Perimenopause vs Menopause
There are a lot of questions around menopause, so we asked our Toronto Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Francesca Reis, to provide us with some answers.
Menopause officially occurs when a woman has not had a menstrual period in 12 consecutive months. Perimenopause on the other hand, which means “around menopause,” occurs well before women hit menopause and women can start to notice symptoms starting as early as in their mid 30s.
How do you know if you are in perimenopause?
One of the most telling symptoms is changes to the menstrual cycle. Due to variations in estrogen levels, during perimenopause, periods may become shorter or longer, some women might experience skipped periods, and the flow itself could get heavier or lighter. Other common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, issues with falling and staying asleep, weight gain, mood swings, dry thinning skin, and vaginal dryness.
Why is this an issue?
Many women are struggling to get support as they experience perimenopause in their mid-30s and early 40s. Most women don’t understand the changes occurring in their bodies and their cycles and are often left feeling lost and without guidance in the transitional years leading up to menopause. It often affects their quality of life, work, mental health and personal relationships . It goes without saying that this is not an ideal situation.
How can naturopathic medicine help?
From a naturopathic medicine perspective, we offer support to women going through this transition by focusing on getting them as healthy as possible in the perimenopausal years.
We do this through dietary changes, stress management, addressing gut health, incorporating regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and other health parameters, getting adequate sleep, and using supplements to help reduce common symptoms such as hot flashes. Focusing on these aspects of health helps improve women’s quality of life, gives them a sense of control over their own health, and helps make the transition to menopause smoother. If you’re interested in learning about our menopause support program, click here to book a meet and greet with one of our naturopathic doctors.
In our next post on this topic, we will go briefly into detail on what some of these practices entail.