What can you do to tackle it?
Last week we started talking about perimenopause and its symptoms. We thought it’s very important to revisit perimenopause in all its aspects as it is quite underestimated. We will try to give some advice in order to tackle it in the best way.
What’s most important is to be aware and prepared. It’s never nice to tell someone that they might have a bad experience, and the goal here isn’t to frighten you! Perimenopause is very difficult to diagnose so treatment for symptoms might not come until later if you’re not aware. The more you know about perimenopause, the easier it will be to understand if you are going through it. Ultimately, perimenopause can be quite difficult for some women and for others it can be a walk in the park, but it’s better to be over-prepared even if you end up feeling fine throughout. It’s best not to go through years of misdiagnosis, assuming your symptoms are indicative of more serious mental or physical conditions such as depression or cancer, for example. That doesn’t mean not considering more serious diagnoses, but rather being aware of how early perimenopause can start and how severe it can get. All the information on specific symptoms of perimenopause can be found here.
It’s best not to go through years of misdiagnosis, assuming your symptoms are indicative of more serious mental or physical conditions
Here are some suggestions on how to navigate through the perimenopause in a more informed way. First of all, if you’re keen on getting an official diagnosis from the GP, you can go in for multiple blood tests to check your hormone levels. If throughout the year, they’re significantly fluctuating or? gradually decreasing, it’s a good sign you’re perimenopausal. That said, many GPs may be reluctant to give you multiple blood tests, so listen to your body and pay attention to your symptoms and consider perimenopause.
When you know the cause of your pains and troubles, it can often be a major relief. Perimenopause can last a long time, so don’t let years go by without seeking treatment or help! There are some ways in which you can manage most of the symptoms.
So, the first line treatment is HRT. Even if some doctors can be reluctant in prescribing HRT in perimenopause they are still the best solution. Cyclic or continuous hormone therapy– this involves taking oral pills of oestrogen daily and progestogen for 10-14 days of the month. Alternatively, oestrogen and progesterone are delivered daily via a pill or skin patches. This difference is due to the fact that some women still have periods during perimenopause that’s why it is also suggested cyclic hormonal therapy.
Still the best and safest way of getting HRT is through gels and skin patches. Read more about HRT here.
On top of that, there are very simple things that you can change in your lifestyle that will help your overall wellbeing and therefore also the perimenopausal symptoms. Even though this will be the last thing you want to do, some days, try to exercise. Exercising can boost your mood and improve your cardiovascular health. It can help sleeping better and also it regulates your metabolism, helping not to gain weight. Surprisingly, it will help you with fatigue as well.
Stop smoking. Smoking has a lot of detrimental effect on your body starting with increasing risk of cardiovascular diseases. There is absolutely no point in putting yourself through this risk, especially at this time.
Try to get more sleep. Insomnia is a very common symptom of the menopause and sleep deprivation could take its toll on your everyday life. You can try to get a better quality sleep by waking up and going to bed at the same time, and by eliminating any disturbance from your bedroom in order to improve your sleep condition.
Drink less alcohol. I know there is a real pleasure in a glass of wine, but try to control yourself. Drinking increases possibility of having hot flushes and this is not helpful if you already get hot flushes. Try to maintain a healthy weight. It is not easy, as in menopause you get “thick around the middle” but by controlling your diet and with exercise it might be easier to keep your weight under control.
Sex drive. You can talk to your doctor if you are having problems with your sex drive. He or she may be able to recommend a counsellor or therapist to help you and your partner work through this problem. Vaginal moisturisers are also recommended, if vaginal dryness is a problem. Keep in mind that even if you are taking oral HRT, the best way to help vaginal dryness is local oestrogen. You can also help your sex life by using vaginal lubricants (you can find our range of MM natural lubricants here)
Last important piece of advice is: talk about it. With friends, with family, with your doctor, the important thing is to speak out. Don’t be afraid of talking and sharing your experience. This is the most important thing to make our voice heard.