It could still be PMS when you are in your 40’s, but the symptoms of perimenopause are strikingly familiar to PMS. Hormone fluctuations are at the root of both PMS and perimenopause. There are a whole host of physical and emotional symptoms associated with perimenopause and like PMS, not every woman has the same experience or symptoms. As with PMS, there are natural ways to deal with symptoms through diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle and getting enough sleep. Is perimenopause just PMS when a woman is in her 40’s?
Perimenopause is state of transition in a woman’s reproductive cycle that typically starts somewhere in the 40’s. Hormone fluctuations are different during this phase. Ovaries produce less estrogen but follicle stimulating hormone rises so…get ready for this…menstrual cycles shorten. What was once a 28 day cycle might become a 25 day cycle. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates egg growth and development, but when ovulation becomes erratic and cycles shorten, your “flow” can go from normal to very heavy.
Perimenopause, as a coined term, is relatively new. The four to five year time frame before menopause was only labeled peri or pre menopause roughly 20 years ago. Most women realize things are changing because approximately 40% of women in their 40’s report symptoms, like mood swings, irregular cycles, heavy flow or hot flashes, but it is difficult to define how long you have been perimenopausal or exactly when menstruation will cease.
As with PMS, there are ways to treat and handle the unpleasant symptoms of hormonal fluctuations in our cycles. They will sound familiar to you!
Exercise regularly-Abdominal fat starts to appear but regular exercise can melt fat, improve your mood and reduce your flow. Mixing it up with strength training, cardio and yoga covers you for decreasing muscle loss, melting fat and providing a little “zen.”
Avoid Hot Flash triggers-Pay attention to your body! If you drink wine or coffee, does that trigger a hot flash? How about spicy foods or overly warm environments? Try to avoid what ails you! And if your hot flash is interrupting your sleep in the form of night sweats, invest in some pajamas that wick moisture away from your body.
Sleep-If an eye mask and ear plugs help, use them. Try chamomile tea, practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Poor sleep quality does not help your mood or your food choices during the day. Keep experimenting with pillows until you find one that keeps your head supported, maybe have another pillow handy so there are three cool sides to the pillow at all hours of the night!
It is common to experience a little sadness when menstruation finally ceases, but then not having a period becomes extremely liberating!