Is This Your Perimenopause Transition?

3 Types of Menopause Transitions

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Menopause

Around age 40, women’s bodies begin perimenopause, the transition leading to menopause (the point in time when you stop menstruating permanently).

The hallmark of perimenopause is a change in the levels of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and the androgens. Yet this is not solely a physical event—it is also the biggest opportunity for personal growth and empowerment since adolescence. Approximately 40 million American women are going through the menopause process today, so if you are one of them, you are in very good company. Here’s a summary of what you need to know about this transition to help make it as smooth as possible.

There are three types of menopause.

1. Artificial Menopause

About 25 percent of women experience artificial menopause (menopause resulting from surgical removal of the ovaries, surgical disruption of the blood supply to the ovaries, radiation, chemotherapy, or taking certain drugs). For these women, menopausal symptoms can be severe and debilitating because there is no opportunity for gradual adjustment to the hormonal drop-off. Hormone treatments are often prescribed to help lessen these severe symptoms.

2. Premature Menopause

The second type of menopause is premature menopause, which is diagnosed when a woman goes through menopause in her 30s or early 40s. It’s usually secondary to autoimmune disease, nutritional deficiency, or some form of chronic stress (including excessive athletic conditioning) that has adversely affected hormone-related reproductive functions. Premature menopause occurs not only earlier but also faster than normal menopause, often necessitating supplemental hormones to maintain physical comfort during the transition.

3. Natural Menopause

Most women go through the third type of menopause—natural menopause, which occurs gradually, usually between ages 45 and 55, in a woman who has at least one of her ovaries. Many women begin noticing changes in their menstrual cycle and/or mood years before they actually have their final period. This transitional perimenopause period usually lasts five to ten years, though the entire process can sometimes take up to 13 years. There’s normally a gradual crescendo in the beginning, a peak as one approaches mid-transition, and a gradual decrescendo towards the end, as the body learns to live in harmony with its new hormonal and emotional milieu. During perimenopause, periods may stop for several months and then return, and they may also increase or decrease in duration, intensity, and flow. Whether you need hormone replacement or alternatives for symptom relief during this time depends on what else is going on in your body and your life.

Is This Perimenopause or Menopause?

It is virtually impossible to tell when you’re finished transitioning from perimenopause to menopause until it has been a year since your last menstrual period.

In other words, menopause itself can only be diagnosed a full 12 months after the transition is finished.

Nevertheless, because hormone levels both in the brain and the body undergo progressive changes during perimenopause, salivary hormone levels, urine levels, or blood levels can be measured to give you an idea of where you stand. Hormone levels can also help you monitor your need for hormone replacement or your dose.

In order to have the best transition possible, it is important to be optimally healthy going in. That means understanding what is happening in your body, and supporting it so that you continue to produce adequate amounts of hormones for the rest of your life.

Typical Symptoms of Perimenopause:

Many women sail through “the change” without any symptoms of perimenopause at all. Others experience a wide range of symptoms, all of which have physical, emotional, and psychological aspects.

During the years before menopause levels of progesterone typically decline, while estrogen levels remain stable or even increase. This is the most significant issue for the majority of women; many of the early symptoms that women feel are due to progesterone levels that are too low, in relation to their levels of estrogen.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

This state of a low progesterone-to-estrogen ratio is also referred to as “estrogen dominance.” Some of the symptoms that women suffer when progesterone declines include:

  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • “Fuzzy thinking”
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Water retention
  • PMS
  • Weight gain

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Testosterone levels may also start to decline well before the last menstrual cycle. While the symptoms of low testosterone are often more subtle that those of low progesterone, for some women they can be significant. Symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Loss of sex drive
  • Decreased sexual response
  • Decreased sensitivity in your erogenous zones
  • Decreased sense of well-being, energy, and ambition
  • Depression
  • Loss of or thinning pubic hair

Symptoms of Low Estrogen

Estrogen is often the last hormone to decline, but is the hormone that is traditionally associated with menopausal symptoms. As you approach menopause your ovaries slow their production of estrogen. While your ovaries continue to make some estrogen for the rest of your life and your body is still producing it from other sources, the overall effect is a dramatic drop in the level of estrogen circulating in your body—about 30–60 percent for most women. Symptoms of estrogen decline include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased energy and ambition
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Mental confusion
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Increased susceptibility to vaginal infections

The Wisdom of Your Menopause Transition

Although women have been taught to dread menopause, this life stage ushers in the springtime of the second half of life and is often accompanied by surges in creativity, vitality, newfound ambition, and the need to be of meaningful service to the community in a larger way.

northrup-affirmation_rise-above

During perimenopause and beyond, our goals and behavior become more motivated by the demands of our souls, not just those of society. We quite naturally seek answers from deep within instead of looking for approval from the outside.

The menopausal transition is actually a profound developmental stage in which unfinished business from the past comes up once again for resolution and healing, so that we can free ourselves from the outmoded beliefs and behaviors of our past. All the issues that weren’t resolved during puberty and early adulthood—such as body image, relationships, vocation, fear of aging, and self-esteem issues—now arise once more to be healed and completed.

While menopause itself is a normal life stage that does not cause health problems, the menopausal transition is marked by a statistically increased risk for breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and memory loss—all of which can be prevented if a woman heeds the wisdom of menopause and opens to her increased intuitive capacities. There are also a wide variety of options available for addressing and relieving the most common symptoms that arise during the menopausal transition.

Learn More — Additional Resources

For a full discussion of the three different types of menopause and effective approaches for possible symptoms, see Chapters 4, 5, and 6 in The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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  1. Jaime
    1 month ago

    I had partial hystorectomy in 2015 just had my labs drawn and my fsh was 8, tsh 0.850, estridoil 67.5, progesterone 4.5 and free testosterone was 1.2 The doctor said all my tests are normal but I’m not sure I agree. I’m losing my hair (think I have some aga too) I can’t sleep at night I toss and turn and I would rather clean dishes then have sex. Since I have no idea were I am in my cycle it’s hard for me to know if my levels fit the normal ranges without a period. Any suggestions??? I thought about trying progesterone cream not sure if that’s a good idea

  2. amywads
    1 month ago

    I am 46 years old endurance athlete that i believe hit premature menopause about 6 years ago due to low body fat and a lot of training. I have always had high ish cholesterol and i know estrogen is very related to cholesterol higher estrogen, lower cholesterol, I believe even when i was young, my estrogen levels were low, as i was very infrequent with periods and had trouble getting pregnant. thus high cholesterol all my life. so my question is should i be supplementing with bio identical progesterone, estrogen or both ?

    1. Vagia
      2 weeks ago

      Hi! I am a cross fit athlete and I faced a premature menopause too! No muscle tone, no energy, no sleep! I am 41 years old and I am on hrt, that gives me back my past self! I did it immediately after checking my hormones and I feel better now. I also add more protein in my meals and vitamin D! Hope it helps! 🙂 Vagia

  3. Lynn
    1 month ago

    I’m 39 years old and recently noticed some changes. I live with anxiety and have a lot of stress in my job and home. But lately my anxiety has been worse with a nervous belly. I also had an experience where my face got red and I felt like it and my legs were on fire. The AC was on and the hubby was fine. I took my temp and it was 98.3. I sat in front of a fan and felt better.
    Is this a hot flash?
    Is it normal to get a red face??
    Do any of you suffer from bloating and/or shortness of breath.
    I don’t really have any resources in my life do I am thankful for any input!

    1. Elle
      1 month ago

      Yep. All of that is part of the change. You’ll notice more changes as the years go on. It can get a little scary because you don’t know if it’s normal. Research and find things that work for you to manage it.

  4. DA
    1 month ago

    Fo-Ti has removed my Peri-M. symptoms completely. Hot Flashes, sleep issues, mood and weight issues. After that result, I added Vitex (Chasteberry) to help with cycle irregularities. I also eat a highly nutritious whole food, plant based diet, aerobic exercise 3 or more days a week and modest caffeine intake from White & Green Teas predominantly.

    1. MK
      1 week ago

      FoTi increases testosterone.
      Chasteberry increases progesterone.

  5. Dee
    1 month ago

    i’m not sure what is going on with me. I got married 2 years ago and I guess I was happy. I turn 47 in a couple of months, I don’t know it is something hormonal or not. I just don’t like my husband anymore. I don’t want him touching me, making sexual comments and everything he does just irritates me. I don’t think I have any other symptoms. My sex drive is their but I don’t act on it because it will make him think that everything is good with us, and I don’t feel like it is. I have periods, I don’t get hot flashes I don’t have trouble sleeping. I just don’t want to be married or tied down. I feel like I need to focus on myself. I have taken care of previous husbands and children since I was 17. I got divorced at 37 and my second husband died after battling leukemia. I now take care of my grandson, who is the light of my life. He is 5 and will be starting kindergarten in September so I won’t have him all of the time anymore. I have been his main caretaker since my daughter went back to work after having him. So I feel like it’s time to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. I might change careers or go to school. I don’t know yet.
    I feel trapped. I feel like I just want to be left alone to explore life. I don’t know how to explain this to my husband. I feel bad. I don’t hate him or want to hurt him. But this is how I feel. And I know it hurts him.
    I told him that I need space and asked him to move into another room but he won’t. the way our house is set up that would put him by his son’s room with a bathroom in between and me on the other side of the house with my own bathroom. That’s why I haven’t just moved myself. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Elle
      1 month ago

      Susanne Summers talked about not liking her husband during her change. You have to learn to find ways manage this. There is hope! Many women go through this. Watch a hilarious show or movie a day…this simple thing helps too. Laughter is the best medicine try to keep things light as best as you can. You’re going to get through this ask your husband to be patient and help him to understand sounds like he loves you

  6. Kate
    3 months ago

    I’m 45 and I get once in a while hot flashes. I gained weight a few years ago but this only made me sexier. I admit experiencing ups and downs with my sex drive. However, none of this bothers me. I actually feel quite good about myself and I have more confidence and self esteem than ever before. I rest more and enjoy the finer things in life. As if the pressures and desires from earlier ages have suddenly disappeared and I am happy because finally I feel free to be myself and I don’t give a **** about standard opinions anymore. So, ladies there is a perimenopausal bliss!

    1. Jennifer
      2 months ago

      Congratulations. I am envious. Your experience sounds glorious. I am also 45. The GYN pried the birth control pills from my hands for blood pressure reasons last fall. I bought a lovely sweater at a black friday sale, but I have never worn it. Within five weeks of stopping hormones, the hot flashes started and have not let up much. I don’t think I zipped my coat ever during the winter months here in Kansas. Saved on heating bill, so that’s a plus. No one prepared me for this. The furnace from hell that emanates from the chest while those around me think I’m nutz as I peel clothes down to a tank while they’ve got their heater on under their desk. Or when I spend some time inside the door of the tater tots freezer at the wholesale club. It creeps up and *bam*. I am confident women got burned at the stake for this. Because men weren’t any smarter about women’s bodies then than they are now, and this feels a lot like demonic possession. Plus all the other things. When you start the pill, they tell ya you will gain weight. I stopped the pill, and surprise, I’m peri-menopausal, so I’m going to gain weight. Eleven pounds in two months. Meh. Weight gain is far less of an issue than the internal combustion. I can work with the curves. Good on ya for your attitude about that. Truly, that’s beautiful to hear. For me, it could be like this for the next decade. How lucky am I to start at 45? Might as well get to it. I wasn’t doing anything anyway. I know I’ll get through this. Know you are a lucky woman. I ain’t mad at ya, sista. All I ask if that you be supportive of the rest of us.

    2. Monica L
      1 month ago

      I will be turning 50 in November, and my Dr told me I am post menopausal already. I gained 40 lbs in a year and feel like a bloated, beached whale. My legs and ankles are SO sore from all the water retention; it hurts pretty bad, and I have the nastiest heat rash on my lower legs. Ugh x 10. and the hot flashes…??? Now I know why my mother was always half naked around the house.
      However, having been very underweight most of my life, everyone is telling me how great I look now; my facial features have filled out, I have phenomenal boobs, just major curves going on. I’ve never had so much male attention in my life! And like Kate above, my confidence is through the roof. I recently got out of a very destructive and narcissistic relationship, it took me almost 2 years plus meds & therapy, to almost heal completely up. Breaking free and having control of my own life again is extremely liberating and confident building.

    3. Denise Elfenbein
      1 month ago

      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Donna Kilfoyle
    4 months ago

    I’m 49. After I had my son at 34, I had mid cycle bleeding for quite some time. I had a interior biopsy, which came back fine. Later on I had a D&C, but I still kept spotting. Eventually the spotting stopped, mostly. I’ve also had night sweats for quite some time. My periods did become more regular after I did have child #2, even with the spotting. Now these last couple of years I’ve had a few times where my period was really late. This period I started on Sunday is over 2 months late. This one has been the biggest gap. My last period was February 13 and this one started April 30. I’ve never had heavy periods are really bad cramps. But, before I realized I had started my period on Sunday, I was having a lot of dizziness in the night. I felt like I was drunk, because the room felt like it was spinning. Once I got up for the day, I was fine. Last night when I laid down I was looking at Facebook and got dizzy all of a sudden, again. When I got up in the night I was still a little dizzy and wobbly. Now that I am up, I fell okay. I have in the past and when I was younger, gotten lightheaded during my period, but never dizzy. I was also extremely stressed the day and night before, with my daughter going to prom. It was really bad. So, I didn’t know if all of the stress, me being 49 and starting my period almost 3 months late had anything to do with the dizziness I experienced.

  8. Stephanie
    4 months ago

    Thank you Dr. Northrup. I so admire you and you are my go to when it comes to women’s health and wellness.

  9. Pebbles
    5 months ago

    I had a baby in my early 40’s and it seriously took years to get my weight back to my prepregnancy range and it was extremely difficult to lose the weight. I’ve been very disciplined to not gain weight since then but have not had a period for 3 months and I’m getting alarmed because my weight keeps creeping up no matter what… nothing is working..
    Very demoralizing and frustrating. I really love my wardrobe and in a short period of time nothing fits. I feel so uncomfortable in my body like I can feel it holding onto fat… every day for 2 months now I feel like my period is going to start but it doesn’t and the symptoms of bloating, h/a, tension,weight gain,cravings,increased hunger are making my days challenging to cope with these unwanted symptoms. I’m feeling a lot of anquish that I will never again be the person I feel on the inside…like Mother Nature is going to turn me into a matronly looking person I won’t recognize.

    1. Kristine
      2 months ago

      Hi I have had a similar experience with weight gain as soon as I got 47 this year. Super annoying I also developed terrible periods, fibroids , and bloating and weight gain. Plus random UTI symptoms. Nothing seems to help. I did cut out all dairy and animal products which helped a little. But still experiencing horrible and long periods and PMS. I just started on birth control pills to see if that helps. Any other suggestions out there? I’m. Trying to be accepting but this sucks.

  10. Markus Dunnell
    5 months ago

    Thanks for every other excellent article. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such information.

  11. Cheryl Stevens
    5 months ago

    I don’t know where to start!
    I am 48 and have been experiencing generalised anxiety, some hot flushes, night sweats, aching muscles regularly, off balance, heart palpitations, extreme tiredness and general flu like symptoms 4-6 weekly. I often worry I might have something other than peri although my GP has confirmed this. He also did full blood tests and prescribed folic acid as deficient. I guess I am just looking for reassurance that all this is quite “normal” and will settle in time? I have suffered for approx 4 years.

    1. Marie
      4 months ago

      Hi Cheryl, have you tried homeopathy?

    2. Paulette
      4 months ago

      Sounds very much like me.

    3. Jacqueline
      3 months ago

      I get flu like symptoms every 4 to 6 weeks and that routine has been ongoing for more than a year. I describe it like having a 50% flu. I’m taking HRT – estrogen and progesterone. I’ve had blood work done and isolated that my iron was a bit low. Despite visits to my family doctor and obstetrician, I can’t seem to get a handle on this. Approximately every 4-6 weeks, I’m down and out for almost a week. Sometimes longer. I’m 51 years old and am very healthy and very active. I’m a competitive runner and I also swim for cross training. My training has been sporadic at best given that each month or so, I have to stop everything until the dizziness and nausea subsides. Has anyone gotten any feedback on what is happening?

      1. Deneen
        2 weeks ago

        have your physican do a Western blot test for lyme disease. That was exactly the way I felt, and now that I was treated by a great LLMD, I have my life, vitality and health back.

    4. Annemieke Leiden
      2 months ago

      I have been helped by an acupuncturist who specializes in women’s treatment. It has helped to get back in my body. He also encouraged me to dismiss the IUD and to rely on mother nature and his treatment instead of artificial hormones. I am still in that process and I try to listen to my inner voice. It seems to improve over time, although gradually.
      Also I have been taking Qi gong classes and the excercises help on all levels. A full body massage every now and then helps a lot as well. Plus Epsom Salt baths 2 times per week.
      I wish you well, and recommend to read the book “womens’ bodies, womens’ wisdom” as that contains good advice on how to tackle specific issues.
      Be kind to yourself and your body! Sending you lots of positive energy 🙂

    5. Manuela
      2 months ago

      I hear you Peri.How are you doing now? It’s been going on for a few years for me too.It seems to get worse now.Will it ever go away?

    6. Dexiyd
      3 weeks ago

      have your doc do a genetic test to see if you have a MTHFR defect. causes all kinds of havoc and affects your folic acid and your bodies ability to activate it.

  12. kciardella
    5 months ago

    Hi,
    I hope you can help me. I am 49 and have been trying to decide if I need a partial hysterectomy. For over a year now, during my period, on about day two, it is like the entire seven days of my period wants to come out all at once. I am unable to use tampons at this time which I always was able to use. If I try to use a tampon, the blood clots go around the tampon and come out. I try to stay home, close to a bathroom, during these two days a month. I continue to get my period monthly and have my period for the seven days, still heavy on day three. I stopped taking Advil and Aleve to lessen the bleeding, only taking tylenol for headaches. I have a tumor on my liver just under 4cm that is a hormone driven tumor that only grew during pregnancy (I have 4 children) and is stable, actually getting a little smaller each year I get it checked. I have never been on birth control pills and have been advised not to take hormone replacement because of the tumor. I do have bad PMS symptoms which I recognize and try to control with diet, therapy and relaxation techniques. I have most of the peri symptoms, all but the hot flashes. I don’t drink alcohol and only have one cup of coffee a day. I have had many blood tests and had a sample of my uterus checked. No cancer. I have had two recent very bad experiences with bleeding while out that were very hard to deal with and embarrassing. After reading one of your books about menopause I felt I should not have the operation. I think the tumor is what is complicating things since I am unable to take any medications. Am I candidate for surgery since I am limited with my options?

    1. Sue Hunt
      4 months ago

      I’m 51, have no tumor and have the same experience with ridiculously heavy flow day 2 and 3. I usually do last 5-7 days, but day 1 and 4-7 are usually much more manageable. I still use those ginormous tampons (not so much clotting – maybe that is the tumor?) and keep them with me at all times 🙂 You’re not alone. 🙂

      1. Traci
        3 months ago

        Have you tried Vitex and DIM and or Calcium d-glucarate for level out your hormones? I was having the same experience and now my periods are almost non existent and I feel one thousand times better! If you have not visited Lara Briden’s website, you really should. I would take the natural approach to fix things before surgery.

  13. Fiona
    5 months ago

    I am 46 and have used natural progesterone on and off when I have needed it for years. I recently let 2 or 3 years tick by because I thought everything was regular and it was quite expensive so I didn’t use it. Now I am going through these awful symptoms at night either mid cycle or at period time. When I lie down to sleep in drop off because I am tired but then am woken over and over with panic attack like symptoms, they can be in different parts of my body. I can have inner tremors and heart beating too fast and back pain and hallucination type dreams. It’s horrible. Does anyone else feel any of these things?

    1. Kristen
      5 months ago

      Yep! 42 here. Getting all kinds of bloodwork to see what’s going on. Sigh. Fun, isn’t it? Keep me posted.

      1. Celeste
        1 month ago

        I am 42 also. I truly hope you have a better experience than me with the blood work. I went to an OB GYN who’s also a Dr. of Osteopathy, which supposedly means that he’s taught to treat the patient not the disease, and to also treat ther whole patient, not just the tits and bits….well that’s a crock of shit let me tell you. This man listened to me sob about my symptoms, he got my husbands horror story of my symptoms and reassured me this was typical perimenapause…ordered blood work, he took one look at it and said there’s no possible way it’s Peri….you’re obviously depressed…want some xanax and antidepressants? Ummm Noooo but I do want to kick this trash can across your office! FYI….unless it’s in black and white on your lab results…be prepared to get zero credit for knowing your own body! Hugs!!!!

    2. Atoya
      5 months ago

      I’ve had similar. I’m 44. I will almost be asleep and my body will shake. Like cold chills. Then heart races… then it will cycle over and over… I usually wake up with sweat on my chest the next morning.

      1. Lisa
        5 months ago

        Oh my gosh this exact thing happened just the other night…severe chills then eventually hot hot hot
        Woke soaked
        It was the child’s that was new

    3. martha bailey
      5 months ago

      maam i am 42. this is so me every night. i do not like it at all.

    4. Jill
      5 months ago

      Yep, I am 48 now but this hit me at all once at about 44. I was never someone who felt anxious and literally overnight it was like I was someone else- anxiety that grew into full blown panic attack, always at night shortly after falling asleep. I also has severe dizziness, weird heart palpitations (kind of like a tugging) and migraines at this time.

      This went on for three months, finally eased up after I started going for regular massages. I wish I went sooner because I lost 3 months of my life – totally preoccupied with all this at work and at home. Turned into a complete hypochondriac. Thankfully it all stopped.

      I am still in perimenopause now but think it’s close to ending- i have a light period about every 4-5 months. I rarely get nightsweats now but a whole new level of fun has replaced it (frequent UTI’s, back pain, dryness, etc).

      The worst part of it all when it started was everyone thought I was nuts, my GP wanted to put me on antidepressants (didn’t take them). I wish I had done more holistic practices earlier- chiropractor, massage, meditation. Meditation helps a ton. And I am not a woo woo person, but self care seemed to be the best treatment. Hoping this next transition gets easier, the urinary stuff is not fun.

    5. Candy Warren
      5 months ago

      Use Cymbalta or its generic version. Your panic attacks/anxiety attacks will go away. I swear by this. It happened.to me when I hit at age 47. I’m 58 now. Still on the stuff. But I wouldn’t trade not taking that pill each day for another panic/anxiety attack ever again. My PA-C started me on Lexipro first for quelling this problem. I bumped into an old high school classmate that turned me onto Cymbalta. Lexipro still allowed heart fluttering (part of the panic/anxiety symptoms). Cymbalta removed all symptoms. No, I don’t work for or have investments in the company that makes Cymbalta. Us sisters in menopause must help each other out by sharing our successes in fighting the horrible effects of menopause in our lives. Now if I could just get rid of this damn “Menopause Rage” that is causing me grief and anguish I’d be a “Happy Camper”. Good luck and God bless you.

      1. Sue Hunt
        4 months ago

        I was on Lexapro for 6 years after my parents died and I divorced. I wouldn’t recommend it. It spiked my blood pressure and cholesterol levels to the point where the docs wanted to medicate me for THAT, TOO! After being off it for a year, my levels returned to normal and haven’t been elevated since. My advice would be don’t do it. Once you’re on that type of medication, it is VERY DIFFICULT to get off of it, and you must wean yourself little by little over a long period of time. The problem with Lexapro is that the dosage was so low, it’s tough to wean yourself off of. Just be careful. Psych meds should be a last resort!

    6. Julee Bennett
      5 months ago

      Hi Fiona. I’m 46 as well and I’ve also experienced those exact symptoms. Remember, you are the boss of your brain and you get to choose your response to these feelings. When you train your brain to relax and not respond in a concerned way, you are telling your subconscious mind that you refuse to give these feeling any attention whatsoever. You will be amazed at how quickly those feelings disappear. Much of what you are feeling is hormonal, so don’t worry just find things to distract yourself immediately after waking up, things that bring you joy, and creative things you love. Also pay attention to your breathing and stretch when you awake. It tells your brain to relax, and the body will respond. xo Julee

      1. Jeanette watts
        4 months ago

        This is a great reply julee, and works well for me to.

        Jeanette x

    7. Irma R
      3 months ago

      Im 41 years old and in experiencing almost the same symptoms dizziness heart beating fast. I’ve had blood wok done for sugar levels ekg CT scan and all comes out negative. Not sure if it’s panic attack or hormones changespecially?

    8. Kristen
      3 months ago

      Hi! Sounds just like me! Let’s talk! How are things going since you posted this?

    9. Kinn Adams
      2 months ago

      Fiona,
      I am 51 and am dealing with the same issues especially at night and it’s scary to say the least. Hang in there because this is a bumpy road for both of us.
      K. Adams

  14. Amanda Kruger
    6 months ago

    My periods has always been regular never been on the pill and I am healthy fit women. I just turned 47. In January I had a mid cycle bleed for 5 days on the 5 Jan. Then on the 8th February I had a clear blood spot bleeding. When I wiped after using the bathroom I saw clear blood and believed my period started. Only to find my tampon with a small amount of brown blood. The following two days I had mild cramping with no bleeding. It is 21 days later and have developed sensitive nipples. I have done a pregnancy test and came negative. Yes my boyfriend and I have had unprotected sex the last three months. I don’t have any of the premenopausal symptoms either. I am at lost to what is happening to me.

    1. kerry
      5 months ago

      Peri – menopause !!

  15. CC3
    6 months ago

    Hi, I just turned 44 and 2 months ago all of a sudden I started having heart palpitations/ pvcs (sometimes every few beats). My periods are perfectly on time but recently I have been extra moody/weepy/hot and I feel my hormones are extreme (more cramps, worse pms,sore breasts, I cry easily). My pvcs got better for a couple weeks then returned with a vengeance, I notice them even more when I get cramping and hot all over which is happening even in mid cycle, I have a hard time sleeping at times. I had an echo which showed my heart to be normal, thyroid is normal (slightly anemic only) and I wore a holter for a week (waiting on those result,s but if it were serious I was told I would know right away). This has made me obsessed with checking my heart rate, I can literally feel all my beats and it’s driving me crazy, I just want to be my normal self again 🙁 I have been trying my best to just go on as normal as possible, but in my mind it’s always there. I am wondering if this could be hormonal related? Do I need some type of hormone replacement even though my periods are normal?

    1. Maria
      5 months ago

      I went through what you are going through last Summer, I literally could feel my heart skipping beats and it scared me, so I saw a Cardiologist, who had me wired up to a Holter Monitor, I had an echo cardiogram and a then a nuclear stress test where they put the dye in and guess what nothing wrong it came back all hormone related. So what I have been doing since is putting a couple of drops of pure frankincense oil on the bottom of my feet and massage it in and it has completely helped. I do not get them like I did the cardiologist said mid Forties is when it tends to happen.
      Good luck with everything.

    2. Lisa
      5 months ago

      At 48 major heart skipping anxiety etc. blood work fine
      Dr said anxiety. I am also in full blown perimenopause. I’ve finally began to accept that a huge amount of this is hormones! I do not take drugs for anxiety I found a great book dare. But knowing this should ease at some point helps. Heart much less skipping now

  16. Sharon Davis
    7 months ago

    I am 61 and unable to masturbate or be stimulated like I used to. I have been in (chemically induced) menopause since 2003, due to chemo. I found your book, The Wisdom of Menopause, about 8 years ago and I eagerly started bioidenticals including testosterone, at that time. Unfortunately, I chose to stop taking them after 2 years, which was the biggest mistake. Very soon, my clitoris shrunk and my urethra started protruding over time. I’ve become very depressed, gaining weight and developing high blood pressure among other things. I have lost drive and do not feel much like a woman anymore and yet, I still look young and I desire to feel better so I have finally decided to start bioidenticals again, assuming it’s not too late. Doctor, can you give me any advice? Do you think they will work for me now?

  17. Tra
    8 months ago

    I am 51 years old and just experienced my period ending and then around 5-7 days l had what appears to be another period. Went to the gyn and now I am going to do a sonogram and biopsy to make sure there is no endometrial cancer. This is my gyn’s protocol.

    Has anyone dealt with this before and what should I expect going forward. Frankly, it feels nerve racking since I was someone with a consistent period. If anyone has had a similar experience–please provide insight.

    As I read some of the comments–I have probably been in peri for a few years.

    1. Jill
      7 months ago

      yes, My symptoms too. Periods close together and lots of spotting. Sometimes two periods in one month. Sometimes only a few days without spotting leading up to heavier bleed again. This has been going on for two years. I was sent to hospital for tests but they were clear. As yet, I have been given nothing to combat this and I would be very grateful to know if there is a solution.

    2. Adrienne Kenyon
      5 months ago

      Hello, I hope all is well with you and you are in good health. I am also 51 with identical symptoms. Can you give me any advice?

      Thanks in advance!

      Adrienne

  18. KG
    8 months ago

    Dear dr christiane, thank you for the this amazing resource and all that you do. To all the sisters here who comment, support and share – thank you so much!!!

    I’m 35, married, and had a termination about 2.5yrs ago. My periods have always been and are still on time, painless, but now last just about 2 days. No weight issues but Over the past 2 years, beginning incidentally at a seriosuly stressful time at work and marriage, I began getting nausea, faintness and dizziness, couple of incidences of rapid heartbeat, anxiety, huge fatigue, couple of incidences of cold and hot during sleep, low ambition, indigestion/upset tummy, and twice a uti.
    All of these I’ve charted almost cylically occurring in the days in the phase between the last day of my period and day before ovulation usually. sex drive is low, except a few days just before period.
    Please any advice would be hugely appreciated! It’s all compounding my anxiety and I’d love to get these under control and plan a family soon. Thank you so very much. Love to all.

  19. KG
    8 months ago

    Dear dr Christiane, thank you for creating this amazing resource and the wonderful work you do! And to all the comments and suggestions here- THANK YOU sisters.

    I’m 35, have had one termination about 2.5 years ago. My period is always on time, lasts just about 2days and only mild/ almost absent cramping or pain.
    However over the past 2’years (beginning at what was a very strained time professionally and relationshipwise) started getting nausea, indigestion, anxiety, short episodes of rapid heartbeat, one episode of uti, couple of instances of cold/hot in the night, dizzy and very fatigued – all mainly in the days between the last day of period and ovulation time.
    Very stressed in the marriage and work. Generally low sex drive throughout the month too, except for a few days right before period.
    Tired of dealing with this craziness, is it hormones or intestinal parasites? any advice would be so appreciated!

  20. Zelda
    8 months ago

    Can someone help me? I am 39, have regular periods and had a normal fsh done 2 months ago, but starting 2 months ago, I have gotten hot flashes, burning breasts, join pain and night sweats before and after my period. I have never had symptoms after my period before. Currently, I can barely move from the constant hot flashes and burning breasts, which seem to have gotten worse. I understand I am probably in perimenapause, but it is so intense!! I am having a really hard time. I went to the dr who took blood but I wont have answers until next week. No one seems to be able to help me and I barely sleep because of the pain and hot flashes. Any ideas??? Please help.

  21. Diana
    8 months ago

    Just wondering. They say when women work together their periods can go in sync at times. I have not had a period in 4 years, I am 55. I do on occasion have what I call ‘faux’ ovulation or ovary cramps mid-month that swtich from left to right every other month. Been to Dr. and all is fine by the way! And then, 12 days later, I get what I call a ‘faux’ period. Cravings, bloating, crampy, moody and then, nothing happens.
    I have been workingin an office for the past 6 month with 18 women 1 male! Most of which are young. Since then, I swear with all that estrogen around me, my ‘FAUX’ symptoms have increased. Is it at all possible much like periods going into sync, could my body being around so much estogren be causing my faux symptoms to increase? I was estrogen dominant most of my life. I swear my body misses it and, if it can catch estrogen in the air, it will! Just putting it out there if anyone has ever heard or felt this.

  22. Stephanie
    8 months ago

    I am 56 and my periods have just started to change, after having an ablation procedure.
    I have to take iron or end up needing a transfusion. My HOT FLASHES are making my social life miserable. My PMS is lasting as long as 3 1/2 weeks.
    My cramps cause me to go to bed, even with ibuprofen and acetaminophen in between.
    I take iron, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, K2, D, B complex, citalopram and bupropion.
    I go to water aerobics because it is the only exercise I can do without sweating to death.
    I’m a healthy eater, have occasional caffeine and a couple glasses of wine per week.
    Do I just have to deal with it?
    I feel like I’m going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest woman still having to buy feminine hygiene products for herself. Lol. Help!
    Any suggestions?

  23. D2
    9 months ago

    I am a woman age 42. I am looking at my life hormone cycle and wondering how I may have been able to better balance my system. I was an athlete very physical in dance and weight training 4% body fat 14-16yrs old. I was originally put on low dose birth control pills to encourage a period. later I had a boyfriend and we were together for about 8yrs during that time we got pregnant a few time. Each time the doctors raised my dose. I diligently took these pills on a timer because I was told even a variation of a few minutes in time could cause me to get pregnant again. At one point around 20yrs old I was on the highest dose available. The final straw was a series of events regular leg pains, angina attacks and finally a tubal pregnancy. Through all of this I am thankful to my mother my rock, she stood by me during my procedures and finally convinced me to stop taking these pills.

    what transpired was incredible to me – I stopped getting pregnant and stopped having chest pains. However I did go through bouts of the blues regularly but it was generally something that could be managed with basic personal care (food rest and a bit of TLC).

    at 39 I had a massive gum surgery immediately after I have felt changes in many ways physically; hair nail texture changes, acne between my brow (ive never had acne my whole life) day napping from exhaustion and headaches (also a new thing for me) .On the mental level a complete disconnect – no focus or sleeping at night, Everything seems to effect me in a fight or flight manner when I used to be a calm person, but the most painful is my apathy and disinterest in things that previously gave me joy.

    Ive been managing things admittedly not great but doing ok seeking refuge in my lady lunches or time to decompress. As well as seeing two doctors to ask about menopause and was basically brushed off told this couldn’t be my issue and I am too young. Then this past spring I had an oops moment during sex and took Plan B (just in case), for a few months I went into an emotional tail spin. it was Dark, I began to scare myself with the thoughts that went through me. I thought I was loosing my mind. I only felt normal for a few days just before and during my period.

    a dear friend recommended an acupuncturist & Naturopath in October. She had my blood tested every 5 days and we found my progesterone way dropping mid cycle to post-pardum/post menopausal levels and coming back up just before and after my periods. After using progesterone yam cream I felt incredible then my period came mid-cycle. We stopped the cream and I am again monitoring my blood levels. even though its not there yet it feels great to know I may be in the right track.

    Here is what I am wondering now,
    1. is it possible that my progesterone has always been low mid-cycle and taking birth control pills actually enhanced my abilities to get pregnant?
    2.is it possible that the gum surgery may have released lay ten toxins and chemicals into my system that are creating an imbalance in my hormones?
    3. with all the hormones being modified and adjusted in different ways how can I best self monitor my (progesterone) levels to other than weekly blood tests?
    4. do you have a network of hormone specialists? how do I find therapists that understand these changes and the resulting emotions of loss related it?

  24. Crystal Baughman
    9 months ago

    I’m 37 and I’m convinced I’m starting premenopaus/menopause at a young age. Symptoms started around 36. Changes in my periods, mood, depression, skin, vaginal dryness (which is the most frustrating symptom), brain fog, night sweets. My mom also started her change in her 30’s, but never will really talk about it. It seems very young to be starting this and I’m having a hard time emotionally with it and I don’t know of anyone else my age experiencing this. Doctors don’t seem to listen very well to my concerns, however my theorpist has been very supportive and believes that I may be right about my assumption I’m starting to go through changes at a young age. She actually recommended I look at Dr Northrup site as you have a lot of great information on aging and thus seems to be a topic that has been coming up a lot in my theorpy sessions because I’m having a hard time navigating these changes and keeping my mental well being healthy. I’m finding lots of great information on this site however I still feel very lost going through this and I’m not so sure it’s normal to be starting premenopaus/menopause so early.

    1. Christiane
      9 months ago

      You could very well be going through some changes ..but they don’t have to be “perimenopausal” per se. I’ve seen women actually stop periods for a year or two at around your age. Only to have them come back again later. So– instead of worrying about it, I suggest you take something like my AmataLife Pueraria mirifica supplement to help with your hormones. And then just let nature take it’s course. You also probably need more magnesium. Most of us do. I recommend Dr Carolyn Dean’s ReMag. Just google it. My Amata website is http://www.amatalife.com I also recommend that you read the section on Menopause in my book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom or also the Wisdom of Menopause. Chances are good that you have years before your final menstrual period. So sink into this process and enjoy it. Christiane

      1. Susan
        4 months ago

        Hi Christiane,

        I just turned 56 years old and have been going through perimenopause for at least 6 years. Symptoms hot flashes (several), difficulty slleping or staying asleep, weight gain, some anxiety, and irritable mode at times. I am a person who lives a very healthy life style – clean eating, exercise on a regular basis (free weights and cardio).
        So here’s my story – When I was 36 I have a hysterectomy leaving 1 ovary, so still on my own natural hormones. I’ve tried different antidepressants which ended up the symptoms were not worth it. I then took Estradiol which was my magic pill – back to my normal self – great mood, energy, no more inner tube belly, no more hot flashes and could sleep like a baby. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and was immediately taken of the estradiol. All my symptoms immediately came back.

        In reading your article about Pueraria Mirifica, can someone with LCIS take this?

    2. Estelle
      5 months ago

      Hi crystal I just want you to know that I started going thru my change of life at the age of 35 and stopped having period by the time I was 39. I was told it was normal by my doctor back then because it was heretary . You see on my dad side of the family, he had ten sisters and we all started our periods at the age of 9 and 10. By our mid thirties we all started our change of life and finished before we reached forty. We’ve never had any problems and we have been enjoying life without those periods. I always thought , it’s a blessing.

  25. Verena
    9 months ago

    Dear Dr. Northrup,

    I want to use this place to thank you for everything you do and especially for the daily health recommendation. They help enormously on this journey. I really feel myself widening, opening up and smiling when I read them, and learn to trust the path, sometimes even when it’s feeling like it will last forever and never stop. Things click into the right places again, after being busy someplaces else for so many years.

    1. Christiane
      9 months ago

      Thank you so very much for this!! Christiane

  26. Maria Allen
    10 months ago

    Hello- I will be 51 in the spring and wanted to share some stuff regarding perimenopause and life itself. I have been “perimenopausal” for about six years now. The last three have been unbelievably intense. Personally, I have some challenges in my marriage and emotional issues that compound the up and down hormones of pre-menopause. My periods have been very heavy and I have been on and off iron supplement. Somehow I have had the courage to only consider getting my uterus out as a last resort. Right now, my physical health seems to be a lot better, as I take the time to pamper myself when needed and consume heathier food, along with some vitamins. But the thing that has been the gamechanger for me is cutting out coffee and all caffeine, including chocolate. I still consume a little coffee in the morning and have an occasional bit of chocolate. My periods are calmer now and the pain is down too. Yet this whole story would not be complete without mentioning how I have allowed God to guide and inspire me throughout this !

  27. Janna Taylor
    10 months ago

    Perimenopause has been the most challenging part of my life. I noticed in my early to mid-forties that my period had become very heavy. For about two years it was 21-23 days apart, but the bleeding was intense with severe cramping. As the days between started to spread out, so did the intensity of the bleeding. Out of the blue, I developed severe anxiety and panic attacks. The panic attacks sent me to the ER three times, before I finally believed the doctors who kept telling me that I was fine physically. I had MRIs, EKGs, Echo-cardiogram and numerous other tests just to reassure me that I wasn’t dying from some strange disease. I still experience the “dreads” from time to time. I continue to have hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, my face and extremities tingle. I am often dizzy. My thinking is clouded and I get tongue-tied very easily. Really, the list goes on and on. I just turned 51 and I hope that I am turning the corner back to normalcy. I know the symptoms are better than they were a couple years ago. My periods are starting to spread out a little and I have skipped a few here and there. I am not taking any medications, but I am taking a woman’s multivitamin, extra calcium, magnesium and B-12. Good luck to everyone on this journey!!

    1. Lynn
      8 months ago

      I cannot believe how similar my symptoms are to yours. I am 49 and have been noticing mood changes for a few years now. This too has been the most challenging time of my life. About six months ago I missed a period for the first time, then that same month I had my first panic attack while driving. I called 911 because I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the ER and they said it was just panic. I didn’t fully believe that and since then have gotten a full cardiac work up – EKG, echocardiogram, stress test, and a calcium scan. I have zero plaque in my arteries and my overall risk of heart disease is very low. Yet I continue to struggle with panic and anxiety. My dr gave me xanax if I am having a panic attack and at first I took it here and there. It helped, but it’s no way to live! It has been probably three months since I have taken anything. I have tried meditating and exercising. Both have helped but the anxiety lingers. I even have the tingling you speak of. Overall perimenopause has knocked me on my ass. I went to see a new gyn who recommended the birth control pill to get me through this. I worry about the side effects but might give it a try. Thanks for sharing your story. Talking to other women going through this has really helped me.

      1. CJW
        6 months ago

        This sounds like me too. However, I am also experiencing very strange migraines with during REM sleep that wake me 2-4 times a night. It is so scary and makes anxiety go off the charts so I am doing as much as I possibly can to reduce stress and manage the anxiety. I have been to the ER 3x so far thinking I was having a heart attack because the palpitations go with it and scare me too. I do not like taking xanax either. I am still looking for a doctor that supports natural remedies. I have seen 3 gyn’s in my insurance network thus far and they all just want to give me a birth control pill. I am 53 and do not want to take them for fear of the side effects and dangers of those. I am still looking for natural remedies and someone to help support my decisions without throwing a synthetic pill at the symptoms. I would love to know if anyone else has experienced the nocturnal migraines. Thanks for sharing….

      2. Lisa
        5 months ago

        Please purchase a book Dare. It saved me regarding the understanding of panic and anxiety.
        I have that but better. but at 50 I get night sweats, chills, low drive, tingly toes, rach heart or skipping.
        I’m hoping to learn about natural progesterone or estrogen creams …

    2. Tracy
      7 months ago

      I am in the same boat as you. You are describing everything I am and have been going through for the past 3 years (I will be 48 in a few weeks). I have good weeks and bad weeks with this. I am seeing a hormone doctor and getting bioidentical testosterone pellets for the past year which help with some symptoms. The dreads you mentioned are so bad that I had to quit my high paying job and now see a therapist to help with them. I am definitely not who I used to be, a very strong, confident, highly motivated woman who had a clear career path that I have now stepped down from. It is very sad but I try to make the best of the situation and listen to what my body is telling me. I see a naturopath and take quite a few supplements that are helpful as well but I know my hormones still get out of whack especially the week before my period and I have been unable to use progesterone cream to help because it causes terrible insomnia and nervousness. I look forward to being on the other side of this I think, although my hormone doctor has said I am still quite a way from the end. Ugh!!!!

    3. Diane Rios
      6 months ago

      Oh thank you for this. I was looking for someone going through what I am – it’s unbelievable. I turned 50 this year and that’s when it all began. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours a night in months, waking many times a night completely soaked in sweat, my bed is wet, I have to change my night gown three x a night – I have migraines (never had headaches in my life), I am like an emotional volcano – the current political situation is not helping – I feel fragile and vulnerable and angry. The sweating thing and the no sleep thing feels like it’s killing me. Can you die of hot flashes? Can you die from lack of sleep? I feel desperate! 🙁

      1. Jody ramminger
        6 months ago

        Bio identical progesterone has been a life saver for me..my migraine s are gone and most of the hot flashes. Also taking b6 and bcomplex has calmed my nerves

  28. Oak
    10 months ago

    Interesting, helpful and a bit scary to read everyone’s experiences. I think I’ve begun perimenopause (very early stages) but I’m not suffering many symptoms yet. Rather, I keep thinking I’m pregnant because of the long PMS symptoms and occasional periods several weeks late. I’m 47 but had my only child at 41 and a miscarriage at 43. My little guy wishes for a sibling and I guess the only real challenge I’m having is accepting that it probably won’t happen. I know it would be infinitely harder if I didn’t have any children. So far I haven’t seen the grieving part of menopause mentioned here. Others?

    1. Stephanie
      10 months ago

      I can definitely relate to that. I have been married twice (this last time married at 38). I, too, had a child at 41 and at five he is asking for and wanting a sibling (I have older children that live in another state-22, 20, 15). It is very difficult, especially when my friends as younger and are still having children. It is definitely a grieving process that is not talked about often. You are not alone.

  29. BrittB
    11 months ago

    Hello Ladies – aren’t we all in the thick of it! I am 46 and started peri-menopause about three years ago. I believe my initiation into this joy ride was a migraine that lasted on and off for a month followed by a light period for three weeks. Since then I have night sweats and insomnia on and off. During ovulation I get elevated blood pressure and rapid heart beats for about 24 hours. Stress tests & EKGs shows nothing wrong. Then everything goes back to normal – for about a week. Then the migraines, nausea, and crashing fatigue start right before my period – which by the way comes when it wants to and has more blood then most crime scenes. I have cramps that remind me of labor. Blessedly, it only lasts 5-6 days. My periods can come 60, 45, 31, or 20 days – basically puberty in reverse. Anxiety and the fatigue come and go – again no rhyme or reason to it. Doc tested my FSH two years ago was at 21.8. Not menopause but certainly not fertile Myrtle. I feel like some days I just can’t handle the physical symptoms because they are so exhausting. Then, just like that they are gone. I am not a candidate for HRT because my mom had post menopausal breast cancer possibly due to HRT (she is cancer free now 🙂 )so i get to tough this one out. Anyway ladies, we are not alone and we are not shrinking violets. We are the stronger sex. Hang in the Peri-sisters. Brighter days ahead.

    1. @Sandyluv2bhapi9
      10 months ago

      Hello, everyone. This is definitely NOT my idea of fun! I truly appreciate this forum and your willingness to share your experiences. I was beginning to think I was at the point of no return, until I read your post MsBrittB. As I was reading your initiation story, I felt as though I were reading a page of my own journal; it gave me hope at a time when I need it most. On Saturday, 10/22/16, I will be 42. I am having the migraines, nausea, crashing fatigue that is unbearable, anxiety (without good cause or reason–other than the fact that I have been having mind-blowing migraines, I feel my ovaries are trying to jump out of my abdomen and, I am, losing my mind), light periods with cramps that would disable a blue whale and night sweats, coupled with inability to regulate body temperature during waking hours. Additionally, all lab and diagnostic tests appear within normal range. Progesterone cream 2x daily seems to help with night sweats, a little. My mom and grand-mother are breast cancer survivors, also. You are absolutely correct, we are not shrinking violets, far from it! We endure and persevere. To your point, Yes! We ARE the Stronger sex and gender. Thank you for your post! You shed some much needed light on my day. Be Well Ladies.

    2. Diane Rios
      6 months ago

      YOU made my day!!!! 🙂 So true and so funny! You’re so right we are not shrinking violets, we are basically wizard warrior goddesses by the time we get through all we have to get through in life. I had heard of menopause of course, all through my life from my mom and aunt and friends, but I did not see this coming. At 50, having just got the last child out of the nest, I was so ready to use my newly-liberated strength and hard-won wisdom to make my life easier, but OH WELL. My body had other plans. My symptoms are extreme right now – almost no sleep at all – for months! – and I’m up many times a night soaked in sweat, burning up then freezing cold, over and over and over. I’m totally exhausted, angry, frightened, confused….woot, it’s a total party!!!!!! Can’t wait for those brighter days ahead, I hope they come soon.

    3. Vanessa Barisano
      5 months ago

      I am so happy to find these comments and to hear women speak openly and honestly about their experiences.
      Britt, I too am 46 and started peri about 2 years ago with onset of random anxiety, insomnia, premenstrual migraines and extreme fatigue and occasional hot flashes. I can relate to you b/c i too have the anxiety and fatigue for no rhyme or reason. It’s a struggle especially 3-4 days before my 21 to 35 day periods. My mom too had post menopausal breast cancer after hormone replacement so definitely not a candidate for HRT either! My friend recommended Dr. Northrup’s books…..I know we found the right place for insight and wisdom in this journey! wonderful about your mom’s recovery, God Bless!…. my mom did well too after treatment 🙂

  30. Tonya
    11 months ago

    Hi, misery loves company. 🙂 I started having hot flashes & night sweats in my 30s. I had a great aunt who started hers in her 30s. I just turned 46 on 9/21 and I can say that back around 2012, I had a really awful time with nausea starting up before my cycles and this went on until earlier this year, when things seemed to calm down. But now the random nausea is back, panic attacks, mood swings, craving food like crazy, putting on weight that I can’t shed. My doctors told me that I was too young to be going through menopause, so, one put me on Synthroid for my thyroid. It helps to read other’s experiences so that I don’t feel completely alone & insane. Thanks.

    1. Jaime
      11 months ago

      I am 38 and recently found I am pre menopausal and taking estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. I had a 13 lb weight gain which caused me to start investigating.

  31. Tina
    11 months ago

    Does this perimenopause cause your periods to change in odor? I had the normal type of menstrual odor and now @ age 45 since my periods started going off course, they have a nasty strong smell that I myself can smell during the 1st few days. It’s horrible. Is this normal?

  32. Ellie
    11 months ago

    How I knew that perimenopause started for me was when I woke up one morning with nausea and awful anxiety and heart palpitations. At first I thought it was just stress, but it continued every morning until it had gotten to to the point where other symptoms started. Just before my period, I had the worse PMS I ever had. Crying for no reason, breasts so tender, gastro issues, bloating..just didn’t feel like myself at all. Even after a hysterectomy to remove endometriosis, I still feel like this most days. I used to be able to sleep in late on weekends, but my body jolts me out of bed and just wants to move. Mainly exercise! If I don’t get out and exercise I feel anxiety. Must be my body’s way of telling me that it was time to change my life. Just wish the other symptoms would go away.

    1. Michelle Helliwell
      11 months ago

      Ellie I have all your issues. It’s awful. The racing heart,palps,internal buzzing,jumpy muscles and now onset of arthritis. I am also on HRT which I thought would make it go!

      1. Sandra
        10 months ago

        Hi Michelle, I’m 54 and feel that I’ve been going through menopause since my last period which was in June 2015. I’m extremely hot almost all the time and yet I didn’t think this was menopause because I’ve always been hot. Whenever someone in an office where I’ve worked has asked me what I think of the office temperature, I’ve always said “don’t listen to me. I’m always hot.” In fact, my nickname for myself has been “Waldron (my surname), the cauldron” because I’ve always had a hot body core temperature. I’m emailing you because of what you said above “jumpy muscles”. Every now and again, I’ve experienced a terrible Charlie Horse while laying in bed. I started taking Ionic Magnesium Citrate Powder which is entitled “Natural CALM” and it has helped enormously. All you do is put a teaspoon of powder which has an Organic Raspberry-Lemon Flavour in a glass of orange juice and drink. It is quite delicious! I also recommended this to a male friend (a retired firefighter) who had a charlie horse while sitting with a group of friends in a bar in Sep. 2016. He tried the Natural CALM. I saw him recently and he said the Natural CALM stopped the charlie horse episodes. Perhaps it could work for you and your “jumpy muscles”? I’ve noticed that I have jumpy feet in bed. I’m going to take some for my jumpy feet tonight.

      2. A Muise
        3 months ago

        Wow…first time I have heard anyone mention internal buzzing!! I have this as well!..Terrible feeling 🙁

  33. Alysa
    11 months ago

    Feeling awkward not knowing what’s going on. This is the first time this has happened. I am a few weeks to my 50th birthday. My menstrual cycle ended a few days ago. I had a few days of nothing. Then, I started menstruating again.

  34. Cat
    12 months ago

    I’m cracking up laughing at this very moment, after reading the first lines of this article!! I turned 40 just recently, and my first post-bday period started yesterday… much heavier than they’ve been starting over the past 6-8 months. About a half hour into my evening shift, I had my first hot flash!! Nauseating to say the least! I guess it’s time for me to implement all those things I taught my mom after I first saw one of your PBS specials, 20 or so years ago!
    #firstfortyperiod #firstflash #f….!

  35. Christine
    12 months ago

    Hi! I am 51 and new to what my doctor told me is Perimenopause. I sometimes seriously think I am going crazy. Told that what I am going through is “Normal”. Heavy gross periods, back pain, migraine, brain fog, weight gain, sugar cravings and worst of all FATIGUE. Have had every blood test, ultrasound, thyroid check etc. Very very very frustrated. My husband is very understanding but he has no answers or experience. Hoping reading more of your posts will help.

    1. Traci
      12 months ago

      Hi Christine,

      I started taking DIM and Calcium D Glucarate for high estrogen I’m sleeping better, feel better and I lost almost 20 lbs. with no change to my diet. I was also having heavy periods so I took Vitex for a couple of months and now I have not had a period in over three months. I will take that over the heavy period any day! Plus I feel normal, even without the period and no PMS. I’m going to 49 in Jan.

      1. Cate
        11 months ago

        DIM has also been central to a major improvement in my perimenopause, which sounds a lot like Christine’s. I have also gone to regular acupuncture with an acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health, which has radically changed my health. Giving up alcohol, sugar and white flour while getting vigorous exercise has also made all the difference. Perimenopause has been an agonizing experience for me, and I am tremendously grateful for the treatment and self-care that has led me back to balance. Christine — it might help you to know that feeling like you’re going crazy is a documented symptom of perimenopause. I’ve been there and it is awful!

        1. shyla
          9 months ago

          thank you i am preimenopausel as well thanks for the last statement i do very much feel like i am going crazy and horrible forgetfulness. go through stages of panic attacks, its effecting me at work i am 40

  36. TL
    12 months ago

    I am 48 years old. I had a partial hysterectomy at 41 due to fibroids (still have both my ovaries). I don’t know if I’ve entered menopause since I can’t rely on the classic signs (period cessation, etc.). The last year I’ve experienced some insomnia, depression, nausea, and recently, anxiety, quick temper (I’m usually pretty easy-going), hot flashes and fatigue. How will I know if I am in menopause?

    1. NorCalGal
      3 weeks ago

      I’m in the same boat!! Christiane, how are we to tell given our unique set of circumstances?

      Thank you.

  37. misskyagirl
    1 year ago

    Thanks you so much. I am a 46 year old who is dealing with the insomnia. Today it was 320am……but that is so much better than 115am or 145am…so I will take it…I am also doing my saliva test today….and I have a wonderful gyno is is very holistic/natural…so once we figure out what is going on we can go from that point. I am not ashamed to say that yesterday was a melt down…..I was just so TIRED….and sometimes all I can do is just cry and let it out. I start my yoga teacher training today and I am thrilled….I will not let this transition in my life stop me from continuing this journey. Yoga has helped tremendously!

  38. Sharon
    1 year ago

    Wow..what a relief am not alone..am experiencing everyone symptoms here..terrible shortness of breath!! Thank u all for sharing. .am 47

    1. misskyagirl
      1 year ago

      I have also experienced the shortness of breath….thanks for sharing that…I thought I was just crazy…omg…what I roller coaster ride this is.

      1. Stephanie
        11 months ago

        Me too! Thinking I’m super out of shape or something but I’m not I’m very active! Feel sob

  39. Donnie Biel
    1 year ago

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  40. Ellie
    1 year ago

    I am 45 years old and am certain I am in heavy perimenopause. For the past few months I have not felt like myself. I am anxious, feel depressed some days, getting frequent hot flashes especially before periods and ovulation, frequent nausea, headaches and severe PMS which I did not have before. I have these awful mood swings where I just want to cry for no reason. I also have endometriosis for which I am having a partial hysterectomy soon. Does this sound like “the change”?

    1. Yasminr
      1 year ago

      Im 35 and the same. I had the Impanon removed and spent nearly three months in bed with severe anxiety, dizziness, chills, hot flushes ect. Im still suffering 8 months later

      1. Ellie
        11 months ago

        Oh dear..I was pretty much the same. Spent most of the summer enduring severe endometriosis pain followed by a hysterectomy. Had all the symptoms you mentioned. Certainly tough!

      2. Dee
        8 months ago

        Hi Yasminr, how are you? I’m just wondering if you have recovered. I’m almost 35 and I’ve had a similar experience stopping birth control. Have you recovered? Anxiety and depression have been the worst things for me. I hope you have recovered and if so what has helped? Thank you.

    2. Ellie
      11 months ago

      Thanks Marty. Once I had my hysterectomy, they ended up removing an ovary as well. My hot flashes were so bad as well as the mood swings that I had to have a small dose of Estriadiol every day. Right now i still feel nausea some mornings, but it is this ongoing feeling of uneasiness and anxiety that is really hard to shake. I do take an antidepressant that worked for over 10 years, but now that doesn’t seem to be helping. Some days are better than others. I do have a bit more energy since being on Estriadiol, but I still don’t feel like my happy-go-lucky self I used to be. Perimenopause is really tough on a lot of us. Especially when we are hit hard with symptoms all at once. Like I was. Didn’t know what was happening to me at first. Very scary.

  41. LHill
    1 year ago

    Currently, I am a 47 y.o. experiencing all these horrible symptoms. I have a cramp on my middle/upper spine, then the pain travels to the bottom on and off, my joint and muscles hurt- the pain travels, I have a crawling like sensation on my thighs, and tingling at times, tinnitus, dizziness, small hot flushes, painful teeth for no apparent reason, cold feeling sensation in my spine, lack of focus, extreme anxiety, feeling like I’m going to drop dead any minute, headaches, and dry mouth. I am going back to the doctor tomorrow even though there I have had numerous tests done, such as: muscle nerve testing, MRI, and blood work that give me a clean bill of health. Please provide a name of doctors who really know how to treat these menopausal issues. In addition, I have taken vitamins, and still don’t see any improvements; I had done acupuncture, had taken alternative Chinese medicine- Three Immortal and can’t seem to find any relief. Please advise.

    1. Wendy
      1 year ago

      I am also 47 and started experiencing noticeable changes last year…just not feeling myself. I was having extreme anxiety and insomnia. I will go several nights in a row without sleeping which of course affects my mood the next day. I had my yearly physical last November and all my blood work came back perfect. My gyno put me on Lutera low dose BC pills last July and I had an ablation done. Even with these two things, I still struggle emotionally and physically some days. I have a lot of tingling in my entire arms at night and nausea mostly in the evenings. I don’t have the motivation for my job that I usually have. I don’t have friends my age who have gone through any of this so I don’t feel anyone understands the frustration of it. I know my husband is tired of my complaining and I am tired of hearing myself talk about it but it’s not in my head. I know what I normally feel like emotionally and physically. The really bad evenings with the severe cold sensation then a mild hot flash right after won’t let me sleep and I don’t want to get out of bed the next day. Thanks for sharing your symptoms. I read there are 35 perimenopausal symptoms that you can experience in the 5 years leading up to menopause. My mom told me she sailed through it and didn’t even have a hot flash! I meet with my gyno next week and will discuss all of this then, although I feel there’s not much else o can do. I take the BC pills and eat right and exercise. I am not overweight either. Some days I feel like I’m going to lose my mind because I feel so bad and everyone around me gets on my nerves!!

      1. Ellie
        11 months ago

        I know how you feel. It is very frustrating when you are going through this and there is no one around who can relate to it. You seem to be trying everything you can to get back to your “normal” self, but for some reason you just feel very different. Between anxiety, feelings of sadness, nausea and other gastrointestinal issues, not getting a lot of sleep, feeling sluggish, and not to mention the low libido…it really plays a toll on a woman. Even lifestyle changes and medication don’t really seem to do everything to make you feel better. You feel like you are just getting through some days.

    2. Sharon
      1 year ago

      Feeling same as yours..like am going to die any minute..terrible shortness of breath

    3. Mary Fletcher
      9 months ago

      Hello You sound EXACTLY like my sweet friend Julie. Long story short…it was toxic mold in her AC unit blowing thru her home. Get your home tested for mold (air samples). She had Aspergillus mold ! Air scrubbers are going as we speak! She was forced to leave her home due to hurricane Matthew & while she was “away from her HOME” she started feeling better!!!!! This was an eye opener that it may be her home making her sick! You can google these mold symptoms & sick homes etc.
      U feel better soon! My friend has been staying w friends now for about 20 days & feeling better each day.

  42. Rachelle
    1 year ago

    I believe that I have been in perimenopause for about 4 or 5 years, I started out with periods being a few days late, sore breasts, then they jumped to a week late, until they where a month late, or even skipping periods.
    Today I’m almost 47, and I have migraines, hot flashes, and I get cold easily, frequent urination, and no period for two months and counting.. Please anyone else experiencing this

    1. Veronica
      8 months ago

      Yes I started a year ago, at 45 fatigue, dizziness, very tense head, I had to go to the Neurologist, because I was afraid that it was something else, and he said is menopause, I did not believe because at the time I was still having my periods, I have frequent urination, now no period for 3 months and still not feeling well, everyday is a battle
      I don’t feel my self anymore, sometimes I think it may be something else, I can’t believe that menopause can
      give you all those symptoms it’s terrible!! taking some Bioidentical Hormones they help with fatigue and concentration, and feel more motivated I really reccomend for hot flashes. I hope this help.

  43. Nga Hoang
    1 year ago

    I am a 45 years old Asian female believing that I am going through perimenopause help!

  44. Kerri jenkins
    1 year ago

    I am 49 and have been experience these symptoms for several years. I have also recently lost 75 pounds and have thyroid issues. When I finish perimenopause will I be able to start losing weight again? Also, when I go into actual menopause will the weight gain stop if I continue to eat healthy etc! I have been doing paleo lifestyle for the last 3 months and am eating very healthy compared to the processed foods of before. also I have an under active thyroid and a on medicine for this. Can this affect how long perimenopause hangs on?

  45. Stephanie
    1 year ago

    Is it normal for alcohol to affect you differently when going through perimenapause? Like intense moods, irritability and anger.

    1. Traci
      12 months ago

      Yes because it raises estrogen which is more likely elevated because of peri menopause, especially in relation to progesterone. I take DIM to get rid of the excess estrogen and it has worked miracles in my life.

      1. Iona McCulloch
        10 months ago

        Tracy, do you find that the DIM affects any medications that you take. I took it for a few days and it completely knocked out the effects of my pain and sleep meds so I stopped it as I need them to remain upright.

      2. Gale
        9 months ago

        What is DIM? Thanks. I’m 47, and feel like I’m experiencing the hot flashes at night. Some insomnia. Had an ablation a year ago. Worried about weight gain. I am active. Yoga and running.

  46. Lisa
    1 year ago

    I am 43 next month and have had irregular periods since the age of 39. In the last two years I have had only a handful of menstrual cycles. I am a high school teacher and the reason I bring this up is because my last two periods were the first week of school (August 2015) and the first week of school (January 2016). My hormones have been tested a few times and I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. Everything I have read says that lifestyle, stress/athleticism can lead to early menopause. Perhaps that is me as I have been under a ridiculous amount of stress in my life and I am fairly athletic. It has been difficult. My husband and I do not have children. I am the only person in my circle of friends to whom this is happening. I find myself depressed for absolutely no reason. It is difficult to deal with even small problems/setbacks. Maybe I am depressed. I don’t feel like myself. Recently my breasts have become incredibly tender. They have been this way for about 3-4 weeks. I have this crazy fear of breast cancer or that early menopause means there is something very wrong with my health. I have other physical symptoms as well. I feel very alone and wish there was a support group or something for people in similar situations.

    1. Leigh
      1 year ago

      Lisa, Alot of other women have written that they have the crazy fear of something being wrong with their health. I have experienced it also. Its perimenopause anxiety. I understand it all. Small problems that you let roll off your back before now seem like big issues. The depression and not feeling like yourself, tender breasts etc. Thats why they call it the change. It does change you. We have to remember there is nothing medical wrong with us. Its a natural part of life and you are not alone. Your friends are not going thru it now but boy oh boy will they. And guess who they will be turning too for support. Yes you dear Lisa. God bless you and I will be praying for you.

    2. Rattler
      12 months ago

      I started my peri-menopause when i was 39, after having a miscarriage. At the time i just thought it was stress making me moody and effecting my periods. Only after having my 8th miscarriage jan 2016 did my doctor decide something wasn’t right, i was told in march i’d hit the peri-menopause. Last week i was told i’ll never concieve again i’m too close to menopause. I’ve been offered HRT so going to give it a try before i kill someone.. Your not alone, i think it’s harder when your not ready for it. I certainly wasn’t.. Don’t dispare though, speak to a female doctor i’ve found them to be more helpful and understanding. Hope this makes you feel better.

  47. Heather
    1 year ago

    I am 33 years old and have two children. I have been experiencing shorten and lighter periods for several months, mood swings, hot flashes, dryness and pain during intercourse and lack of energy. I have seen 2 different doctors and told them I felt like I was going through premenopause and they both told me I am too young for that. Is there anything that can help me feel “normal” again?

  48. Lindsey Milligan
    1 year ago

    Hello, I am 38 yrs old and have always had heavy painful periods except when on birth control. I haven’t taken birth control for many months, close to a year. About 6 months ago, I noticed my periods were almost absent, light bleeding for a day or so, severe headaches. When to GP he put me on a high blood pressure pill for the headaches. Then went in for my annual with my guano in March, and have been bleeding since. Have high risk HPV, had a cervical biopsy, came back fine. Continued to have very heavy bleeding a clots, gyno put me on progesterone pills 20mg 3x day. Lighten bleeding for a few days. Had vaginal ultrasound, showed very think endometrial strip, possible mass. Had endometrial biopsy, came back possibly polyp. Gyno put in mirena, started have extreme cramping, and still bleeding, gyno said take more progesterone. To no avail, after 3 months of bleeding nothing has helped and gyno, is not worried about it. So here I sit, with sleep interruptions, irratability, constant bleeding and feeling of now hope in sight. Is my gyno a fraud? Or am I overreacting. I mean 3 months of constant bleeding, have our and taking another 60mg of progesterone with no relief. Other symptoms not sure are related are heatburn, change in bowel movements, lack of ambition, anxiety, lack of appetite, but weight gain, increase in blood pressure, constantly fatigued. Please help me understand if I am crazy or need to see a specialist.

    1. Lisa
      1 year ago

      This sounds terrible. I hope you find relief soon.

    2. Denise
      12 months ago

      Get ablation. It is a laser that will virtually eliminate your period. Your Gyno should have told you about this. Get a new one.

      1. Kristen
        9 months ago

        My doctor recommended this and I am wondering if you had it done. I’m worried because lots of people on forums mention weight gain and I am already very overweight. Would love to hear about your experiences.

        1. Tracy
          7 months ago

          I had an ablation several years ago and it did not stop my period, they were slightly lighter for about a year but now just as heavy as ever. My hormone doctor told me that some women who have a “spongey” uterus that the ablation does not work for them. I wish I would have known that before I had it done. It was a more painful recovery than what I had been led to believe and it was for nothing. I had the ablation because my periods were so heavy they made me anemic. If considering ablation, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether you are truly a good candidate. I’m not sure if they know how to tell if the uterus is spongey ahead of time or not.

  49. Betsy
    1 year ago

    I’m 42 now. Four years ago, so 38 yrs old, my cycle disappeared for six months then came back and never left for until I began birth control 4-6 mths later. After using them for one year I quit and resumed a normal cycle. Well last July 2015, I had a cycle, the nothing until December 2015. Again, period would not stop and it was excessive. I started bc again in Feb and am still on them. Period is regular but side effects are horrible. I had hot flashes I’d say 2014. I’m having insomnia and some depression which I’m attributing to bc as it didn’t start until about April. Labs are not conclusive because from what I understand they have to be monitored at different points in your cycle to show a true picture. It’s also been my experience that all docs don’t buy into ” peri menopause” and that does not help us at all.

  50. Tricia
    1 year ago

    5 years ago I started with flooding periods, cramps periods that would last 2 weeks a few months lasted longer than two weeks. Periods that would come every 2 weeks. Now, my period comes when it wants I spot here and there. My breast are tender and lumpy. These changes started when I was 46 I’m now 51 and I truly hope this roller coaster of periods and flooding are getting close to ending. It’s near impossible to go out when your flooding.

  51. Misty
    1 year ago

    I am 42. I have had regular periods up to about 3 months ago. For 2 months my cycle was a few days short. This month it was a few days late & now I am having another period 2 weeks later. I thought I might be too young for these hormonal changes so I took a look at my diet. The only thing I did different was drink Rooibos tea & add collagen to my breakfast. I stopped those two thinks but still got the random 2nd period this month. I feel extra tired & definitely more introspective & sensitive. Do you think I could be in perimen pause at 42?

    1. Gail
      1 year ago

      absolutely! I started at 38 with the fuzy thinking, insomnia, and sudden panic attacks along with almost overnight loss of libdo. Going on 7 years of thisplus weight gain and near constant water retention. All of this has caused my to become a hermit o the world.

  52. J.
    1 year ago

    I’m 51. Regular periods. Slight symptoms like night sweats and irratibility. Last month I had the worst symptoms. I had extreme hunger like nothing I had ever experienced. Nothing satisfied it. It lasted 3 days. The next day I woke with anxiety in my chest like someone had died. This went on for 2 days. I kept saying to myself “this is hormones”. The hunger came back one more day. Then I felt like I was going to ovulate. I get the pain in my ovaries right after I ovulate. I have charted myself for 20 years. Well the ovulation pain lasted a week. I went to doctor to find that I had a cyst on my ovary which had ruptured and hemmorhaged. I asked the dr. If this could of caused all my symptoms. She said possibly. I say definitely. I know 2 other woman this happened to. One was so depressed she couldn’t get out of bed for a month. The other thought she was going crazy. Both had cysts. If you are getting strong unusual pms symptoms. Go to doctor. Get a vaginal ultrasound. It’s worth a try.

  53. Brenda
    1 year ago

    I am 49, will be 50 in January. I went 8 months without a period then had one May 7, this one was kinda heavy, more so than “normal”. I started again 3 weeks later, this time its very heavy with cramps for 3 days. Is this “normal” or should I consult with my OB?

    1. Maria
      1 year ago

      Sounds familiar, I didn’t have a period for 5months then stated back in May and hasn’t stopped for a month now, my Gyno checked with ultrasound and found I have enlarged uterus due to low progesterone, you might wanna get it checked out just to be sure, good luck, Maria.

  54. lynda
    1 year ago

    Hi I’m 49 female please can anyone advise me .. I’ve had uti past 3 months been on antiobics that they keep giving me every time I go Dr been on 4 lots now … Trouble is my urethra is very sensitive I think its to do with my estergeon levels …. Red in side vigina had camera done but all normal Dr just says I’m going through the change … Is their any cream I can use to ease my pain in urethra … Thank you ,.please help at my wits end Dr or useless just keep giving my antibiotics that I’ve stopped myself … I’ve been using d mannose which is great but still have sensitive urethra ..

    1. Anon
      1 year ago

      Colloidal Silver, specifically the MesoSilver brand (they have a website) was the only thing that helped me, and without side affects.

    2. PeriCrazy
      11 months ago

      GoldenSeal also works very well for UTI. Research it.

  55. Wren Willow
    1 year ago

    I am a 51 year old woman in perimenopause. I have had irregular menses for about a year and many cycles have become very painful and accompanied by heavy bleeding. I skipped January’s period and in February had a very light bleeding, which was followed by watery discharge, which felt like I went incontent over night. Since then (now it is May) I have had this pink or light yellow discharge, that is continuing to be watery and interrupted by bleeding. It has no scent and is not accompanied by pain and is not as profuse as it was, when it first started. two to three maxipads within 24 hours.
    I have been on Chinese herbs, Vitamin A, Bcomplex, C and Edry, see an acupuncturist weekly, without much success.
    Little sex drive, and irritabilty are my constant companions, too.
    Is this the new “normal” or do I need to seek the help of a gynacologist, as these are symptoms of another condition than I think, they relate to.
    Thank you for your response. Wren

    1. Sherri
      1 year ago

      Hi Wren, I’m 49 and have been perimenopausal for 5 or so years now. I’ve had heavy periods that came anytime even when I was on the pill and have skipped some periods also. I also had the same watery discharge lately that was pink, but also has been very dark and thick at times. I became so weak lately I went to the ER three times over the last few months only to be told nothing is wrong, which is good but not common to what I hear are classic symptoms. Last ER doc who was female said I need to start the BHRT that my NP perscribed the day prior and that would make me feel much better. I’m on day 9 and feel remarkably better, with no shortness of breath and my weakness is improving daily. I would highly recommend BHRT and wish you well!

  56. Dawn
    1 year ago

    Are headaches common in perimenopause? I am 46 and I can’t sleep well, hot flashes, periods constantly here and there however this last month I had my period 3 times. I just have this headache that won’t go away! Is it from this?

    Thank you,
    Dawn U

  57. Mama Lola
    1 year ago

    I am 48 years old, I had a partial hysterectomy when I was 40 but still have my ovaries and tubes and have been suffering from migraines for the last 3 years. I get them around every two weeks. They seem to be cyclical. I also have digestive issues once a month. I started a smoothie of veggies and fruits every morning and that has helped my digestive issues so far. I am typically very good otherwise with what i eat. I prepare whole natural foods for me and my family everyday as well as homemade Kombucha. I had read that estrogen helps with these migraines as I really don’t like taking the sumatriptan that sometimes doesn’t help anyway. I have been taking an herbal suppliment Peri menopause support with soy isoflavones black cohosh and dong quai but didn’t see any difference in my migraines. I recently went to my gyno to discuss estrogen but he did not have much to say. He thinks the herbal stuff is a joke as, expected. As far as estrogen pills he said it was up to me and gave me the prescription. He didn’t take any hormone levels and didn’t even ask about my diet or exercise. I decided to take it for a couple of months to see if it works on my migraines. What is your advice?

    1. Fe
      1 year ago

      I can relate with you… Been looking for a med doctor who can really understand and diagnose my uncomfortable feelings. If this is part of our perimenopausal or hormonal changes of our body then why cant they give solutions at least minimize the uncomfortable feelings we are going through. Ive been to different doctors but still Am feeling the same. I hate this feeling headache, fuzzy mind, anxiety, etc. When will these end?

  58. Terri Coulter
    1 year ago

    I’m 56 years old and my last period was 16 months ago. I just started bleeding a little, is this something to be concerned about?

  59. Iris Prcic
    1 year ago

    I am constantly itchy all over. Is this a symptom of perimenopause?

    1. wendy
      1 year ago

      This is actually a good question, my itch is from Candida Overgrowth, i have it all over, but perhaps it IS a symptom because yeast overgrowth is worse during Perimenopause?

      1. Tammy
        6 months ago

        I have been going thru the change for about 3 yrs now and heavy bleeding . Now for the last 4 months I have had itching and irritated vagina dr gave me estrogen cream worked alittle while then quit I am so miserable . Just had hormone blood work done . I don’t know the results yet . But I have tried everything anyone else doing this ???? Help !!!!

  60. Kim Anthony
    1 year ago

    Thank God for this opportunity to talk to you Dr. Northrup. I had a partial hysterectomy 4 years ago for fibroids. My problem is that for the past 2 years I have been suffering with increased symptoms including hot flashes, headaches, blurred vision and mental fogginess. The past 6 month have been the worst. I am a hormonal mess. Hot flashes 5 times an hour that cause the headaches and blurred vision. I have recently quit my job because everyday I was experiencing these symptoms. I have been to my PCP, neurologist, 3 eye doctors and have had many different tests. My PCP insists that I am not in menopause because of my blood tests. Headache specialist thinks its perimenopause. I have recently started taking supplements, cut caffeine and sugar, and going to the gym. The gym definitely helps. But I am at a loss because I don’t have any answers and I feel so alone in all this. Where do I go from here for help? I have an appointment with my GYN but she has been unable to help me figure this out up to this point. Who do I turn to? My life is at a stand-still. Please help! Thank you!

    1. Rhonda
      1 year ago

      I experienced the same symptoms. Even worse. So much in fact that I developed panic disorder. I had no idea why I had the shakes. My family thought I maybe had taken drugs-which was proven through urine tests. I made my doctor test my hormone levels-even begged and finally she gave in to testing. Yes, I was in perimenopause. I was nervous, scared, panicked, sore muscles from being tense, headaches, and easily fatigued. Get on medication as soon as possible.

      1. wendy
        1 year ago

        Let me tell you something that will change your life, you are NOT dying!! which is what i thought when i went into Perimenopause, it is your ADRENAL GLANDS freaking out, they have their OWN job, and now they have to help out during this time of life!!! GOOGLE: “Adrenal Fatigue During Perimenopause” you will be SOOOO glad you did,
        long and short? the Only thing that helped me was Hand Fulls of Vitamin C.
        No Adrenal Disease, just Exhaustion…Some Docs say it dont exist, you must have either Cushings or Addisions, i am here to tell you that is NOT TRUE!
        The Adrenals make lots of Hormones,.. but get this???!!! they are making TOOOOO much Cortisol when you are in Perimenopause and THAT is the Cause of your Panic Attacks

        And Honey? PLEASE dont take Anti depressants for this, God oh PLEASE.

        Vit C lowers Cortisol, i have been in the middle of the worse panic attack, swallowed 4x 500mgs of Vit C and kissed the Ground that GOD gave us, it works within just a few minutes (and i am not heavily religious!!LOL )

        Wendy in California Age 51 and BEEN THERE.

        1. Jackie
          1 year ago

          Thank you for this awesome advice!!!! Just what I needed to hear.

        2. Stephanie
          1 year ago

          Thank you SO much for leaving this response
          I really needed to see this …….it’s like you left it just for me to read . May God bless you for being a blessing to me !

        3. Sherri
          1 year ago

          THANK YOU WENDY!! I am going through it too!! Exactly!! BHRT is helping but I have also been wondering if my adrenals are not ready for this rollercoaster because I have had severe exhaustion that has put me in the ER twice in the last 2 weeks!! Thank you so much I will check it out!! God bless you!! and wish you well!

        4. Tracee
          1 year ago

          Wendy thank you so much for sharing your information ..I just took 4 vit C’s gosh I hope this works.I have severe Hormone problems from peri-menopause. I hade cancer at 34 and went on hormone suppressing drugs which put see in “fake” temporary menopause. and now 12 years later I’m going through it naturally but it seemss my symptoms are way more severe tan anyone I know and its debilitating. I am looking fir a Doctor to go to as my quality of life now is close to nothing. Any other tips are very much welcomed and appreciated ..I am feeling calmer already ..thatnk you wendy and god..I love natural ways to treat these symptoms..god bless you dear ..hugs.

        5. C
          9 months ago

          Adrenals control critical hormones. The online video by Dr. Lam in California explains the cycle very well.

        6. Heather C Baxter
          2 weeks ago

          wow this helps! I will try the vitamin C, I have my stash ready! Thanks

    2. wendy
      1 year ago

      read my post to Rhonda below, i meant it for Every lady here.
      My eyes started to go becasue of the high Cortisol/Adrenalin output during perimenopause, it was my Adrenal glands, they are fine, just stressed…my pupils were sooooo constricted, it freaked me out INSOMNIA ! heart palps, you name it, getting better now 6 years later.
      I had 20 20 vision before all this

    3. Peri
      1 year ago

      I’m 45 and am premenopausal. Last 2 week have been the worst yet. just a few symptoms that someone might be able to relate too (I hope so) is I’m having a hard time focusing in any conversation and knowing how to reply which is so embarrassing, Keep thinking of horrible things from the past that I’ve either heard about or saw, crying frequently, depressed, no energy, can not focus on my job. One night recently I was driving home and by the time I reached there I was shaking and burning up so badly I could barely get out of the car and into the house. I had to eat crackers and soda and lay down. It was horrible. I have a dr. appt. middle of June. I do hope there not something else wrong with me and that it is premenopausal symptoms. I’ve never felt like this. It is horrible and embarrassing. How do you explain to anyone like husband or co workers? This behavior is quite the opposite of how I usually am. Awful!

      1. Ellie
        11 months ago

        That’s how all of mine started…along with nausea and IBS flare ups.
        Anxiety attacks, intrusive thoughts, crying, no energy, couldn’t concentrate, feeling depressed and thinking about the past. All of that plus feeling physically sick from nausea, bloating, headaches, tender breasts..you name it.
        Welcome to the next phase of my life I was told!

  61. Aurieona
    1 year ago

    What is the product you have talked about for vaginal dryness when I’ve heard you on hay house radio? Thank you!

    1. 1 year ago

      Hi Aurieona, you can find it here: Pueraria Mirifica Plus Vaginal Moisturizer

  62. ab
    2 years ago

    I am almost 50 will full-on perimenapausal symptoms. I look forward to being on the other side! My health is a little complicated because I also have Epilepsy, currently controlled, but it wasn’t when they symptoms started 3years ago — like getting my period 2x in a month. Since I have grand-mal seizures, keeping them in control is important on many fronts. What are your feelings about combining the Pueraria mirifica with Tegretol? Do you have any experience with that? Is there any evidence that it lowers the seizure threshold? My doctors are fine with herbs as long as they are safe for me to take. Thank you!

  63. Freddie
    2 years ago

    Please I really need help. I’m 48 and have been a happy energetic yoga and meditation person perfectly happy into all natural food and life but the past couple of yrs I started having peri menopause rage and anxiety so bad I started taking Vicodin to calm down just to get through a day when I have to deal with people. I’m ashamed of this but I can’t deal with any stress or rude people without going nuts. I’m not violent but I’m scared I might if pushed! I can’t work unless it’s at home alone on my computer but even that is getting to be tough with fatigue and depression and no desire or drive for life. Im fat now. I’m not me anymore. I’m alone 99% of the time I’m losing the house I proudly bought all by myself 15 years ago. I’m in los angeles. I need help can you refer me to a Dr. who can help with hormones? I’m afraid of antidepressants. I tried the Barbara Streisand place but it’s $500 just to get in the door after a month or more wait.
    Can you tell me
    Does the rage and crying come from low progesterone ? What causes it? I cry over the slightest thing.
    I can easily wean off the pills but then when I do the hormone issue rears its ugly head. Then I start again. Please help I’m desperate!!!!

    1. Midwest_Mama
      2 years ago

      try moodcure.com Julie Ross.

    2. Cyndi
      1 year ago

      Consider using some over the counter progesterone cream. Look for one that has the label USP on it and also one with no parabens. I use 20 mgs. nightly of the Progest by Emerita, and it has helped my sleep and my moods immensely. I was also getting horrible heart palpitations from peri-menopause, and they are gone too. There are instructions inside on how often to use it. Some women notice a difference right away, and others might notice a difference in a week. Give it a try. It saved my life. And yes, you are experiencing peri-menopause. Your hormones are fluctuating and your body doesn’t feel the same. I cried over everything too. Good luck.

    3. Gwendolyn
      1 year ago

      When I read your comments I immediately related to them. While my situation is slightly different, I too have sudden outbursts of uncontrollable rage. While I hope I would never get to the point of harming someone, I cannot be 100% sure because the rage I feel is so great. However I am only 43 and have already been on a strong antidepressant for several years. I have a medical condition that prevents me from working so I am at home alone most of the as my husband has a job that involves him being away most of the time. I do not understand what is happening because I am not this person. I feel as if someone else has taken control of my emotions and body. I am gaining weight at a rapid pace. My moods are like being on a roller coaster. I have night sweats sometimes to the point to where it feels like I’ve just gotten out of the shower. I can cry over the simplest things. And am often depressed. I don’t understand why because my medication has always controlled this. I’ve always been aware of menopause but this is the first I’ve ever heard of peri menopause. I am going to see my local physician next week to hopefully find some answers. Unfortunately I am aware that it may lead to me taking more medications. Because of my physical condition I’m already on several medications as it is. This is certainly not the quality of life I expected. I just wanted to give a shout out to you to let you know you’re not alone. I hope you find your answers and have peace n

      1. Candace dussault
        1 year ago

        I feel exactly the same way . I cry all the time and I have been on antidepressants for years that have kept that at bay. I have very little energy sleeping 12 hours and still feel like I could go back to bed and sleep more. I am a runner and had no problems up until 6 mos ago ,however now my muscles hurt so much that it has really created havoc and I have cut my running way back . I can remember the day probably 7 mos ago when I looked in the mirror and it was like over night my legs and hips were about 1 inch bigger and it has gotten worse . Of course this is very depressing as well. I feel my body is not providing enough glucose for my muscles and it is causing me to be very hungry after working out. I have hot flashes and night sweats constantly , however I tried an estrogen patch which made me want to just lay in bed and wish for death … Ugh!! I take black cohosh which helps but not enough and I am afraid because it says weight gain . I am going to try natural progesterone cream so I will let you know how I make out with it . Good luck to you . The crazy thing really is that I thought I would love menopause as I had terrible one and when my hormones were at their highest levels is when I felt horrible and so I naturally thought menopause would be very good for me …. Boy was I wrong !:(

        1. Candace dussault
          1 year ago

          One meant to be pms

    4. Jennfier
      1 year ago

      Why are you afraid of antidepressants? You’re depressed and you are losing your house. Give it a try for a month and see if it helps. Forget about all the societal baggage about antidepressants and see if it helps you. Your MD can prescribe them, but if you want to give it a real shot of it helping go see an expert-go to a psychiatrist. Get real help before you lose you house.

      1. Aimee
        1 year ago

        I suffered from depression & anxiety since childhood…. But didn’t realize it until I FINALLY got help in my early 30s. I fought going on antidepressants too. Don’t. I thought they would “change me.” YES, THEY DID, but in the very best of ways. It’s like the “real me” was able to come out for the first time in my life. At first I was on Zoloft, which worked okay, but then my doc out me on Wellbutrin, which has been tremendous. I’ve been on exactly the same dosage for about 8 years.

        And I’m here because I’ve been having the mother of all yeast infections for the last month-and-a-half…. Which has been really awful. I’m 43, a proper weight, and quite active, but this yeast infection has laid me low. After a bombardment of 14-days of Diflucan, I am finally having symptom relief, but my doc has suggested following up with vaginal estrogen cream, and I’m going to take her up on it. I’m also making pro-biotics a permanent part of my diet, rethinking my undies (I think thongs are a thing of the past for me…. they are awful anyway LOL!), and VERY CONSCIOUSLY not letting life events stress me out (work, my teen son, taking on the troubles of friends too much…). Meditation is helping too.

    5. Carolyn
      1 year ago

      Freedie, i totally understand how you feel, and are experiencing the same debilitation. I dont know what the answer is but i know this, just dig in and do as much research as you can, try different things…. one you could try and put into google is orthomolecular hormones, their should be a product that comes up, try that… as for paying 500.00 for the right to good health, that is rediculous. I have just turned 40 and for reasons i dont know, my hormones have taken over, and the rage is so scary i dont trust myself not to go off the handle.

    6. Debra
      1 year ago

      Omg Im the same way….I don’t even go out much anymore cause Im afraid Im going to get myself killed if I click on the wrong person. The 5-HTP works good for me but I tired taking all this stuff now….Was in tears earlier thinking about may have to resort to the HRT and really didnt want any Rx drugs in my system but so close to suicide cause Im tired of dealing with this along with other life issues got going on….Wish you well.

      1. helper
        1 year ago

        The changes in hormones can be so extreme during perimenopause, and the endocrine system is so complex. Underactive thyroid, stressed adrenals, too much cortisol, not enough progesterone, too much estradiol. Try small amounts of progesterone cream to see if this helps the anxiety and rage.

  64. Robin
    2 years ago

    I am about to turn 47. My menstrual cycle is regular. I Recently (about 6 months ago) became sexually active again after many years of abstinence. Every time I have sex without a condom with my new partner I end up with BV (and a UTI). After I use the metro gel and antibiotic for the UTI as directed by the OB I end up with a yeast infection which then needs to be treated with terconazole as the diflucan does not work on the yeast that turns up in the culture. I am pretty convinced that all of this is a result of peri menopause and my body not being able to maintain a good PH level after intercourse. I would rather not use condoms as we really don’t otherwise need to, we are both STI free and he has had a vasectomy.
    Should I be taking estrogen to help my body (vagina) maintain balance? I am at my wits end with this and my doctor does not seem to know what to do with me except continue to write prescriptions.

    Please help !

    1. Lucy
      1 year ago

      Just a quick note on vaginal yeast infections: A doctor told a friend of mine that the best way to get rid of one is to get boric acid (from a pharmacy), fill a gelatin capsule with it as best you can and insert it in your vagina. You may need to do this a few times over several days depending on how out of balance you are. The idea is that candida is always present and thrives in an environment of a slightly different acidity than our bodies are naturally. The boric acid helps return the vaginal ph closer to that natural level thus making it harder for the yeast to survive and easier for what’s naturally supposed to be there to thrive and keep the candida in check. I have used this technique quite a few times over the the last 15 years and found it quite reliable. It’s better than the creams that wipe out everything leaving you wide open for another infection…And of course you can help it all out by keeping your sugar intake down.

    2. Arya
      1 year ago

      Probiotics may help in preventing these issues.

    3. Tara
      1 year ago

      Why my husband and I first became intimate I started getting chronic yeast infections. I had never had them before. I tried all of the typical allopathic remedies, but nothing worked. My Chiro recommended Biotics ADP (Oregano) and their FC Cidal. I took a round of that for one or two weeks and haven’t had one since. .. that was 9 years ago… I don’t remember the dosage, sorry.

    4. Sassy Red Gal
      1 year ago

      Both of you should think about a candida (yeast) cleanse. A man can carry candida infection and be asymptomatic. It can be a vicious cycle. Also, Apple Cider Vinegar to balance your(both of you) PH levels. Essential oils can also be very helpful to deter UTIs and candida(and make some nice romantic oils.

      1. Kim
        1 year ago

        I am now doing the candida yeast cleanse now.. I’m just stumped on what to eat

        1. Stephanie
          1 year ago

          Hi Kim, try reading Anthony William’s book, Medical Medium. He offers delicious, healthy recipes that help rid your body of candida. Food is medicine! ♥ Here’s an article from his site about Candida.

    5. Meg
      1 year ago

      I too have experienced this nightmare BV- Yeast cycle! It’s just horrible and disheartening. I have terrible reactions to antifungals. I have a wonderful Gyno who had me use boric acid vaginally to get the ph balance correct. I initially had a script filled at a compound pharmacy but now order the boric acid powder and gel caps on Amazon. I use them preventively after sex and stop the madness before it starts! Google boric acid and BV -Yeast . You’ll be glad you did!

  65. Debra
    2 years ago

    I need helppp bad with this transition because I am not one of the fortunate ones that’s going through this smoothly. I am having severe acne, depression and night sweats which keeping me from having restful night sleep. Supplements have been helping some which are Evening Primrose Oil, Vitex, Borage Seed Oil and find the Oregon Grape Root as a blood cleanser to help acne. Started back on my healthy eaten to see what happens but if any suggestion would be welcomed.
    thank you

    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      Please try the Pueraria mirifica supplement I created. It can work wonders with perimenopausal symptoms of all kinds. http://www.a-ma-ta.com. And let me know how it works for you!

      1. Debra
        1 year ago

        Are there samples to get cause can’t afford to buy more thing that does not work.

      2. Nicky
        1 month ago

        Is this product recommended for use by those of us with a strong family history of breast cancer or should we avoid it?

  66. pei
    2 years ago

    Over the past decade, I have the typical symptoms of the perimenopause, with palpitations, aching joints, sweats, irregular periods, etc. Having diagnosed with autoimmune disease (sjogrens) and pcos in my teens and twenties, it does not really help with the hormones. Even once had high prolactin levels which indicated low ovulation although periods at the time was normal. Now in my early 40s, like to know anyone who are in similar situation and are facing possibility of early menopause?

    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      Please try http://www.a-ma-ta.com. Read the testimonials. SO many women have been helped!

  67. Kristy
    2 years ago

    All of this it’s crazy that’s happen to me breast tenderness ,changes in my periods and unrinary tract infections ,insomnia. Thinning hair low sex drive joint pain! I am glad to know that I’m not alone but what I do I am 41 it started at 20 .

  68. Kristy
    2 years ago

    I am 41 have been having uinary bladder infections since 20 s now I have breastn tenderness mod eswings vaginal dryness insomnia and periods have changed from 7 days two three ug all of this it’s driving me insane help! Glad to know I’m not alone

  69. Chrisanthi Siolas
    2 years ago

    Can I take oral progesterone 100mg with Remeron 30mg and cymbalta 60mg

    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      I’m fine with the progesterone. But chances are
      Good that there are good alternatives to the other stuff. Try the Pueraria mirifica herbal stuff I created. Read the testimonials first. Then ask your heart. http://www.a-ma-ta.com

    2. Verity Saffron
      2 years ago

      I took 60 mg of Cymbalta for 17 months. After realizing that maybe the Cymbalta was making my peri menopausal symptoms worse I weaned myself off it but removing 10 grains more each day from each capsule over 8 weeks. I added 20 minutes of cardio to see if it would help with the depression. Life isn’t perfect but 8 months after stopping Cymbalta things are much better and my symptoms are much more manageable. Don’t quit Cymbalta quickly.

  70. Maria
    2 years ago

    I think I just had my last period 6 weeks ago. I am 54 years old. For the last three weeks I feel these crumps, same once I would normally feel before getting my periods in the past. Is it normal to have these crumps for so long and I also feel quite bloated.
    Should I be worried or is this normal? Any advise/comment would be appreciated.

    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      This is really normal! Don’t worry.

  71. Kim
    2 years ago

    Ladies, the uterus does not have an open door! The cervix is the entry point…not the vagina. Things do not flow in and out of the womb as one might imagine. The vagina yes, uterus no. As far as I know, as when in labor and during menstruation the cervix opens (painful/uncomfortable cramping) allowing its contents (baby/menstrual blood) to exit. Then it closes again.

  72. Jolanda Simone
    2 years ago

    Hi Christine, I am a big fan of you and your work, i bought that book: “womens heath, womens wisdom” a long time ago and i followed your work ever since. But i stay with a question i have never seen answered yet anywhere. It is never discussed openly i can recall. My question is the following:
    Once a woman does not have her monthly menstruation anymore: how does the womb/uterus still cleanse itself?
    I refer to having sex for instance, semen and other related flueds could still remain in the body, even if you cleanse
    it. Normally we would have our monthly period to cleanse and wipe the remaining smells and not wanted energies
    out, and make the womb PH neutral again. To my knowledge 🙂 But when that stops? How does the womb get rid of
    the sperm and smells which are not of her own? I have noticed that i smell my “guy” still after a week, and i am really good for my body, eat healthy and am very much in balance. Can you tell us, what happens when we are not menstruating anymore? Thank you. 🙂

    1. Shara
      2 years ago

      I’d also like to know this answer. Thank you.

  73. 2 years ago

    I’ve also been meditating on the identical point myself recently. Glad to see a person on the same wavelength! Nice article.

  74. Kim
    2 years ago

    hello
    I love your article.
    I really need some advice. I am 56years old and have been having awful symptoms for I would say 4years. I recently went to my doctor and results show I am peri menopause. She has given me an option of hrt. I am scared. I have no breast cancer in family. I have all pretty much symptoms, put on a good 2 stone. I had a hysterectomy when I was 32years old, I kept my ovaries. I have tried herbal remedies but nothing works or maybe I needed to take longer. Look fwd to your reply. Thank you. Please help. kim

    1. Patti
      2 years ago

      I also had a hysterectomy and left my ovaries and I’m 52 yrs old I’m emotional one min then laughing the next,tired am also a breast cancer survivor so I can’t go on any hrt.i have learned that there is bio- identical hormone treatments.

  75. Lynn
    3 years ago

    In 2013 I had 2-3 periods (I was 43). In 2014 I had one period in January. I’m now approaching one year without a period. I’ve had hot flashes (warm moments) over the past two years but no other problems. My doctor told me today I should take provera to force my period because a thickening uterine wall could lead to uterine cancer. I feel hesitant to alter what my body is going through, natural menopause, by forcing a period. Blood work showed perimemopause. Any insight or feedback is appreciated.

    1. Pat
      2 years ago

      I’m going through the same thing. Perimenopause was about the same as yours with some “warm” moments and pretty much no other symptoms. Now a year and ten months after my last period I had post menopausal bleeding with all the old symptoms of pms ……breast tenderness, acne and cramps. I saw my Dr who did a transvaginal ultrasound and found irregular thickening of the endometrium so she did an endometrial biopsy which came back benign. Now she wants me to take Progesterone 100mg for ten days to bring on a heavy period to shed the lining. I’m having symptoms of tense muscles, irritability…laughing one minute and wanting to cry the next, and foggy thinking. I’m scared if I take it it will throw my whole system off! And why all of a sudden am I having these symptoms? Ugh! Help!!!

      1. Ms. O
        2 years ago

        So glad I came across this.
        I, too, am having the same exact symptoms. Dr. is recommending progesterone to force a cycle. My body is doing fine. I have been able to manage all my symptoms with food and diet. I do not feel the need for the prescription. Is it necessary? I am 49 years old.
        Any advise will be greatly appreciated!

        1. Ms. K
          2 years ago

          Did any of you take hormones to transition? I’m going though menopause at 44, but lots of research shows that I should take HRT to protect my heart and bones. Totally confused. My doc says it’s up to me.

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