First and foremost, perimenopause is a time of transition. It brings with it a host of symptoms that can make life challenging, but nothing that can’t be dealt with in healthy ways! What I like to call the "Big 4" of perimenopause are the most common symptoms women experience during this time, and they include fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes, and mood swings.
General fatigue is a common symptom of perimenopause, and its prevalence makes it a good place to start. Fatigue can be caused by a variety of factors, but hormonal changes (which can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue during the day) are a huge factor. Likewise, women may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, thanks to hormonal changes and anxiety. And to make it even more nefarious, insomnia creates a feedback loop of poor sleep -> stress & anxiety -> poor night's sleep.
Hot flashes have got to be the most well-known symptom of perimenopause, as well as being one of the most uncomfortable ones. They can pop-up at any time and cause sweating, discomfort, and annoyance. Hot flashes can even disrupt sleep and daily activities, making them one of the symptoms of perimenopause that patients of mine most want to deal with.
As if all that weren’t enough, mood swings are common during the Transition. The hormonal changes affect neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood swings, irritability, and even depression in some cases. Of course, these can be exacerbated by external factors, such as job stress, caring for aging parents, or dealing with children leaving home.
So, what can women do to manage the "Big 4" of perimenopause? Well, there’s a little too much to go into for a blog post, but lifestyle changes such as exercise, stress reduction, and healthy eating help. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods can also help manage hot flashes. Insomnia is linked to so many factors, but consistent use of a pulsing electromagnetic field mat and an infrared sauna has shown to help. In addition, there are natural supplements and herbs that can help balance hormones and alleviate symptoms; some great options include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin D. These nutrients can help support hormonal balance, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health.
Perimenopause is a natural part of life, and with the right mindset and care it doesn't have to be a miserable experience. By understanding the "Big 4" and taking steps to manage them, women can move through this transition with greater ease and comfort. Whether it's through lifestyle changes, natural remedies, or seeking support from a healthcare practitioner like me, there are many options available to
help women manage perimenopause and achieve optimal health and wellness.