Our periods tend to change in this decade-ish long perimenopause time, Dr. Del Giudice said. “On average the age of onset is 47, but this can vary. So, in a nutshell, if you experience changes to your period including heavier (in flow and/or with increased amount of large clots), more painful or coming when it is completely unexpected, it’d be a good idea to check in with your doctor. “There are some non-hormonal treatments that can be discussed as well as the pros and cons of hormonal treatments as they apply to you. Last year, I asked my gynecologist whether I was perimenopausal; she didn’t think so, and was also puzzled when I looked deflated. We also know that some people are cautious about taking hormones so we are happy to weigh out the benefits and risks of the topical options.”. I never got used to the cramps, and every month my period arrived like a surprise, since, as a lesbian, it never dawned on me to track it given that unexpected pregnancies weren't a concern. “Many women remember their mother taking hormones or having hysterectomies,” Dr. Del Giudice said. And it’s hard to know what is happening due to perimenopause changes, what’s happening because your room is too hot, and what’s happening due to other issues in the body.”. And as many of those same women enter perimenopause in the years before their periods end, what they need is a sequel. ?” It’s a term we’ve heard bounced around, but know little about. If you are experiencing painful intercourse or dryness, talk to your doctor about this. That’s why it is important to keep up with your Pap tests (More on that below.). Most women of a certain age—let’s say Generation X or older—will remember reading Judy Blume’s Are You There God? Why? It may help to remember that perimenopause is normal and you’re not going crazy. What I learned about myself after starting perimenopause, Judy Blume’s fictional menstruator Margaret Simon, Your taxes shouldn't be higher because of your period. This is often due to what we call vaginal atrophy and can sometimes also lead to more frequent urinary tract infections. “Or if you have depression and hot flashes with perimenopause but your hot flashes are not severe, you may consider treating the depression with an antidepressant and therapy.”, A recent study by the Women’s Health Initiative demonstrated that risks of MHT in older post-menopausal women include heart disease, stroke, blood clots and invasive breast cancers. But I still feel put out that it won't stick to a schedule, because, as with an unwelcome houseguest, I never know when it’s going to arrive — or leave. !”) but generally it begins later. “It may help to remember that perimenopause is normal and you’re not going crazy.”. “It is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal changes and symptoms such as hot flashes.” Since it’s a fairly lengthy and amorphous transition, women can be forgiven for wondering if they’re in this phase as early as their 40th birthday (witness a Baroness Von Sketch Show skit in which a woman considers her forgetfulness and mood swings: “Maybe it’s perimenopause. “There are some things we can do about this, so please see your doctor,” she said. Keep up with your Pap test (women aged 21 to 69 should have a Pap test every three years if they are or have ever been sexually active. Because, after all, we’re used to this, aren’t we? There is good evidence that shows smoking makes hot flashes and night sweats worse. Why is our skin returning to its teenage turmoil? How Fitfluencers in Eating Disorder Recovery Find Balance. Kera Bolonik is the editor-in-chief of DAME Magazine. Even the doctor doesn’t know whether her symptoms are perimenopause, telling her with a shrug that, if they are, what limited research exists says it could last up to 10 years, but he adds, “Who really cares anyway?”, I laughed in horror and recognition, and, after posting the sketch on social media, my friends responded immediately with funny, brutal anecdotes about their experiences not only with perimenopause, but with the medical establishment. “Perimenopause is the transition to menopause that comes after the reproductive years,” says Dr. Nikita Patel, a family physician at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. This Baroness von Sketch skit (Warning: Strong Language) really hit home – and made me realize I certainly can’t be the only one confused about this mysterious time in a woman’s life. And it’s been hard to find solid research about it, too. So I chatted with Dr. Lisa Del Giudice, family physician, for the lowdown on this often-baffling (and sometimes long) stage of the female reproductive life cycle. Most of these women are generally in their late 40s or early 50s. There may be some exceptions such as your periods have stopped completely, you are undergoing fertility treatments or upon investigation your doctor thinks something else might be going on with your hormone levels. This would be a very good reason to consider quitting. Maybe. — after you stop buying, well, Always. Are my night sweats or suddenly geyser-like periods or hair-trigger mood swings or my insomnia or vaginal dryness symptoms of … perimenopause? A colleague of mine, who is several years older, says, “What’s really fun is when your period disappears for a few months and you think it’s gone for good, only to waltz back in like it never left.” And always — always! Are We Finally Ready to Ditch Diets For Intuitive Eating? How long does this go on? Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, Hot flashes at 41? “The research literature has also gone back and forth regarding the association of menopause with heart disease, so for this reason, I also recommend getting your blood pressure checked, along with checking your cholesterol levels and screening for diabetes,” Dr. Del Giudice added. For others, these symptoms are unbearable and severe, and can affect quality of sleep and life. I thought, It can’t be worse than this. “Hormones affect the oil glands by increasing oil production,” explains Schaffran. But perimenopause – the time leading up to menopause – can vary greatly from woman to woman, both in length and in how it manifests. “Perimenopause risk of depression is higher than pre- and post-menopause—either new-onset depression or relapse in a woman with a previous history of depression,” Patel says. Is … This Baroness von Sketch skit (Warning: Strong Language) really hit home – and made me realize I certainly can’t be the only one confused about this mysterious time in a woman’s life. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a menstrual period in 12 months. Heavier periods and the cramping associated with it can be painful and sometimes cause women to become anemic. The "Baroness von Sketch Show" — a Canadian feminist comedy series created by a hilarious quartet of 40-somethings — parodied the studied lack of studies recently, showing a woman (Carolyn Taylor) experiencing an apparent hot flash while out to lunch with a friend (Jennifer Whalen), though she isn’t sure that’s what it is. She adds: “The changes that occur during this time vary woman to woman and can very much affect a woman’s quality of life.”. Make sure you keep up with all the usual things that we know are good for your overall health: try to eat well, exercise and stop smoking. For some of us, they are mild and barely a blip on the radar. : Answers to common COVID-19 questions, Katie shares how these prosthetic ears have made a difference in her life, The road to a COVID-19 vaccine: Your questions answered, How to use your breath to calm feelings of stress or anxiety, Two years after the Yonge Street Tragedy, Cathy is walking tall, How to share caregiving responsibilities with your sibling(s). If this is the case, women should speak to their family doctor about possible treatments. It can last anywhere from two months to 10 years or maybe more, if you're even having it at all. “Sometimes we can treat this with simple topical water-based products or non-hormonal products. She warned that it wasn’t that simple — she wasn’t kidding — but she also didn't go into details.

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