Today’s big idea is that perimenopause can trigger a whole slew of seemingly disconnected symptoms. Perimenopause weight gain is just one of MANY symptoms women experience when going through this global change. And I think it’s super helpful to hear these lists to help you treat yourself more gently as your body goes through this natural transition.
Listen to the Podcast Here
You probably know that perimenopause is going to cause some changes to your monthly cycle
It can intensify PMS, for example. You may not realize that that can mean that you might miss some cycles altogether–when I found this out, I was shocked! There was one summer where I felt continually bloated, moody and on the verge of getting a period that never came for a good 6 weeks. Fun times! That was toward the start of everything. Once you’re toward the back half of your perimenopausal journey, typically, you can also get your period more often and it can become heavier. I remember talking to a friend about it all and she said, I thought menopause was about getting your period LESS?!?! And we both cackled.
You can also start experiencing vaginal dryness
A act I was alerted to when one of my son’s friend’s mom, whom I just recently gotten to know, found out how old I was (she was two years older than I am) and gleefully told me to stock up on lube. I was like, ohhhhh, thank you, I think?
And then there’s often perimenopause weight gain that feels like it comes out of nowhere
You’re eating the same, you’re moving the same, but your body has changed. I call it the thickening. That’s thanks to the fact that insulin is working differently now–and insulin, in addition to regulating your blood sugar, is basically a fat storage hormone. I find it helpful to know that carrying a little extra weight has been found to be good for longevity–I mean, there has to be an evolutionary reason for these changes, am I right?
A perimenoapuse symptom that might surprise you is needing to pee more frequently
as all your tissues–the vagina, the urethra, and the pelvic floor, get weaker. (Side note–doing squats helps!!! Google ‘more squats and fewer kegels’ to learn more about taking care of your pelvic floor through squatting.)
And you know how you forget words, can’t find your keys, and sometimes forget very obvious things like picking your kid up from school? Yep, you can attach that to perimenopause too.
Research has found that 60 percent of middle-aged women say they experience difficulty concentrating. Another study found that women in the first year after their last menstrual period scored the lowest on tests that evaluated a variety of cognitive tasks, like memory and attention. If this sounds like bad news, it’s good to know that the women in this study saw their memory improve over time.
Finally, something that took me a long time to piece together is that perimenopause often triggers a reduced alcohol tolerance.
Alcohol also triggers hot flashes. In fact, I got my first hot flash ever in the middle of the night after I drank two martinis–something I haven’t done since, let me tell you, as I really don’t enjoy feeling like a baked potato right out of the oven in the middle of the night!
Basically, if you have lady parts and you’re anywhere from your late 30s to early 50s everything in your being is in flux. Of course, it’s not all bad news. And not everything you experience is related to perimenopause–if you are feeling like something is truly awry, see your doctor! Just remember to also tell them if you are also experiencing perimenopausal symptoms so that they understand the full suite of what’s going on with you.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is, if you have ovaries and a uterus and are between 35 and 55, to sit and think about what kinds of stuff you’ve noticed going on with you lately. And see if any of them gibe with things I’ve listed here; perimenopause weight gain, alcohol intolerance, frequent urination, etc . Just check in on how you may or may not be experiencing peri-menopause, because awareness is a crucial ingredient in being a better person.
And come back tomorrow, when I’m interviewing coach Jolinda Johnson who specializes in perimenopause, for her self-care strategies that can make the transition a lot easier to take.