What is Perimenopause? If You’re 30 & Older You May Want to Read This!

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What is perimenopause? Read on to learn more about this natural event that’s affecting 1.2 billion women.

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Aging doesn’t have to mean suffering through symptoms. What is perimenopause? Understand your body & improve your quality of life with us!

I was recently sitting poolside with some friends when one of them started talking about their changing body and one said “You’ve got to listen to the perimenopause podcast I keep telling you about!”. It immediately caught my attention and I knew I needed to hear it too.

As a mom of three and in my mid-30s I want to be prepared for what’s inevitably happening to my body (in the near future, at that). Women live about a third of their lives going through these changes, so being educated can make the transition smoother and empower you to live a more balanced life. Menopause is impacting 1.2 billion women and there’s lots of conflicting information so we’re certainly not alone in looking for answers that can help.

If you’re reading this, it’s time to get educated on your mind, body, and hormones and embrace these changes!

woman on floral bed with white nightgown

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause, marking the natural decline in reproductive hormones in a woman’s body. It’s a natural part of aging and eventually leads to menopause, which is defined as the cessation of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months.

As described by Dr. Mary Claire Haver, perimenopause is the moment in time before menopause when your body realizes something’s not right. Whether that be gut challenges, inflammation in joints, mental challenges, and more.

When does perimenopause start?

Perimenopause usually begins about 7-10 years before your period stops. Typically this happens when women are in their 40s, but it can begin as early as your 30s.

woman with hands on chin sitting at desk looking sad at laptop

Signs of perimenopause:

There are MANY symptoms that can be related to perimenopause and menopause that you may not even realize. Think about it, women’s bodies have thrived on estrogen their entire lives, but as we age it quickly starts to deplete. Significantly lower estrogen in the body has a major effect on every single aspect of your system from your organs to your muscles and bones, and more. During perimenopause, it may feel like your body is starting to go haywire.

What’s more, symptoms vary from woman to woman so it’s difficult for a doctor who’s not properly educated on menopause to correctly diagnose the root of the problem. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weaker bones (Osteoporosis)
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry skin
  • Ear ringing
  • Body odor
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Lower sex drive
  • Heightened cholesterol
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Depression
  • General urinary symptoms of menopause:
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Painful urination
    • Recurrent UTI’s
    • Frequent urination
  • Inflammation in the body
  • Heart palpitations
  • Migraines
  • and many more

woman with hand over forehead in bed with white sheets

So how can you make things better for you? 

Learning what the lack of estrogen does to your body is important to understanding your symptoms and being able to help yourself through this transition. Every body is unique and symptoms can vary from woman to woman.

Hormone Replacement Therapy has conflicting opinions, but research has proven this to be extremely beneficial to perimenopausal women and beyond. Just keep in mind, that some women may not be candidates for HRT due to certain health conditions so it’s important to consult a hormone therapy professional.

In addition to hormone therapy, lifestyle factors such as proper nutrition, exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep can also play a role in hormone balance and overall well-being. Your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes to complement hormone therapy. Training your body to be strong, not skinny is key. (Resistance training is a great place for anyone to start a fitness journey).

Supplements may be helpful as well. Although it’s crucial to get the majority of your nutrients in the foods you eat. Supplementation should be used to fill in gaps or where you have an allergy or intolerance.

two pieces of raw salmon on paper

According to Dr. Mary Claire Haver (a menopause expert), these are the top 4 perimenopause supplements she recommends to women:

  1. Fiber: Feeds your gut microbiome.
    • Some foods to get fiber naturally: legumes, berries, seeds & nuts, and avocados.
  2. Magnesium: This can be helpful for sleep, anxiety, brain health, depression, constipation, and more. Dr. Mary Claire Haver recommends Magnesium L-Threonate as the ideal supplement to take.
    • Some foods to get magnesium naturally: pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, brown rice, quinoa, bananas, dark chocolate, and fatty fish.
  3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Essential for maintaining heart health, brain function, and overall well-being.
    • Some foods to get omega 3s naturally: fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), flax & chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, spinach, kale, and brussels sprouts.
  4. Vitamin D: Essential for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being.
    • Some foods to get vitamin D naturally: fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified dairy products (milk, yogurt, & cheese), mushrooms, pork liver, and fortified cereals.

two women sitting on towel looking out at ocean sunset

Signs perimenopause is ending.

The signs that perimenopause is ending and transitioning into menopause can vary from woman to woman, but here are some common indicators:

  1. Consistent Menstrual Changes: Towards the end, periods become less frequent, lighter, or irregular. Menstruation stops completely for at least 12 consecutive months, indicating the start of menopause.
  2. Decrease in Perimenopausal Symptoms: Many women experience a reduction in perimenopausal symptoms as they approach menopause. Symptoms may become less frequent or less severe.
  3. Stabilization of Hormone Levels: Hormonal fluctuations are characteristic of perimenopause but tend to stabilize as menopause approaches. Estrogen levels typically decline, and hormonal imbalances become less pronounced.
  4. Resolution of Menopausal Symptoms: Some women find that once they have officially entered menopause, many of the bothersome symptoms associated with perimenopause begin to resolve entirely. For example, hot flashes and night sweats may diminish or disappear altogether.
  5. Physical Changes: Along with hormonal shifts, physical changes may occur as perimenopause transitions into menopause. These changes can include alterations in skin texture, changes in body composition (such as weight redistribution), and shifts in hair growth patterns.
  6. Emotional Well-Being: Some women experience improvements in mood and emotional well-being as they move past perimenopause. Mood swings and feelings of irritability or anxiety may decrease, leading to a greater sense of emotional stability.

Important: Once you’ve gone a year without a period, you are a post-menopausal woman. Any vaginal bleeding after perimenopause should be evaluated by a doctor.

hand holding the new menopause book

Want to continue your education on perimenopause with experts? Here are a few recommendations:

Discover more menopause resources HERE.

Treat yourself to some women’s deals…you deserve it.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 13

  1. llc

    another issue are joint pain. mine are from ligaments tearing off my upper gluteus medius and labral tears in my hips. im in excusiating pain. All from low estrogen.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      That does sound uncomfortable – so sorry you’re dealing with that joint pain. Thank you for sharing about your experience through perimenopause. 💕

  2. TD

    Please read the book Good Fat is Good for Women and find Dr. Elizabeth Bright on YouTube. The carnivore diet is lifechanging, but more importantly, so is butter and getting RID of fiber.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing the book suggestion, TD. Always good to explore different perspectives on health. 💗


    Not sure if it’s allowed to share supplement recommendations, but I would encourage anyone looking to help support their health to checkout Rootless Daily Bites @ https://getrootless.com/. It’s a whole food bite powered by seaweed that designed to help with hormonal balance.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Sure appreciate you taking a moment to let us know your recommendation, Natalie. 🤗 Good to hear that their products may help with hormone balance. 💕

  4. Lizag

    My doctor recommended “Estroven” and Primrose Oil tablets for my perimenopause symptoms. Both were extremely effective.

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing what your doctor recommended, Lizag! Glad to hear these were helpful for you! 🙌💞

  5. A.B.

    This started for me last year, and I was absolutely CONVINCED that I was dying!!! After numerous doctor and specialist visits, the word perimenopause was finally introduced! I’m so happy to see a conversation here about this, regardless of how opinions may vary, I think it’s great to spread the word, and let people know they’re not alone! 💝 Thanks H2S!

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re SO welcome, A.B.! Hoping your able to find some information here that is beneficial to you! ❣️

  6. Lisa

    So glad to read this post! I’ve been following Dr. Haver for a year and haven’t bought her book yet. Menopause needs to be talked about by more women and even men. I’ve been going through perimenopause for about 5 years and just recently noticed several more symptoms. One of my biggest struggles is the weight gain in the mid section. I’ve always been fit, eat clean and exercise regularly. So frustrating when you can’t even lose a pound even when you’re doing everything right.

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing about your experience and biggest struggle, Lisa! 🤗 That does sound frustrating! Hoping you might find a solution that works for you! 🩷

  7. Amanda

    I had a total hysterectomy in June 2023, and have been on hormone replacement therapy since (biote pellets). I only get testosterone due to being high risk for breast cancer since my mom had it. Two days ago I woke up with the worst pain and swelling in my hands, feet, and ankles. I am going to the doc today to talk about it, but has anyone else experienced this from low estrogen? I’m starting to worry that it may be rheumatoid arthritis:(. Tia!

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