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Perimenopause has been variously defined, but experts generally agree that it begins with irregular menstrual cycles — courtesy of declining ovarian function — and ends a year after the last menstrual period.

Perimenopause varies greatly from one woman to the next. The average duration is three to four years, although it can last just a few months or extend as long as a decade. 

Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until menopause, so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.

Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.”

What are the signs of perimenopause? You’re in your 40s, you wake up in a sweat at night, and your periods are erratic and often accompanied by heavy bleeding: Chances are, you’re going through perimenopause. 

Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.

Menopause is a natural biological process. But the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy or affect emotional health. There are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy.

When I started having hot flashes a couple of years ago, my NPD (naturopathic doctor) started me on Women’s Phase II and I have not had a single hot flash since! This natural supplement is no joke. I recently ran out and after a week and half of not taking it, the hot flashes were back. Miserable!!

Natural Ways to Reduce Symptoms of Menopause

Eat foods rich in calcium and Vit. D: Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D are linked to good bone health, so it’s important to get enough of these nutrients in your diet.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: It’s common to gain due to a combination of changing hormones, aging, lifestyle and genetics. Body weight may affect your menopause symptoms.

Eat lots of fruits and veggies: can not only help prevent symptoms of menopause, but full of fiber and can help you feel full.

Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods may trigger hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Common triggers are caffeine, alcohol, or foods high in sugar and spices.

Drink enough water: During menopause, women often experience dryness. This is likely caused by the decrease in estrogen levels. Drinking 8–12 glasses of water a day can help with these symptoms. Drinking enough water can reduce bloating that occur with hormonal changes.

Reduce refined sugars/processed foods: A diet high in refined carbs and sugars can cause sharp rises and dips in blood sugar, making you feel tired and irritable.

In fact, one study found that diets high in refined carbs may increase the risk of depression in postmenopausal women (21Trusted Source).

Don’t skip meals: Irregular eating may make certain symptoms of menopause worse, and may even hinder weight loss efforts. A year-long weight management program for postmenopausal women found that skipping meals was associated with 4.3% less weight loss (22Trusted Source).

Eat protein rich foods: Regularly eating protein throughout the day can help prevent the loss of lean muscle mass that occurs with age.

Take natural supplements: Many women take natural products and remedies to relieve their menopause symptoms.