Are you perimenopausal?

Three signs that may indicate you are.

Perimenopause is the stage in a woman’s reproductive life that occurs before menopause. It is the period during which the body undergoes hormonal changes. And not to freak you out, but this stage can last anywhere from two to 10 years. The changes can vary from woman to woman. It can be frustrating and difficult time to deal with. Knowing that you are perimenopausal can be a bit of a guessing game if you aren’t sure what you are looking for.

The reason for the wild time, oestrogen basically goes on a rollercoaster ride.  It’s often the flucuations from high oestrogen to low oestrogen that is causing the most perimenopausal discomfort.

Here in this blog, I wanted to go into more detail of 3 signs to look out for. These may indicate that you are perimenopausal.

1. Your Periods have changed

During perimenopause, your oestrogen levels can be high and they can be low. This can lead to changes in the duration and intensity of menstrual bleeding. You may experience periods that are:

  • shorter
  • longer
  • heavier
  • lighter
  • or more painful than usual.

In addition, some women may experience:

  • spotting
  • or unpredictable periods
  • episodes of flooding

These changes in menstrual cycles are often one of the earliest signs you are perimenopausal.

2. Mood changes

Perimenopause can also cause mood changes. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during this time can have an impact on a woman’s mood. Many women mention feeling more anxious or irritable than usual. Often, they just don’t feel like themselves. Some experience:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • brain fog

Mood changes are some of the most common symptoms that women in my clinic report. So, know that you aren’t alone. These symptoms are very common. Some women may also experience forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can be caused by changes in oestrogen levels, which can impact the production of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Low levels of oestrogen affects mood.  This is because oestrogen helps to regulate the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can impact mood. In addition, oestrogen plays a crucial role in the production of oxytocin, the feel good hormone. Associated with feelings of well-being and social bonding. A decrease in oestrogen levels during perimenopause can lead to a decrease in oxytocin production, which in turn can impact mood.

Another factor that can contribute to mood changes during perimenopause is sleep disturbances. Many women experience difficulty sleeping during perimenopause. You’re hot, then cold, then hot again. To read more about sleep and menopause hormones, check out my previous blog post here. 

In addition to the decline in oestrogen levels, other hormonal changes during perimenopause can also impact mood. For example, fluctuations in progesterone levels can lead to symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and mood swings. These symptoms are often most pronounced in the days leading up to menstruation, when progesterone levels are highest.

3. Headaches and migraines

Another sign of perimenopause is an increase or beginning of headaches and migraines. Hormonal changes during perimenopause can also trigger headaches and migraines. This is once again due to the oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuating during this time, which can impact the blood vessels in the brain. Women may experience headaches or migraines that are more frequent or severe than usual. Some women may also experience other symptoms such as nausea or sensitivity to light and sound.

To read more about hormonal headaches, check out my blog on headaches and hormones here.

One of the primary hormones that can impact headaches and migraines during perimenopause is oestrogen. Oestrogen plays a key role in regulating the production of chemicals in the brain that impact pain and inflammation.

  • High levels of oestrogen during perimenopause can also lead to an increase in histamines, which are chemicals that are involved in the immune response and can cause inflammation. This can trigger migraines in women who are sensitive to histamines. In addition, low levels of oestrogen can also lead to a decrease in serotonin, which is a chemical that helps to regulate mood and can impact the frequency and intensity of headaches.
  • Fluctuations in oestrogen levels can also impact the levels of other hormones in the body, such as progesterone. Low levels of progesterone can lead to an increase in headaches and migraines, particularly in the days just before menstruation as progesterone levels quickly decline. Progesterone helps to regulate blood vessel dilation and constriction, and a lack of progesterone can lead to an increase in blood vessel dilation, which can trigger headaches and migraines.
  • Other factors can also contribute to headaches and migraines during perimenopause. For example, stress and sleep disturbances can impact the frequency and intensity of headaches. Women who experience hot flushes and night sweats during perimenopause may also be more prone to headaches and migraines, as these symptoms can impact sleep quality.

Overall, it’s important to note that the changes in menstrual cycles during perimenopause can vary from woman to woman, and not all women will experience the same signs and symptoms. Some may experience only a few symptoms, while others may experience many. Comparing yourself to your friends, colleagues and female family members can leave you feeling, overwhelmed, unheard or like a whinging mess. Your signs and your journey into this transition is unique and yours only. The 3 signs mentioned in this blog; changes to your period, mood changes and headaches and migraines, are all signs that you may be perimenopausal.

Education is an important piece in the puzzle. Understanding the underlying scientific reasons for these changes, you can be better prepared for the physical and emotional challenges of being perimenopausal.

If you are experiencing headaches, migraines, or other symptoms of mentioned above, then reach out. I can guide you on your specific path. Together, we can determine the best course of action for your individual needs, which may include lifestyle changes, herbal medicines, supplements and nutritional changes.

I’m also running a webinar on ‘Symptoms of Perimenopause no-one talks about’ and I would love you to join me.

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Areas of interest:
- Perimenopause
- Menopause
- Hormonal and cycle changes
- Burning Mouth Syndrome
- Low Energy Levels

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Email: hello@chantellebell.com.au
Mobile: 0403 489 632

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© 2023 Chantelle Bell Naturopath.