I remember the uncertain winter of my entrance into perimenopause so well. It began in my late 40s, with hot flashes
that came on like heat waves every half hour. In the dead of winter, I found myself flinging open windows to let in
the freezing air; I soon found out that having hot flashes in winter was nothing like having them in summer, when the added heat and humidity made them
feel more like mini-meltdowns. Perimenopause is a hormonally challenged transition during which the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen; it lasts up until menopause, when the ovaries stop releasing eggs altogether. For some, perimenopause spans just a few months, but for others, it can last as long as 10 years. Regardless of its length of time, no one likes being plagued by hot flashes, night sweats, or other common symptoms such as foggy thinking, fatigue, and mood swings.
During this transition, it’s important to realize that the extent to which we suffer from persistent symptoms has much do with the extent to which our hormones are out of balance.
To help you picture that in your mind, imagine several synchronized swimmers all pointing their toes in perfect petal formation at the exact moment. Suddenly, one swims off in a different direction (let’s call her progesterone), another dives to the bottom of the pool (call her testosterone), and a few more splash up and down (diurnal cortisols) while the last of the swimmers (call her estrogen) starts making waves that disrupt the whole routine.