Everything you need to know about perimenopause and hitting it in your 30s
You know that toxic boyfriend, who creeps his way into your life so slowly and steadily that you don’t realise the degree of his toxicity till he finally leaves for good? Unfortunately, perimenopause happens to be the “hormonal equivalent” of this creep–making way for menopause.
But what is perimenopause really? Let’s decode
Perimenopause is the stage where you experience symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and sleeping disorders, but you still get your periods. However, you might get irregular periods or your flow might be extremely light.
“Perimenopause is a condition when the body naturally makes a transition towards menopause,” states Dr Nisha Jain, a gynaecologist at Saroj Super-Speciality Hospital.
But why does perimenopause happen?
“The ovaries gradually decrease the production of oestrogen, leading to irregular periods and other hormonal changes, preparing the body for the onset of menopause,” explains Dr Jain.
When does perimenopause happen and how long does it last?
Well, this completely depends on the individual, to be honest. You’ve got to consider your genetic history, lifestyle, and the behaviour of your hormones to determine when it’ll hit you–but many studies say that perimenopause can start in your 30s!
As for the duration of this calm before the big storm of menopause, it can last for around three to four years according to Dr A. Jaishree Gajaraj, senior consultant, Obstetrics & Gynecology, MGM Healthcare, Chennai.
What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
Throughout the perimenopause stage, major changes may take place in your body. Needless to say, your body will react to these changes and show certain symptoms, like:
- Irregular periods
- Breast tenderness
- Feverish heat
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Lower sex drive
- Urinary urgency
What about the other ‘P’ during perimenopause? Can you get pregnant?
If you think the upside of dealing with the transition from being fertile to not-so-fertile means you can enjoy unprotected sex without the risk of an unwanted pregnancy–don’t get your hopes too high just yet.
“Despite a decline in fertility during perimenopause, a woman can get pregnant due to unprotected sexual intercourse. The chances are rare, but, it is advised to have safe sex during this stage,” Dr Jain warns.
Any other health risks?
Yes, yes, yes! Unfortunately, you could get diabetes and hypertension along with the stress of having to let go of your fertility, according to Dr Gajaraj.
Additionally, Dr Jain points out: “Perimenopause elevates the risk of developing various diseases like osteoporosis, obesity, and heart diseases.”
Don’t worry! Here’s how you can cope with perimenopause
If you keep your act together from the very beginning–not only can you decrease the health risks during perimenopause, but also prevent it from hitting you sooner than it should.
Dr Jain suggests that you should take the following precautions to achieve the same:
- Regular exercise
- Adding calcium-rich foods in your diet
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Get enough sleep
Ladies, we’re hoping that by now have realised that there’s no problem that a healthy lifestyle can’t solve. So, go on and adapt one to deal with perimenopause bravely.