Contrary to popular belief, menopause does not come on suddenly. It does not come creeping like a thief in the night and silently steal your period. It is a long process of the body preparing to cease its child-bearing functions. This process happens gradually over time. Sometimes these changes are very subtle, but for others, the changes are very apparent.
Many patients, some in their late 30s and more in their 40s come to me and say, “Dr Mandal, I’m not sleeping, I’m always tired, and I’m feeling off.” It is at this time when I bring up that what they are experiencing may be related to perimenopause. I always check for other reasons to help solve the puzzle, but more often than not, perimenopause is always left on the table. I had one patient come visit me; she had a young family and started experiencing the onset of perimenopause. She went to her family doctor for help. She was anxious, fatigued and irritable. She had been accustomed to handling all the stressors of her own business without these symptoms, so why now? Well, we discussed it was due to perimenopause. Her previous doctor told her to give up her business, which was absolutely shocking to both my patient and me.
The onset of perimenopause can vary widely. For some, it occurs over a few years, for others, it’s a much longer journey. It can start as early as the thirties or as late as the fifties.
What Are The Signs? How Do You Know That It Has Arrived?
Most women will experience at least some of these symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Decreased sex drive
- Worsening premenstrual symptoms (PMS)
- Irregular menstrual cycles or significant changes in your periods
- Brain fog
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep
- Hair/ skin changes
Why does this happen? Well, as we approach perimenopause and menopause, our ovaries and pituitary gland needs to work harder each month. As we get older, the capability of pregnancy decreases. Estrogen and progesterone decrease. This can affect our other bodily functions and cause the symptoms that were previously mentioned.
What Are You Supposed To Do If You Are Experiencing Symptoms Of Perimenopause?
The answer varies from woman to woman. Some women may not need to do anything. Others who are experiencing more pronounced symptoms may need more. As a general rule, I always recommend a healthy diet, exercise, meditation and stress management. Some women may need medications (both traditional and alternative) to help. There are recommended tests that a doctor can perform.
Choose a doctor that listens to you and does not dismiss your symptoms.
As we all go through this journey, know that you are not alone in this. Menopause is inevitable. As women, our lives are about transformation, and this is one more chrysalis to add to the spectacular butterfly. Please read my newly published book, Dear Menopause, I Do Not Fear You, available on Amazon and leading bookstores. I hope you can find the answers there.
Are you suffering from the symptoms of Perimenopause?
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Widely regarded as one of America’s top physicians in midlife women’s health, Dr. Soma Mandal is a board-certified Internist who has helped thousands of women to successfully navigate Menopause and reinvent themselves along the way. Earning her MD at New York University School of Medicine, and a prestigious research fellowship at Oxford University in England, Dr. Mandal brings a fresh perspective to the topic of Menopause, particularly for women of color.
Fusing traditional Western medicine with her Eastern roots, Dr. Mandal’s approach combines the best of both worlds. Her unique approach provides women with a much-needed, easy-to follow process, making the forties and fifties plus, fabulous.
Website – drsomamandal.com
Instagram – @drsomamandalmd
Facebook – @DrSomaMandal
Twitter – @SomaMd1