HEY BESTIE: I’ve just been told by my doctor that I’m in ‘peri-menopause’, what does it mean?

I’ve just been told by my doctor that I am in ‘peri-menopause’. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t ask any other questions and just left in tears. I’m actually scared of what this means for me and my relationship. What should I be aware of?

Welcome to one of the many joys of womanhood! Thank you for writing in and asking a question that will impact all women at some point in their lives. The reality is that perimenopause is a transitional period towards full blown menopause.

Although this impacts a large number of women, very little is known or understood by individuals about how peri or full menopause will actually impact them.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed about — this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your body and what it needs from you over this portion of your life.

Over the years, women’s ovaries gradually stop working, producing less eggs and less hormones…welcome peri-menopause.

Some of the symptoms of this phase of life can include hot flashes, irregular periods, vaginal dryness (so don’t be afraid to use lube more regularly), the need to urinate more frequently, low sex drive, muscle and joint soreness, weight gain, poor memory, insomnia and changes in your overall mood…let’s call this one irritability.

The not-so-great news is that these symptoms and this stage of life can last from a few months to a few years. Although there is no ‘formal’ treatment to stop peri-menopause, there are treatments to manage the symptoms and if your symptoms are causing you distress, talk to your GP about them.

Some of the more natural approaches to dealing with the symptoms include looking after yourself, eating well, engaging in weight-bearing exercises, limit alcohol and caffeine intake and try your best to get a great night’s sleep. Weight-bearing exercises cannot be undersold here as this is the point in your life that you are most-likely to be prone to osteoporosis and fractures and evidence suggest that the best way to counteract that are calcium supplements, extra Vitamin D and weight-bearing exercises.

The great news is that many women are able to navigate through peri-menopause without too much of an impact on their life or even a formal diagnosis. If you do want a diagnosis, take the time to see your GP and have your bloods done – they will test your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) amongst other indicators.

If you have a partner, start the conversation with them so that they are aware of what you are going through and how you would like to be supported by your partner. Hot flashes are not fun…women in my family have always described them as their own personal travelling sauna — as the flashes follow you around and can appear anytime throughout the day without warning.

Take the time to truly level up your knowledge in the area and don’t be afraid to share your experience with others because after all, this is something that all women will experience, and a problem shared is a problem halved.

Your bestie,

Amanda x

Amanda Lambros is a sexologist and relationship coach with almost two decades of experience who takes pride in her “no b-s” approach to solving your problems. She is also a certified speaking professional and has written several books on relationships, health and business which have sold more than 150,000 copies.

Do you have a question for Amanda? Email [email protected] (don’t worry, we won’t publish your name!)

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