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In conversation with hormone expert Dr. Sara Gottfried, the 46-year-old actress and wellness entrepreneur reveals she has been experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, which is the transition stage into menopause.
During the discussion, Gwyneth admits to suffering from erratic mood swings. She says: “When you get into perimenopause you notice a lot of changes. I can feel hormonal shifts happening, the moods, you’re all of a sudden furious for no reason.”
While a lot has been written about the menopause itself, perimenopause is a lesser known term. This is what you can expect from this period, and what you can do to reduce symptoms.
What is perimenopause?
Dr Louise Newson, GP and member of the British Menopause Society, told Yahoo UK: “Perimenopause is the time around the menopause when symptoms can start occurring before periods stop.”
It is the process where the ovaries gradually begin to produce less oestrogen, usually begins in a woman’s 40s, although it can sometimes start in the 30s or earlier.
Dr Newson says symptoms include: “Hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, memory problems, headaches, joint pains and low mood can occur when periods start to change either in frequency or duration.”
The process lasts on average four years, but can last as little as a few months or as much as ten years, says the Web MD website.
So, how do you know if you are going through the perimenopause rather than the menopause itself? While periods may still occur during the perimenopause, the menopause, which comes later, is characterised as when your period have completely stopped for a year.
How to treat perimenopause symptoms
“The perimenopause is an important time for women to reflect on their lifestyle and try and optimise it if possible,” explains Dr. Newson.
Thankfully, there are many different ways to make symptoms more manageable, including lifestyle changes and medication.
“Eating a healthy balanced diet and doing regular exercise is very important.
“As hormone levels, including oestrogen levels, reduce during the perimenopause, some women take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as this will replace the hormones the body is lacking.
“Lower oestrogen levels can lead to symptoms and also a higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis so replacing these hormones can be beneficial for our future health.”
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