Perimenopause: Four Tips So You Don’t Suffer In Silence
Education and Advocacy Millions of Canadian women are experiencing menopause, yet many are still ashamed to talk about it. It’s time to release the stigma and start the conversation.
I know what you’re thinking. You think you’re the only one. The only one who doesn’t feel like having sex, the only one losing her temper, and the only one wide awake at 3 a.m. These changes could be subtle; they could be nothing.
Or they could be signs of perimenopause—the 5-15 years of transition leading up to menopause.
And why do you feel all alone? Well, traditionally, perimenopause conversations have rarely happened amongst friends, co-workers or our partners.
It’s more common to “suck it up” than to crack open the conversations that will help you become your own best health advocate.
Talk to other women
If possible, talk with your mother or sister. At what age did she first start noticing changes in her period? How old was she when she had her last period? What symptoms did she experience, and how did she manage them? Mention perimenopause to your friends. It’s comforting to hear their experiences and to confirm you are not alone!
Talk to your health care provider
Make the most of the perimenopause conversation with your doctor by making a list of questions ahead of time. Track your symptoms with a 1-10 severity rating for a month. This tracking chart will help your doctor probe further to find solutions that are right for you.
Talk to Your Husband or Partner
Not talking about perimenopause could lead your partner to assumptions that you’re developing a disease (menopause is not a disease!), or that you want a divorce. Begin by clarifying the average ages and definitions of perimenopause and menopause and debunk any myths. Ask your husband to try not to personalize your hormonal fluctuations, such as a snappy temper. Invite him to respond with a hug or an “I understand.”
Talk to Yourself
Get clear on your own preconceptions. Are you inclined to believe that this is just part of being a woman? Do you see yourself proactively seeking the advice of a menopause/hormone balance specialist? Become aware of potential symptoms. It’s challenging to talk about perimenopause and menopause until you understand it yourself. Remind yourself that menopause is a natural transition. And while it is different for everyone, you are not alone.