From perimenopause to menopause and beyond
Perimenopause usually starts in your 40s and lasts 4-6 years on average. It can be as short as one year, or as long as 10.
Often referred to as “second puberty”, Perimenopause symptoms may include mood changes (irritability, anxiety, depression or nervous tension), difficulty concentrating, memory loss, insomnia or sleep disturbances, fatigue, migraines / headaches, dizziness, weight gain, night sweats, period changes, vaginal dryness, low libido, painful intercourse, breast changes, sensitivity to alcohol and caffeine and a reduced ability to cope with stress.
These symptoms typically disappear once the ovaries have officially "retired" and you fully move into menopause.
The initial consultation
Before we meet for the first time, I'll ask you to complete some preliminary health questionnaires and provide any recent medical test results and investigations.
During our first consultation I’ll take time to determine how perimenopause is impacting your life. I’ll explore your personal and family history for risk factors that may predispose you to complications of menopausal hormonal changes. We’ll talk about your sleep, stress and emotional wellbeing, gut and liver health, diet and lifestyle.
We'll have enough time to formulate a detailed plan for the best way to begin right away. You'll leave the appointment with practical nutritional and lifestyle recommendations to get you on your way to feeling better.
Functional testing and treatment plan
If necessary, menopause testing can eliminate the guesswork by monitoring hormone changes and help predict the onset of menopause. I use a blood test that measures the levels of key hormones that change with perimenopause. This menopause blood test can also be used to monitor Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Now that you have a treatment plan, you can start implementing my recommendations. I generally allow 3 weeks for this stage, to allow adequate time to see some changes and identify any obstacles. During this time you might need to track your symptoms and menstrual cycle and record a food/lifestyle diary.
Three weeks later we will meet for your first follow-up consultation. By now you will have implemented some of the diet and lifestyle changes and started on naturopathic supplements. We will have the results from any menopause testing and can discuss your progress and ongoing goals.
We may need to adjust the prescription of supplements, set new goals for your treatment, and schedule future appointments. I will give you an idea of how long it will take to see results.
As a minimum, I recommend at least two follow up appointments over three months before we get you on a maintenance plan. Menopausal symptoms tend to come and go in waves and the goal posts are constantly changing as the hormones are erratic. Once we get stabilisation of symptoms many of my clients check in with me every six months or as needed to adjust the treatment plan.