Your body goes through a series of changes leading up to menopause. These are known collectively as the ‘perimenopause’ (‘peri’ meaning ‘around’).
The first sign that things are on the move is usually a change in the pattern of your periods. They may become irregular, longer or shorter, as well as heavier or in some cases lighter.
Other perimenopausal symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, loss of energy, sleepless nights and not being able to concentrate – at first just occasionally, but as time goes by, more and more frequently.
Most of us are unprepared for perimenopause.
It may simply bring a degree of unpredictability into your life, since you never know when your period is going to arrive. If you are less fortunate, you may experience a worsening of PMS symptoms, as well as regular mood swings and more ‘black’ days than you dare to count.
Mairin Gallagher turned to Maryon when she became perimenopausal in her early forties.
‘I’d be chugging along fairly normally, then, suddenly, I would burst into tears over nothing at all.
I went to visit my doctor and explained about my wild moods and tearfulness. He was very sympathetic, but said he only had antidepressants to offer me. The anti-depressants drained me and left me feeling completely zombified. If it hadn’t been for my husband and the boys I really think I’d have been suicidal. I can’t believe that my husband didn’t pack his bags and leave, I must have been so awful to live with.
What really changed my life was an article I read in a magazine about a woman describing her mood swings. She was describing precisely what I had been going through, and had cured her problem, not with pills, but by changing her diet!
The longer I was on the programme the better I felt. It has been five years now, and I feel wonderful. I’m lively, energetic and those horrendous and unpredictable mood swings have gone completely.’