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Navigate the perimenopause

Henrietta Norton, author and leading expert on women’s wellbeing, takes away the fear and uncertainty surrounding this transition in our lives and helps us prepare for our ‘golden years’

New series

PHOTOGRAPH: SHUTTERSTOC

THE MENOPAUSE is a natural life stage moving a woman away from her child-bearing years. Prior to full menopause is the perimenopause. Our menstrual cycle can become erratic and we can experience a change in the frequency, quality and quantity of our menstrual bleeding. We may also have PMS-type symptoms: anxiety, mood swings, vaginal dryness, change to libido and our sleep patterns, heightened emotional sensitivity, hot flushes and night sweats (all of which can be exaggerated by stress or tiredness). It is thought that 80 per cent of women experience vasomotor symptoms – ‘hot flushes’ or ‘night sweats’, when women feel rapid changes in body temperature plus palpitations. It is thought the hypothalamus is affected by a change in oestradiol and luteinising hormone (LH).

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