Perimenopause is the transitional time of life before menopause and can typically last 2-10 years.
This period of time is different for everyone, often beginning in our 40’s, but sometimes earlier.
Menopause (ceasing of menstruation) is recognised as a point in time 12 months after your last period.
Both perimenopause and menopause are thankfully becoming more widely and openly discussed and so recognition and acknowledgment of the difficulties that can be faced during this process is increasing.
Everybody is different and so those of us who will experience this process will have their own individual experience, some with mild symptoms and some more severe.
Physical symptoms most commonly associated with perimenopause and menopause are hot flushes, night sweats, aches and pains, vaginal dryness and of course menstruation (our periods) eventually coming to an end.
Loss of libido, brain fog and confusion, increasing anxiety and periods of low mood and depression may be experienced as our hormone levels fluctuate and decrease.
Any of these experiences can be distressing and disorienting, affecting us both at home and in the workplace.
The more extensive Menopause Symptom Checker can help you determine whether or not you maybe experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.
Balance is also a very informative website and app, created by menopause expert Dr Louise Newson.
Checking in with a supportive GP or Menopause specialist can help to clarify and address many of the physical aspects of this time of life, with treatments such as HRT available to alleviate suffering, as appropriate.
...but what about your emotional world?
What does menopause mean for you?
Counselling can help you to better understand and cope with your emotional responses to both perimenopause and menopause.
Our physical and emotional experiences may be difficult for us to understand, navigate, and accept.
If this is the case, it is likely that our relationships with intimate partners, friends or professional colleagues, may well be impacted in some way too.
This process of change and adjustment will impact everyone differently, some more so than others – we don’t get to choose.
Around this time of life, it is not unusual to feel lost or a sense of no longer recognising who we are.
This may feel disconcerting or even frightening at times as we struggle to understand what is happening for us.
It is a time of life often likened to being at a crossroads, perhaps with an uncertainty about which direction to take, or which are even accessible to us.
As we can feel emotions more intensely and experience themes of ending around this time, previous experiences may also be triggered, especially around loss, trauma or unresolved experience.
Menopause not just about endings though as there is also opportunity to reflect upon what may be beginning for us.
Family and Friends
If you are the partner, family member, friend or colleague of someone who is experiencing perimenopause or menopause, you may also need a space where you can talk about what you are going through too.
Whether you are the one experiencing the time of perimenopause or menopause yourself, or you are struggling with a relationship that you feel may be impacted by this transitional time, counselling can support you through.
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