Why is a cosmetic doctor like myself talking about Perimenopause?
Because if you successfully managed,
- the need for cosmetic treatments will be less or can be delayed as you’re not prematurely ageing
- you get better results from your treatments
- you heal faster
- you feel better and it shows on your face
- you look less tired, less angry and more healthy
In this blog post, I will be giving you a summary of:-
- What is Perimenopause?
- What causes it?
- How to diagnose it?
- How to manage it?
WHAT IS PERIMENOPAUSE?
It typically starts from 35 years old and slowly build up/ worsen until menopause at 50 years (unless you take steps to manage it)
Common symptoms include:-
- Worsening PMS
- Increasingly painful periods
- Breast tenderness
- Exacerbation of headaches & migraines
- Increasingly erratic periods
- Menstrual type cramps which occurs any time
- Hot flashes
- Less able to respond to stress
- Easily put on weight especially the midriff
Do you have any of these symptoms? Could you be going through Perimenopause?
WHAT CAUSES PERIMENOPAUSE?
Your hormones will rise and fall depending on the time of the month or the stage of your life. When your hormones are balanced, it operates within a nice healthy range and as long as it fluctuates within this range, you will feel on top of your game 💃🏼.
However if it swings way out of the range, you get symptoms of perimenopause. So the aim is to avoid the big swings of hormone levels.
One way is to be aware of the factors that disrupts hormonal balance and take steps to prevent, stop, manage or treat them.
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Extreme dieting
- Low caloric diet
- Low fat diet
- Excessive exercise
- Chronic stress
- Bad diet
- Food allergy/ intolerance
- Genetic predisposition
So apart from symptoms and looking at your lifestyle to check off what may disrupt your hormonal balance, you can also have investigations done to confirm whether you are in perimenopause or not.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE PERIMENOPAUSE?
Unfortunately there is no single test that will easily detect perimenopause but a combination of test. The best time to do your test is day 19-21 of your menstrual cycle.
Here is a summary of the important basic ones:-
A. Saliva Hormone Test
– to check your progesterone/oestrogen levels/ratio. A good healthy result is progesterone : oestrogen ratio of at least 300:1
B. Blood Hormone Test
– High FSH above 20mIU/ml (however this can vary greatly)
– Oestrogen test (it is usually higher in early perimenopause as it tries to squeeze the last few eggs out of the ovaries and lower in later years)
C. Other important test which may mimic the symptoms of perimenopause
– Blood Thyroid hormone profile – sluggish thyroid can cause irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes and fatigue.
– Adrenal stress saliva test – high cortisol and an unhappy adrenals can also mimic, trigger and even worsen perimenopause.
Every hormone doctor will have their favourite test. Some test are far more detailed and can detect hormone levels throughout the month instead of a snapshot picture. These are usually much more expensive.
Whichever test you decide to have at the end of the day, remember you will also need to take into account your symptoms and medical history to paint the whole picture.
HOW TO MANAGE PERIMENOPAUSE?
I’m breaking this section into 2 parts – first one is with lifestyle and food, while the second will touch on supplements and herbs.