Surprise, surprise! You may still be having periods and starting to have hot flashes and night sweats, but girl, you are not at Menopause just yet. That’s because Menopause is actually just 1 day out of your whole life.
What? Yes, that’s because the way we define menopause is kind of strange. Menopause is that one magical day when a woman hasn’t had any menstrual bleeding for 12 months. When I think of magic, I think of rainbows. Here’s my representation of the 1 magical day of menopause.
The following day, after 12 months without any bleeding, a woman is considered post menopausal. The average age for menopause, when a woman stops having periods altogether is between 51 – 52.
So if you’ve had any bleeding in the last year, you are in Perimenopause. Perimenopause is the not-so-magical time in a woman’s life when everything is haywire and unpredictable. This is the time when you’ll be on a hormonal roller coaster, complete with wide swings in all of your hormones and every aspect of your life. This image is my idea of a scary rollercoaster.
What women experience in Perimenopause:
- Erratic periods
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
- No sex drive
- Leaking urine
- Aching hips and knees
- The complete catastrophe!
You get the idea. For many women, this time in their lives is much worse than being post menopausal, when their symptoms start to improve.
Women may experience perimenopause symptoms starting in their 40s or 50s.
Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
Hot Flashes: Feelings of intense heat can appear out of thin air, radiating from your shoulders to your face and scalp. For some women, a racing heart accompanies hot flashes. Flushing and sweating are common, but you could also appear cool as a cucumber.
Night sweats: This is typically the first sign of menopause. Some women have only a slight sensation of warmth, while others sweat so much at night they have to get up and change their clothes. Night sweats are often accompanied by waking up with a sudden urge to go to the bathroom.
Hot Flashes and night sweats can be triggered by:
- Drinking alcohol
- Hot showers or baths
- Too many clothes
- Sudden fluctuations in temperature
- Even a hot meal or drink!
Read more about all things related to midlife and menopause in my award-winning book The Hot Guide to a Cool Sexy Menopause
P.S. I donate all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to FAME Hospital and Clinic in Tanzania, where I volunteer.