Spilled Secret: The Truth about Perimenopause

P.S. It affects everyone—celebrities too. And here’s how you can cope.

Perimenopause has been a “dirty little secret” whispered among women of a certain age, but rarely uttered among colleagues, friends, or even family. That’s right, your mother knew and never told you that this was going to happen. To be fair, her mother didn’t tell her either.

The Secret is Out

In an era when it is brave to bare your soul with the unsuspecting public on social media, like many other once taboo conversations, vaginal dryness, low libido, and all the other “fun” that comes with perimenopause is on the table.

In fact, many celebrities aren’t shying away from the reality that every woman will face. Naomi Watts told Self magazine that she felt so alone when she hit perimenopause at the very young age of 36. Like many women, she went straight to her mother with questions, only to discover that her mother had also experienced perimenopause early, she told the magazine, “I said to [my mother] ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ And she said, ‘Well, these are the conversations I didn’t have with my mother because she never had them with hers.’” It was this revelation that made Watts, now 54, decide to speak out, “It made me realize, wow, this is a secret that has been kept generation upon generation, and somehow everyone’s signed this code of silence, yet everyone’s going there at some point.”

What is Perimenopause?

Women and menopause have been the brunt of many jokes across the last several decades, but the truth is that menopause isn’t really the reason women are feeling out of sorts or enduring “the change” as it was once called.

Menopause is but one day in time. When a woman has complete 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle, she has experienced menopause. Perimenopause, however, is the phase leading up to menopause and is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles and a host of symptoms that are often the result of hormonal fluctuation. Perimenopause can last 2 to 10 years—with some women enduring symptoms for nearly two decades.

Symptoms of perimenopause can include:

Courtney Cox took to Instagram in 2022, cleverly matching frame by frame a tampon commercial she did in the ‘80s with a description of her modern-day experience with perimenopause. She describes symptoms, such as dry skin and bald patches as “ruining her life.” Her post hovered near reaching 1 million like and 15,000 comments.

Solutions to Perimenopause

Courtney Cox, Naomi Watts and women everywhere don’t have to suffer—not in silence, not alone, and certainly not with symptoms—and neither do you.

Gabrielle Union also posted about her experience with menopause, talking about all she did to take back control of her fluctuating hormones and the accompanying discomforts. In her post, she talked about the importance of changing her diet and maintaining her exercise routine. In a discussion of Union’s Instagram post, several practitioners chimed in on the importance of limiting gluten, alcohol, and caffeine to help avoid some of the intestinal discomforts of perimenopause.

A healthy gut is a foundational step to warding off symptoms of menopause, but more is often required to correct the imbalances that occur with perimenopause. Terri DeNeui, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, is the owner and founder of EVEXIAS Medical Centers in Texas, she is also the creator of the EvexiPEL and Chief Medical Officer of EVEXIAS Health Solutions. The organizations she manages and developed specialize in integrative therapies that support hormone optimization.

Dr. DeNeui says, “At the root of many chronic diseases and poor health are imbalanced hormones, including perimenopause. Hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, brain fog, vaginal dryness—all these debilitating symptoms are relieved when your hormones are optimized.”

When hormones are optimized, not only are symptoms relieved, but it becomes easier to tackle other important factors of health and hormone balance. Hormone optimization supports more energy, better sleep, enhanced focus, and cognition, as well as mood stability. This balance is best maintained with lifestyle changes and a healthy gut—much like Gabrielle Union discussed in her social posts.

If you feel like you are out of control of your body and your mind because of perimenopause—don’t wait for things to get worse. Hormone imbalance and perimenopause are very real and can impact women, their families, jobs, relationship, and health. Don’t wait to get help to reclaim yourself.

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