Perimenopause, or menopause transition, begins several years before menopause, it’s the time when you ovaries gradually begin to make less oestrogen.

Perimenopause can start as early in your 30s and lasts up until menopause. If you find you are experiencing some of the symptoms listed below.

Hot flushes and sweats

Irritability and low mood anxiety and depression

Loss of libido as changed to your sex drive are extremely common in perimenopause.

Joint pain and tiredness

Changes in your period getting heavier and heavier and lasting longer or getting lighter and further apart.

Complicated in sleeping and problems with memory and concentrating

Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex

Breast tenderness

Urine leakage when coughing and sneezing

Often your doctor can make a diagnosis of perimenopause based on your symptoms. A blood test can check your hormone levels over a space of time as your hormone levels change during perimenopause, and they can compare the results.

All these symptoms can affect your life in so many different ways, and you can begin not to recognise yourself while dealing with all these life changes.

Of course, it can vary from woman to woman and making some life simple lifestyle changes, for example, alcohol and caffeine and hot drinks as these can make you feel warmer and when you are already dealing with hot flushes, you don’t want to add to overheating.

Ditch the doughnuts and fatty foods as lowered levels of both oestrogen and progesterone occur during perimenopause and can be the reason for sugar cravings. Try snacking on health food like peanut butter for protein, and antioxidants and cinnamon to help stabilise your blood sugar response.

Skip spicy foods as they provide a lot of heat that can boost your metabolic rate; they also cause hot flushes so best to avoid. To help with hot flushes, wear light clothing and keep your bedroom fresh at night.

Take a cold shower and invest in a fan for the bedroom. Fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids like DHA that helps to decrease cardiovascular disease risk, which increases in a woman when oestrogen levels plummet.

The best way to prevent weight gain is to move more. Physical activity, including aerobic exercise and strength training and cardio, are functional exercises to burn the right amount of calories helping to prevent weight gain which many woman experience while benign this journey before menopause.

Yoga can help ward off heart disease and lowers blood sugars and blood pressure. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress and improve your quality of life. Drug therapy is often used to help with the symptoms; here is a few are listed below.

Vaginal estrogen can help with relief if you are suffering from vaginal dryness, oestrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal tablet. This treatment releases just a small amount of oestrogen, which is absorbed by the vaginal tissue. It can help relieve vaginal dryness.

Gabapentin is approved to treat seizures but has shown to help with hot flushes. This drug is useful in a woman who can’t use oestrogen therapy for health reasons and also can be used for migraines.

If your flashes and sweats are severe your GP may suggest taking HRT but not every woman can take this so will have to try a non-hormone medicine such as Clonidine or serotonin which are typically used for treating anxiety and depression but can work in altering the level neurotransmitter substances in the brain.

By doing this, they also seem to be effective. As many woman experiences lowered mood before menopause.

Hormone therapy and systemic oestrogen, which comes in a pill, skin patch, gel or cream form remains the most effective treatment option for relieving perimenopausal symptoms.

Mood swings can be a daily occurrence, so don’t worry, you are not alone if one minute your happy and the next you have gone crazy.

Having a good network around your support is essential as you need lots of laughter, and if you have a partner, he or she will need lots of patience. There is a Forum called The Menopause Matters forum, and it is one of the best well known, online groups for discussing all things menopause. With members posting every day, so if you are feeling alone, we hope the above information helps.

How do you know when you have finally reached the menopause, in the UK, the average age which woman reach the menopause is 50, but it can happen anytime between the ages of 45 and 55. Around one 100 women reach menopause before 40. This is called premature menopause.

You know when it finally happened because your periods will stop. Your GP will be able to confirm yours have reached menopause based on a blood test which will show your hormone levels. Don’t suffer in silence if you are feeling floored by it all speak with your GP and he can get your some professional counselling.