Women of a certain age tend to worry about how menopause will disrupt their lives but actually its forerunner perimenopause can be even trickier to navigate.

Perimenopause is best described as the hormonal havoc leading up to your final period. It can start anytime from around the age of 35 as your progesterone levels start to drop and your oestrogen levels follow suit.

The impact on you can include mood swings, more frequent periods and an expanding waistline. Not only that but your usual coping methods like wine, chocolate and the occasional gym class don’t seem to perk you up as much as they used to.

How do you know you’re experiencing perimenopause? These are just a few of the clues:

  • Emotional instability – you burst into tears at work because the photocopier jammed.
  • You have to move that top trouser button (again) to make room for those extra inches around your middle.
  • Your usual exercise routine no longer works as a weight management tool.
  • You don’t sleep as well as you used to and experience night sweats. Sometimes so bad you need to get up and change your nightwear or the bed sheets.
  • Your periods arrive when least expected and range from being really heavy to occasional spotting.
  • You open the cupboard door only to realize you have no idea what you’re looking for.
  • You prefer wine, chocolate, Strictly Come Dancing or frankly anything over sex.
  • You’re adamant that cutting out sugar, alcohol and caffeine to help correct your hormone imbalance is just not worth the effort and probably won’t work for you anyway.

If you’re shouting “that’s me, me, me!!!” to at least three of the clues above, welcome to perimenopause my friend.

It may seem like you’re suddenly losing the plot but actually these changes have been sneaking up on you for years. Perimenopause is similar to the hormone imbalance and havoc that you experienced to and through puberty except this time you’re heading towards menopause.

But it’s not all bad news.

Perimenopause and menopause are natural occurrences and one of the perfectly natural side effects is that you just start to care less about what other people think.

One of things that makes puberty so difficult is that you’re so desperate to fit in and be liked. By your mid forties your nosediving progesterone and oestrogen levels mean you care much less about what others think of you. And better still once you’re through perimenopause and menopause your hormones levels even out and the calm and carefreeness of pre puberty returns.

If you’re still riding the maelstrom of hormone havoc pop back next week and I’ll tell you exactly what you can do to fine tune your hormones so that you can manage your moods, your body temperature and your waistline.