By Ericka Moore, Director of Energy (Eating, Exercise, & Sleep)
Spring is here! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the bees are humming—and you’re feeling and moving like Suzy the sloth. You ask yourself, Where is my energy? There are a lot of reasons for feeling tired—anything from wacky sleep schedules to lack of motivation. Let me suggest another possibility for your decreased energy. Could it be perimenopause? Wait, what is that?
What is Perimenopause? Menopause?
Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause. It can last from four to ten years. Some women begin noticing symptoms in their thirties but most women will start the process in their forties. Menopause occurs when a woman does not have a menstrual cycle for twelve consecutive months. Average age for menopause is fifty-one but can occur anytime between ages forty to fifty-eight. Due to medical procedures, some women may undergo menopause early; this is called induced menopause.
During perimenopause, ovaries are beginning to slow down, and less estrogen is produced. Eventually, the ovaries will no longer release eggs, so pregnancy will not be able to occur. This transition causes hormone fluctuations resulting in some of the following common symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, breast tenderness, migraine headaches, difficulty concentrating, sleep challenges, mood swings, anxiety, menstrual cycle changes, weight gain, loss of libido, etc. Some uncommon symptoms include increased body odor, hair loss, vision changes, cold flashes, increased allergies, increased facial hair. Symptoms may continue until the menopause stage for some women. Due to low estrogen levels during breastfeeding, mothers may feel symptoms that are menopausal-like. Yet, it is possible for a breastfeeding mother to experience perimenopause.
What can you do?
Perimenopause and menopause are natural processes that occur for women and should not be feared. Empower yourselves with information and support so you can become a positive example to other women.
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