Dr Cris here with another part of the Women Health Series, today we talk about Perimenopause, what is perimenopause? It’s the few years that happen before Menopause, it’s diagnosed or heralded for one of a better word. Perimenopause can happen around 5 years, up to 5 years before your last period. And that can be really a tumultuous time for a lot of women with lots of symptoms, they can have things like hot flushes or irritability or mode changes. Their periods can become shorter in duration or longer in duration, heavier or lighter or they might go months without a period and then they will get lots of periods in a row. That’s a sign that the hormones are starting to change and probably menopause is on the horizon.
It can be hard to diagnose perimenopause from the blood test or from what I generally use a lot of time, which is a saliva hormone testing. Those tests are just snapshots in time and your hormones might be ok by the time testing occurs and not ok the week after, so it’s very hard to diagnose that from the laboratory sense.
We still do that sort of testing because it can give us some clues but the best way to diagnose perimenopause is from symptoms so it’s a clinical diagnosis, from a doctor that is seeing a lot of it can diagnose hormone issues in particular. I find that it takes a lot of understanding a few questions around what’s happening in a particular time. Perimenopause can be a confusing time because you don’t know whether you should go on hormone treatment, you should go on a pill, you should check hormone supplements, what you should do in your diet. Often times its trial and error, finding what works for you and discussing with someone that understands hormones around what to do around that time in your life. For some they can get away with some lifestyle changes like yoga or walking or doing things like massage and acupuncture and meditation. For some women they can get away just a few simple lifestyle changes. For other women they require some supplementational support and natural herbs that can help transition that and for others there’s hormone therapy.
We generally don’t like to use the pill after the age of 40 for the reason such as increase risking of DVT or blood clots. This is potentially an unknown cancer increase risk, so we generally don’t use the pill after the age of 40. Although for some women who have been on the pill and they’re happy with it and they have very low risk of any those such as mentioned we will keep you on it, until you feel like you would like come off to see where your body is at and what’s going to happen. If you feel like you are going through perimenopause and you would like a little bit more information around what would I do, feel free to ask any questions below, I do have a questionnaire on the website that can look at hormone balance to see where you might be at, feel free to take in that and have a look at that. I look forward to answering more questions in the next part of the women’s health series.
Holistic Medical Doctor