(CARLSBAD, CA) – Hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, short-term memory lapses, and sleep problems…these are all what women typically experience in menopause, right? Yes, but these symptoms may also be experienced long before menopause actually takes place.
For centuries, women in their mid-30s and 40s have questioned their sanity as they endure mood swings that rival those of 13-year-old girls. Fortunately, modern-day research has shown that these symptoms are part of a stage of life commonly known as perimenopause.
Perimenopause, defined as “near menopause,” takes place years prior to a woman’s last menstrual period. While women usually go through menopause between ages 45-55, perimenopause can start as early as age 35. Perimenopause occurs when a woman’s body begins to decrease its production of certain hormones, including estrogen. This hormone change kicks-off a long-lasting period of change, culminating in actual menopause.
There is no way of knowing how long perimenopause will last. For some women, it is a period of months, whereas other women experience symptoms for years before they finally reach menopause.
Symptoms of perimenopause are rarely eliminated altogether, but women can find significant relief by taking proactive steps. Try some of these suggestions:
- Track your experience. Keep a journal for a few months. Record symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Then, look to see if there are triggers for these symptoms. For example, do you typically have a hot flash after eating spicy foods?
- Get physically active. Women who are overweight generally have more pronounced symptoms of perimenopause than other women. Ideally, you want to aim for 30 minutes of active exercise on most days of the week. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends finding an activity that you enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
- Be vocal. Talk to your doctor if you experience severe mood swings or depression. There are medications and counseling groups available. But you won’t know your options if you suffer in silence.
- Practice relaxation. You will boost your ability to cope with pestering symptoms if you find a means of relaxation. Meditation and deep breathing are two ways to take your stress level down a notch.
- Quit smoking. Research from the California Department of Health Services shows that chemicals in tobacco smoke can actually alter endocrine function in the ovaries. This affects the release of pituitary hormones, making your symptoms more intense.
Remember that perimenopause is a completely normal stage of life. If you are a woman in your mid-30s or 40s experiencing menopausal-symptoms, yet your period is still in full-force, you are likely “near menopause.” Listen to your body and take proactive steps to combat the symptoms of perimenopause.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.