In this video, Dr Stephanie Goodwin explains exactly what perimenopause is, and what to expect when it comes to perimenopause symptoms.
Below is a full transcript of Dr Steph’s video guide to perimenopause and perimenopause symptoms. And you’ll find lots more videos from her on the MPowered Women YouTube channel.
What is perimenopause?
The perimenopause is the time leading up to the menopause, so leading up to the time when you stop having periods all together.
Usually it starts at about the age of 45, perhaps when women are not expecting it, and they start to get symptoms that creep in and they’re not entirely sure what it is. In the UK on average there will be about 11 million women having perimenopausal symptoms at any one period of time.
How long does perimenopause last?
Perimenopausal symptoms might last for six months, you might be one of those women who has regular periods then they stop and that’s the end of it. Or it might be that for months or even several years, for some women things are gradually happening all the time. So it’s very difficult to predict, but usually I would say it’s for a few years in most women.
What are the perimenopause symptoms?
The symptoms of the perimenopause vary a lot, but often what I see is women who start to experience mood changes, so anxiety or depression or poor sleep. They might go and see their GP, complaining of those symptoms, not being aware that there might be others, and then being treated with maybe antidepressants, which is not what they need.
So there may be emotional changes. Physical changes might be hot flushes or sweats, irregular periods, worsening premenstrual tension, muscle pains, vaginal dryness or soreness, and change in libido. They’re the sorts of things that can be creeping up on you.
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Can I take HRT if I’m still having a period?
Yes you can start HRT in the perimenopause. It’s a bit of a myth that you have to wait until you’ve stopped having periods before you can start HRT. I’ve certainly met women who have been told that you can’t take HRT until it’s been a whole year. That is not the case. Yes, you can use HRT when you’re in the perimenopause.
You’ll find more videos from Dr Stephanie Goodwin on menopause and perimenopause on the MPowered Women YouTube channel. Who needs Netflix! Subscribe now and get the answers to all your midlife health needs. (Then you can go back to Netflix.)