The Telltale Signs that Perimenopause is Ending
Perimenopause is the transition into menopause. It starts slowly and continues for 4 to 7 years on average. During perimenopause, our hormones–first progesterone and later estrogen–begin to decrease. We lose these hormones gradually over time until we reach menopause. (At menopause, very little progesterone is produced and estrogen drops to about ⅔ of its former level.) Often the more gradual the hormonal change during perimenopause, the fewer the symptoms. As progesterone drops first, it can be the imbalance between progesterone and estrogen that causes our PMS-like/hormonal symptoms. But what are some signs perimenopause is ending and we are reaching menopause?
We are likely in perimenopause when our cycles are consistently at least a week off, earlier or later than before. Then, changes in our cycle become even more pronounced about two years before our last period, and we can go six weeks or even six months without menstruating.
Sixty or more days without a period is considered the entry point to the later stage of perimenopause, and is one of the telltale signs that perimenopause is ending. At this point, it is likely that our FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is greater than 25 IU/L, and we are experiencing vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats). This stage of perimenopause usually lasts between one and three years.
Longer Menopause Transitions
Black women, and all women who begin perimenopause on the earlier side, tend to experience a longer transition into menopause. And the shorter a woman’s cycle was to begin with, the shorter her perimenopause tends to be. Also, one third of us experience a rise in estrogen for the five years before our last period and then a dramatic decline one year before menopause, which causes more pronounced challenges.
THE DAY we are one year past our last period, we are AT MENOPAUSE and entering into our greatest creative potential, self-knowledge, and a fabulous new joie-de-vivre.
There are many options for managing and embracing perimenopause that are natural, accessible, and can be implemented on your own. Food, herbs, exercise, supplements, stress management, and sleep all positively contribute. One of our favorite supports in perimenopause is Chasteberry (Vitex.) It can help regulate the menstrual cycle, and reduce cramps, moodiness, anxiety, and breast tenderness. It does this by increasing the production of progesterone (the first hormone to drop in perimenopause.) Throw ¼-½ tsp/day of the dried berries or powder into a morning smoothie. Find them at Starwest Botanicals Chasteberry.
Learn More about Nutrition-Related Solutions
Become the Expert of Your Own Menopause! Click here if you would like to learn more about the stages of menopause and how to manage and embrace them.