5 signs you're going through Peri-Menopause
Fitness trainer and founder of women's health platform, Xali, Naz de Bono shares 5 signs you may be peri-menopausal
1. Hot flashes: This is an intense feeling of heat that comes on suddenly & isn't caused by hot weather. My skin can heat to an inferno very suddenly then drop to Arctic temperatures, all in the space of 3 minutes! My kids would laugh as I suddenly and erratically ‘stripped’ while watching tv with them.
Listen to Shelly Horton share her experience with peri-menopause
2. Insomnia: Difficulty sleeping is common in peri-menopause. I have never been a great sleeper, but when the hot flushes came on I would wake and not understand why till I thought my skin was on fire closely followed by an urgent desire to pee! It was not unusual to see me spinning with my arms outstretched under the ceiling fan closely followed by a dash to the loo… by this time I struggled to get back to sleep.
3. Weight gain (specifically around the middle): Speaks for itself! Increasing distribution of abdominal fat is linked to the hormonal changes in the peri-menopause. I used to have a tiny waist, now it feels like one cylinder from my rib cage to my hips! This was tough for me as I felt my body shape as a Personal Trainer kind of ‘defined me’.
4. Lower sex drive: Fluctuating hormone levels during peri-menopause and menopause can also affect a woman's mental health, which in turn, may cause a decrease in her libido. I presumed that having my 2nd child aged 40, I was just too damn tired to have any sex drive. But now I realise this is around the time peri menopause started for me. I wish I had known earlier, as it was tough for me and my husband.
5. Hormone changes: Hormone changes during this time mean many women may suffer severe mood swings and may experience anxiety and depression for the first time in their lives. For me I would go through a whole range from Rage to Hopeless often followed by tears. It felt like I wasn't me anymore. This improved (but did not totally go away) when I started HRT.
During this time I also had swollen and tender breasts which are often a sign of high levels of oestrogen, which is common in peri-menopausal. This coupled with my swollen belly made me think I was pregnant on more than one occasion - yes, I even got the tests! P.S. You can still get pregnant in peri-menopause. To add to the fact that I thought I was pregnant, I was also having irregular periods which can last 4-8 years. This can be in the form of heavy flows followed by skipping periods.
Naz de Bono created Xali after going on her own journey with peri and menopause, and finding it an incredibly lonely and confusing time, “this is something every woman on this planet experiences yet we hide from.
I’m 50, I’m in the middle of menopause and I realised that instead of fighting it, I needed to accept that something profound was happening to me. I’m not the same as I was before.”
The Xali platform was created as a safe space for women to connect with each other while they are going through perimenopause and menopause.
As part of the research we conducted for Xali, we found that 64% of women experiencing symptoms connected with peri and menopause do not seek help and 21% thought that it was just a part of getting older. We also found that only 4% of women aged 40-65 have talked about peri/menopause with their male partner, “which shows that there is still a sense of shame surrounding this totally natural change that all of us women go through”.