and muscle mass may decrease with reduced levels of oestrogen. Eating more calcium and Vitamin D-rich foods can help, like dairy yogurt, dark leafy green vegetables and mushrooms. Getting some sunshine on your skin also helps produce essential vitamin D.
Fluctuating hormones can increase headaches and migraines. Try eating regular snacks to avoid dips in blood sugar (this can spike hormone levels), make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and (we know this is a tough one) try to reduce stress where you can.
How to Support Your Body Through Perimenopause
Seeing the full list of perimenopause symptoms doesn’t feel… great. But there are lots of ways to support these changes in the body. Knowing the symptoms is the first step to managing them, and we’re on hand with tips to help ease the transition.
Start a Sleep Routine
Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body, period. Try a wind down routine in the evenings to support better quality sleep for improved focus, mood and energy by morning. Our top three tips?
- Avoid screen time a few hours before bed (the blue light can suppress melatonin, the sleep hormone).
- Go to bed around the same time every night to help the body keep to a regular sleep schedule. It’ll help you drift off easier.
- Keep Sleep Wellness Gummies on your nightstand. Take two an hour before bed to let sleep-supporting ingredients Vitamin B6, Zinc and Lemon Balm work their magic.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Hormonal changes during perimenopause can affect energy levels, cognitive function and bone density, so it’s important to get all the vitamins you need to keep the body healthy. Aim to eat 30 different types of plants a week - including fruit, vegetables and grains - for a nutritional and diverse diet. To cover all bases, take two Menopause Wellness Gummies daily. They’re packed with essential vitamins, including hormone-balancing Vitamin B6, energy-boosting Vitamin B12 and Zinc to reduce mood swings, with a tasty tutti frutti flavour.
Embrace Regular Exercise
Many perimenopause symptoms can be improved by exercise, including clearing brain fog and strengthening joints. The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. A brisk walk outside, a yoga class or HIIT circuit training are all great options - anything to get the body moving. Weight training can be particularly good during perimenopause to strengthen bones and muscles, helping to support the body through hormonal changes. CBD Muscle Balm tackles achy muscles with soothing Aloe Vera and Arnica. Learn how to give yourself a soothing CBD massage to ease tension and restless legs, fast.
Take Time to Relax
The antidote to mood swings, brain fog and anxiety? Relaxation. However you find your calm, from a hot bath to a cosy evening with Netflix, carve out some time to chill at home. Our non-negotiable for relaxing nights in: light Power Down CBD Candle. It’s formulated with a blend of Santal, Amber and Musk scent notes, scientifically proven to make you feel more relaxed. If you’re struggling to quieten loud thoughts, try a breathing exercise, guided meditation or listen to a sound bath to elevate the good vibes.
Keep Your Cool
Sometimes the hot flushes can feel never-ending. But there are ways to stay cool and calm amidst the dizzy spells. As we heard earlier, caffeine may increase flushes - as do hot drinks. Try swapping your usual latte for an iced tea spiked with the citrusy Bright Days CBD Oil Drops. Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and linen in light layers you can take on and off as needed. Invest in a fan for a cool breeze on demand. Massage ice globes gently over the face, neck and chest for instant cool (and sculpted cheekbones - win-win).
It’s good to remember: symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are temporary, and there are ways to support the body as it goes through these changes. Take time for self-care. Get support where you need. And above all, always be kind to yourself. You’ve got this.