As you creep into your 40s, you might see some signs and symptoms of perimenopause creep in. Everyone reassures you that it’s ‘normal’ for your pants to start digging in, your brain to fill with cotton wool or even to lose your tolerance for your favourite wine.
I’m here to tell you – these experiences might be common, but that doesn’t mean they’re normal. Put simply, they aren’t things you have just accept as part of getting older! So if you experience any of these 10 common symptoms of perimenopause, it’s time to look at how you can alleviate them.
10 Common Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Walking into a room and forgetting what you were coming in for on a weekly (or daily) basis? Struggling to focus on what you’re doing? Or maybe you feel like your brain has been enveloped in a soup-thick cloud and everything’s a little harder to reach?
Welcome to brain fog, my friend. When I speak with clients, this is one of the top reported common symptoms of perimenopause. Everyone is a little different with how it affects them, but if it’s your brain not working properly, it’s brain fog.
Brain fog is a big one we want to get under control, not only for your sanity, but also to rule out more concerning causes of brain fog. For example, we want to make sure your hormones are to blame and it’s not an early sign of dementia.
Headaches and migraines
Feel like you’ve had a headache lingering since, oh I don’t know, your 40th birthday? Headaches and migraines often pop up for women in their 40s. There are a lot of potential contributing reasons – stress, hormonal imbalances, food intolerances and poor sleep are a few.
But what I want to make clear here is that frequent headaches (daily, weekly or fortnightly) are not a NORMAL experience. If that is what you’re experiencing, there are ways to get them under control.
Noticed your migraines are more frequent? Check out this blog for some tips around chronic migraines.
Can’t remember the last time you had an unbroken, long sleep and woke up feeling refreshed? If so, you might be suffering from perimenopausal insomnia.
With insomnia and sleep issues, you might be struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or sleep deeply. Many suffer from a combination of all of the above. But although it’s not unusual to have sleep issues during perimenopause, it’s definitely not normal and it is critical that you address it for your long-term health (and short-term sanity!)
Low energy & exhaustion
When was the last time you felt energised naturally – without the help of caffeine? If it’s been a while, your low energy levels might be something to pay attention to.
Now I’m not talking about that fatigue you get at the end of a busy day. I’m talking about feeling tired all the time. The kind of fatigue that has you reaching for the coffee constantly throughout the day just to get you through.
Because so many people are tired (especially at this time of the year and even moreso after the year we’ve had), they think it’s normal. But ongoing fatigue and exhaustion is a sign that something is off with your energy production.
Hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, nutrient deficiencies and poor sleep are just a few common underlying causes that we can address.
Heavy, painful periods
You would think that with the end of your periods around the corner, Mother Nature would give you a break. Unfortunately, many women experience the exact opposite! You might experience:
- Heavy bleeding during your period
- Painful periods with significant cramping
- Spotting in between periods
- Shorter or longer cycles
- Exaggerated PMS symptoms
- A combination of all of the above!
While it’s not uncommon to experience these, it is not normal to be soaking through your pads or tampons or curled up in a ball every time your period hits. If you’re not sure if your symptoms fall within the normal range, make sure you check with your healthcare practitioner.
The perimenopausal weight gain is a sneaky one. It starts off slowly, just a little creep of a kilo or two. You shrug it off – a lot has been going on lately and you’ve probably had a few more treats than usual.
But the next thing you know, your favourite pants don’t fit, your scale is lying to you (surely it’s not that high??) and you feel uncomfortable in your own skin all the time.
Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause, and so many women think it is normal as well. But I’m here to tell you – you’re not actually doomed to feel fat and flabby for the rest of your life.
Want to know how I dropped 19kg at age 45 and kept it off for over 12 months and counting?
No, I didn’t cut down to 1200 calories or work out 7 days a week to achieve it. In fact, I used 100% wholefoods tailored to my own body’s needs, and it transformed not only my body, but my entire life.
Food sensitivities & intolerances
When you were younger, you could eat anything and get away with it. But lately, you’ve noticed that your body isn’t accepting certain foods anymore. It might be bread, dairy, or even your nightly glass of vino. Unfortunately, my friend, you have hit the food intolerance zone.
One of the most common intolerances I see pop up among my clients is meat. Many of them have become vegetarian or plant-based because meat was making them feel uncomfortable, bloated, and even gassy. For more about meat intolerance in perimenopause and what you can do about it, give this article a read.
Thought that breakouts were a challenge you left behind in puberty? Hate to burst your bubble, but perimenopausal acne is a common symptom for many women.
This is due to a combination of contributors – higher testosterone, thyroid dysfunction, high prolactin and insulin resistance to name a few. Once you throw in a few lifestyle factors such as high stress, poor quality sleep and an imbalanced diet, it adds up to frequent breakouts.
The good news is there are ways to overcome this – give this a read if you’re struggling with perimenopausal acne.
Joint pain and stiffness
We always joke about having aches and pains because we’re old – but is experiencing aches and pains in your 40s actually normal?
The answer is not really. In fact, it can be an indicator of underlying inflammation that contributes not only to pain, but a host of chronic health conditions.
Chronic low-grade inflammation is one of the top risk factors for serious disease from type 2 diabetes to heart disease, cancer and even autoimmune disease. So it’s something we want to take seriously.
Managing sore, stiff joints and muscles is a teamwork situation. You want to see your physio, osteo, myotherapist or chiropractor to manage the physical aspect of it. But lifestyle factors such as diet, movement, sleep, stress and environment are what can drive the underlying inflammation.
Have you suddenly turned into what we like to call Savage Beast Woman? You know what I mean – when you transform into an uncontrollable bitch monster because hubby forgot to hang up the washing or teen is being obnoxious?
Mood swings are one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause, so most think it’s something you just have to put up with. But what is really going on here is a combination of hormonal shifts that influence your nervous system. You’re producing less of the cool, calming progesterone, which throws your balance right off!
This also ties in with another common symptom – low stress tolerance. The everyday things that didn’t bother you are now overwhelming, causing your moods to swing even more (eek!)
But the good news is you don’t have to turn into She-Hulk or a sobbing wreck every time a small inconvenience pops up. By encouraging a better balance of hormones, you can rediscover your inner Zen.
Sick of settling for feeling blah?
If you’re suffering from one or many of these common symptoms of perimenopause, know that you are not alone. There are ways that we can address each of these and get you feeling fabulous again.
Book in for a free discovery call today, and we can explore how I can help you to reboot your body and feel good again.