Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be taking a look at why PMS can worsen in the peri-menopause. This is a really common question that I get asked regularly. So, what I thought I'd do today is look at why this can happen and what you can do to help yourself. And also, answer another really common question: 'Can you get PMS symptoms even if you're no longer getting periods?'
Is PMS worse during perimenopause?
Many women find that during peri-menopause and as they approach menopause, that their hormones can fluctuate wildly from month to month, causing them to experience worsening PMS symptoms and even new ones in the days approaching their normal period. Periods can also last for longer and become heavier at this time.
Why can PMS be worse during peri-menopause?
As you approach menopause, your hormones don't fall nicely, slowly, and gently, which would be lovely for absolutely everybody. Instead, they can dip and rise, fluctuating greatly, which can cause the symptoms before and during your period to change each month and sometimes feel worse than usual.
The two main hormones to be affected are your oestrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones can both plummet very, very quickly as you get closer to a period. Sometimes, oestrogen can end up going a lot higher mid-month and it's just your body's way of trying to hang on to the hormones, especially oestrogen. Therefore, they can fluctuate wildly, month to month.
So, what can happen is that for some months, you may find that periods start to get a lot heavier. They tend to get closer together. They may get longer instead of being maybe three to five days, they might end up being seven days.
Other months, you might find that your period is late. It's very light and it only goes on for a couple of days. For a lot of women, this kind of scenario can go on for several years, so you may find that your PMS symptoms can go all over the place for some time.
You can also experience new PMS symptoms. So, as well as normal PMS symptoms such as irritability bloating and food cravings getting worse, you may find as you start going towards menopause that you start to experience new ones such as breast tenderness. You may get sudden weight gain just before a period or you might find that you're getting a lot more water retention. So, you need to look out for these signs as well.
Can you have PMS symptoms but no period?
I am also often asked if you can still get PMS once your periods have stopped? If you're in a phase where your periods are stopping for two to three months, maybe even six months, and then they're coming back for a few months, then yes it is possible for you to still experience PMS symptoms, without a period.
All that's happening here is there is still a monthly cycle happening. So your hormones are still in their up and down mode, but they're just not high enough to trigger a bleed, so you will get all the usual PMS symptoms at the same time as you would get a period, but you just find that you don't get a period.
This is common during peri-menopause, however, some women can still get this once they are in menopause. One thing to note here, once your periods have been stopped for a year or two, if you're still getting quite severe PMS symptoms, then just double-check with your doctor to make sure that there isn't anything else going on such as fibroids.
What can help ease your PMS symptoms during peri-menopause
There are lots of simple things you can do to help balance your hormones and ease PMS symptoms during peri-menopause. Here are a few things I recommend:
A helpful herb or supplement
If your periods are still reasonably regular, or they're tending to get closer together, or they're tending to get heavier and you're getting symptoms such as cramps, breast tenderness, bloating, and irritability, then as long as you're not on any hormonal contraceptive, you could try the herb Agnus castus.
A.Vogel Agnus castus for the relief of premenstrual symptoms
- For symptoms of PMS, including menstrual cramp, breast tenderness, bloating, irritability & mood swings
- Tincture of Agnus castus berries or fruit
- Each dose provides 500mg of extract equivalent to 50mg Agnus castus dried berries
- Not suitable alongside hormonal contraceptives
"Very helpful for pre-menstrual symptoms"
Read more customer reviews
If you are finding that your periods are getting a bit further apart, they're starting to miss, or they're starting to be very light or very short, then you can try our Menopause Support tablets which contain soy isoflavones and magnesium, for support through all stages of menopause and to help with symptoms that may be occurring.
Help balance your hormones naturally
The other thing to do is just to try and balance your hormones naturally because the more balanced they are, then the less likely you are of getting symptoms.
My blog 'How to help balance your hormones naturally in peri-menopause' explains this in more detail, including adding oestrogen-rich foods to your diet and why it's important to manage your stress because stress can affect the hormones quite dramatically and also, very, very quickly.
To help balance your hormones it is also important to sleep well, so you will need to take steps to sort out any menopausal sleep problems. Make sure you're getting regular exercise and drinking loads of water. And the other really important thing is that your friendly bacteria in your digestive tract can play a big part in hormonal balance as well. And this is something that often gets overlooked.
So, I hope you found this one helpful. If any of you have any questions, then please do send them in.
Key points to take away from this blog:
- During peri-menopause your levels of oestrogen and progesterone can start to fluctuate vastly from month to month, which can cause your PMS symptoms before and during your period to become worse or even new symptoms developing
- It is also possible to experience PMS symptoms without a period, especially during peri-menopause and menopause as your body can still going through a monthly cycle, but your hormones may not be high enough to trigger a bleed.
- If you are not on a hormonal contraceptive, then the herb Agnus castus can help if your periods are still reasonably regular, or if you are starting to miss them or they get lighter and farther apart, then you can try a soy isoflavones supplement.
Until next week, take care.