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Are you having hot flashes, vaginal dryness or mood swings? These can all be a part of perimenopause, the period of time before menopause.
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"Are you feeling overwhelmed? Snapping more quickly at your kids? Do you find yourself crying over little things? Are you tired at the beginning of your day after a night spent tossing and turning, or waking in a sweat? Perhaps you"re having trouble losing weight, something that"s never happened to you before. Maybe you feel like you have horrible PMS that never ends. You might be having hot flashes or vaginal dryness. These can all be a part of perimenopause.

What is Perimenopause?
Officially, the definition is the period of life for a woman from around 35 years of age until they stop menstruating (Menopause). That covers a lot of ground.

Perimenopause is simply a time of change. It requires shifting, adapting, finding a new place of balance. Your body is getting ready to wind down the process of reproduction so it can divert its energies to different endeavors. As it does this, your hormone levels will often be all over the place. The good news is eventually, you will find a renewed sense of energy and mental focus. But in the meantime, you may feel crappy, exhausted and out of sorts.

Symptoms of perimenopause can show up even for women in their 20s if they are under a lot of stress finishing law school, starting a demanding career, working 2-3 jobs to support their family, etc. But for most women it happens later, sometime in the 30s or 40s. At anytime, it is a sign of imbalance. We all go through this, but how you prepare for it or respond to the changes determines how you"re going to feel.

Chinese Medicine and perimenopause
Chinese medicine has been long been used to help navigate these years of change. Acupuncture and herbs can even out hormonal swings. Night sweats and hot flashes, insomnia, low libido, weight gain, acne, fatigue, brain fog, memory challenges and headaches are some of the symptoms that respond to treatment. Bad PMS; painful, heavy or irregular periods are all signs your hormones are out of balance. Your periods shouldn"t be draining. Excessive menstruation should always be checked out by your gynecologist, since it can be a result of some types of cancer. But heavy bleeding from hormonal imbalance or fibroids often responds well to Chinese medicine and can help you avoid surgery. Acupuncture adjusts hormone levels by working through the nervous system, helping your body self-regulate.

Herbs can keep your body cooler. Some women find they can have a glass of wine a few times a week with no hot flashes as long as they take their herbal formula regularly. Who doesn"t want to continue their lifestyle as much as they can? Cutting out all alcohol may not be high on your list. In that case adding in support with acupuncture and herbs may be the way to go.

Typically, a weekly acupuncture treatment to get things calmed down is a good beginning. Women usually begin to see benefits within 3 to 4 weeks. Treatments are spaced out as you begin to feel better. Eventually, acupuncture once every month or two may be all that is needed to keep you centered and comfortable."

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