When we talk about perimenopause, the usual suspects like hot flashes and irregular periods immediately come to mind. Yet, the perimenopause is far more complicated than this. There are so many lesser-known symptoms that many women quietly endure, often unaware of their connection to their changing perimenopausal hormones. A lot of these aren’t widely recognized as signs of perimenopause—partly due to the limited research in this area. Nevertheless, these lesser-known symptoms are gaining our attention, and we wanted you to know about them as well.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause marks a significant transitional phase in your reproductive life, where your ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone, the key hormones regulating your reproductive system. This decline isn’t steady or predictable. Rather, you might experience varying levels of these hormones from month to month. These hormonal fluctuations can lead to a variety of symptoms and changes in your menstrual cycle until eventually you reach menopause (one full year without a bleed). During perimenopause,
Understanding these changes is crucial to managing this phase of your life effectively. And knowing what the symptoms are (even the unusual ones) can save you a lot of frustration and confusion. So let’s dive in…
Uncommon Perimenopausal Symptoms
Perimenopause can bring about changes many of which extend beyond the commonly recognized symptoms so you might not immediately associate with hormonal transitions. These less commonly recognized symptoms can impact your daily quality of life in surprising and unexpected ways. Did you know that the following were possibly symptoms of perimenopause?
A fascinating change in perimenopause is that your allergies may intensify. This is because Hormonal fluctuations may amplify sensitivity to allergens, leading to more pronounced reactions. This is a reminder of the intricate relationship between hormones and your immune function.
The hormonal ebb and flow of perimenopause can render your gums more prone to bleeding and inflammation.
Brittle hair and nails
Many women observe their hair and nails becoming more brittle during this time. Estrogen, vital for maintaining the strength and texture of hair and nails, when deficient, can lead to noticeable changes in all areas of our body.
Burning mouth or tongue
An intriguing yet distressing symptom is the sensation of burning in the mouth or on the tongue. This discomfort is often linked to hormonal shifts affecting oral sensory nerves, a less-discussed but significant aspect of perimenopause.
Changes in body odor
Pee-ye! Your not imagining it. You may have body odor not that you’re in perimenopause. Shifts in hormone balances can influence sweat glands and alter your natural scent. Often, not for the better.
Changes in taste
This one totally sucks! During perimenopause, you might find that your favourite food tastes different. In fact, it might not taste good at all anymore. Because perimenopause sometimes brings a metallic flavor to your palette and this change in taste affects your enjoyment of food and beverages.
Dry mouth and bad breath
Again with the change in odor! A dry mouth caused my decreased saliva production can lead to bad breath. Keep those breath mints handy.
Can’t stop scratching? As we age and lose estrogen, our skin loses moisture. And this dry skin can be incredibly annoying and uncomfortable. So slather on the moisturizer, keep the humidifier primed and eat more healthy fats.
Runny nose / post nasal drip
An unexpected symptom is the development of a runny nose or post-nasal drip, unrelated to colds or allergies. Fluctuating estrogen levels can affect nasal membranes, leading to this unusual symptom
Dizzy spells / vertigo
Experiencing dizzy spells or vertigo can be disconcerting. But there’s a chance that for women in perimenopause that it could be linked to hormonal shifts impacting the inner ear or blood flow to the brain.
Electric shock sensations
Some women report surprising electric shock sensations, often occurring before a hot flash. This phenomenon is thought to result from nerve fibers reacting to the hormonal changes of perimenopause.
Tingling sensations in the hands and feet can emerge, possibly connected to the effect of hormones on the nervous system. This symptom highlights the complex interaction between hormonal changes and neurological health.
Tinnitius is a ringing or buzzing in the ears that many women experience during their perimenopausal years.
A less commonly discussed symptom is skin crawling, medically known as formication. This can be particularly unsettling. Duh! It feels like insects are moving across your skin. But it’s another unusual but real symptom that can arise during perimenopause.
Experiencing hot feet, especially at night, is yet another symptom you don’t hear much about, but that can significantly disrupt your sleep.
You don’t need to white knuckle perimenopause. There are a ton of relief options at your disposal. From lifestyle modifications and home remedies to direct medical interventions – there are a lot of things you can do to manage your symptoms.
Lifestyle Tweaks and Home-Based Solutions
This is an easy place for most women to star – simple tweaks to their daily lives. Embracing a healthy diet and regular exercise can effectively tackle issues like weight gain and bloating. Boosting your intake of calcium-rich foods is also a smart move to fortify bone health, especially crucial in warding off osteoporosis, a common risk during this phase.
- Diet Choices: Focus on integrating a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your meals.
- Exercise: Strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week to maintain overall health and well-being.
- Caffeine: Cutting back on caffeine can help reduce hot flashes and improve sleep quality.
Medical Pathways for Relief
When lifestyle changes don’t quite cut it, turning to medical treatments might be the next step. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can alleviate many perimenopausal symptoms, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Other hormonal therapy, like low-dose birth control pills, can help regulate periods and ease hot flashes. In some cases, antidepressants are prescribed to manage mood swings.
- HRT: Offers relief from symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, but it’s important to weigh the risks with your healthcare provider.
- Birth Control Options: Low-dose birth control pills may be recommended for managing specific symptoms.
In instances where fibroids add to your discomfort, specialized medical treatments are available. It’s essential to have a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider to pinpoint the most effective and personalized treatment plan for your situation.
Each woman’s experience is unique. So, it’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you and seek support when needed. Identifying and treating symptoms quickly, even the unusual ones, can make a world of difference to your life.