Quiz: Are You In Perimenopause?

The classic signs of perimenopause are so similar to PMS that sometimes, it’s hard to tell when one ends and the other begins. Wondering whether you’re starting the transition to menopause? Take this quiz and find out!

1.) It’s midnight. You’re:

a. Sound asleep.
b. Playing Candy Crush.
c. Getting busy with your partner.

2.) You’ve asked your child three times to turn off the TV and come to dinner. Still no answer. You:

a. Hit the power button on the remote control and calmly show him to his seat.
b. Put him in time out, but not before you give him an earful.
c. Ask one final time then threaten to withhold dessert.

3.) You’re getting dressed in the morning. You choose:

a. Your favorite pair of skinny jeans and a cute fitted top.
b. The baggiest pair of sweats you own—you’ve been so bloated lately.
c. Your tried-and-true workout leggings.

4. It’s that time of the month again. You’re expecting:

a. Business as usual. Your period runs like clockwork.
b. Who knows? Your period has been so erratic lately.
c. The same as last month, though you may have a slight change in cramps or mood swings.

5. It’s time to leave for work. Your keys are:

a. Exactly where you left them last night.
b. Missing (again!).
c. Somewhere at the bottom of your bag.

Mostly a’s or c’s: If you’ve been enjoying fairly predictable menstrual cycles, weight gain and sleep patterns, chances are you haven’t entered into perimenopause. But consult your doctor if you’re unsure. He or she will make that judgment that based on your symptoms, age, history of periods and pelvic exam.

Mostly b’s: Don’t feel like yourself lately? You may be in perimenopause, which is marked by such symptoms as irregular periods, mood swings, forgetfulness, bloating and insomnia. While some women prefer to ride out the symptoms, others find relief through supplements like Amberen. Consult your doctor to see what course of action is best for you.


9 Most Common Symptoms of Menopause

The truth? Menopause can make you feel like anything but your normal self, but ironically, that’s perfectly normal. (Hey, you didn’t always instantaneously burst into sweat or routinely blank on where you left your car keys.) As alien as these symptoms may feel, rest assured they’re due to a natural decline in the production of the female sex hormone estrogen. Estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle and affects the reproductive system, body temperature, urinary tract, heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and brain. Translation: Women can experience symptoms of menopause over their entire body. Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Hot flashes/night sweats.

The most common menopause symptom, hot flashes affect at least 75 percent of women. These instantaneous sweat sessions can occur infrequently or, in severe cases, up to 50 times a day, and last anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes each. Afterward, women sometimes experience exhaustion, chills and tightness in the skin, and even nervousness in anticipation of another hot flash episode.

According to an eight-year observational study conducted by The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) and published in 2015 in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine (JAMA), hot flashes and night sweats can last up to 11.8 years for some women. The median total hot flashes and night sweats duration was 7.4 years among 3,302 women enrolled at seven U.S. sites Ethnicity, younger age, greater perceived stress and symptom sensitivity, lower educational level, higher depressive symptoms and anxiety at first report of symptoms play a major role why some women experience hot flashes for longer periods of time. For more info on this study, Click here.

2. Sleeplessness.

Have trouble getting a full eight hours in a night? You’re not alone. During the course of perimenopause through menopause, hormone levels of sleep-promoting estrogen and progesterone start to fluctuate erratically, which may disturb sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation 59% of perimenopausal women experience difficulty sleeping at least a few nights each week. And the interrupted sleep could stretch on for years. Because menopausal women not only sleep fewer hours—hours that are less restful, often due to night sweats — over time they may suffer from fatigue, difficulty concentrating, moodiness and other problems that impact their life.

3. Menopausal weight gain.

Many women experience weight gain during menopause.  Because of the hormonal imbalance, a women’s body starts working against her by accumulating extra fat, especially around the waist area, as it needs fat cells to produce estrogen. That’s why while nutrition and exercise are critical to weight loss, balancing the hormones is vital to success in maintaining a healthy weight during menopause.

4. Irritability and mood swings.

Crankier than normal? Hormonal fluctuations may be to blame. Fluctuating estrogen levels have a direct effect on the brain’s regulation of emotions and can increase the risk of experiencing irritability during menopause. Some women may have more or less pronounced irritability. This has to do with one’s personality, levels of anxiety, and individual’s ability to withstand stress. You may also notice you’re experiencing more mood swings that can run the gamut from sadness to crying. Like irritability, these rollercoasters of emotions are also quite common during menopause, as the body struggles to adjust to fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone.

5. Stress and anxiety.

Stress and menopause often go hand in hand, thanks in large part to the unpleasant physical symptoms and one’s psychological state. In fact, hot flashes and night sweats are tightly linked with stress and anxiety. The higher your stress levels, the more severe are your hot flashes. The physical impact of stress can lead to additional symptoms, such as lack of energy and difficulty concentrating.

6. Low sex drive.

At any given moment, a menopausal woman is dealing with free falling hormones, hot flashes, exhaustion, weight gain, irritability, vaginal dryness, inability to get arouse and weight gain. Considering your hormones are on the decline, and your decrease in estrogen is causing vaginal dryness and thinning or inflaming your vaginal walls, is it any wonder if sex is the last thing on your mind?

7. Fatigue and low energy.

A slowdown in estrogen and progesterone production is partially responsible for your flagging energy. But as we get older, powerful energy-producing cell structure called the mitochondria are damaged by aggressive particles that are formed during the course of normal reactions. In order to maintain optimal energy level, you must help mitochondria function optimally. This is where Amberen can help.

8. Headaches.

Studies have shown that headaches tend to be more frequent in women during perimenopause and menopause. The changes in the hormonal profile, such as declining estrogen levels, often trigger menopause headaches.

9. Difficulty concentrating.

Do you feel like you’ve been more forgetful lately or are having trouble concentrating? A lot of women notice cognitive changes during menopause that leave them feeling “fuzzy,” or a little (or a lot) less sharp than they used to be. The higher the estrogen levels, the greater your ability to focus. Since the hormones dip during menopause, so then does concentration. But other factors also can contribute to your feeling disoriented, less productive or anxious, including sleeplessness, mood swings and fatigue.

For more information about managing the symptoms of menopause, speak to an Amberen NurseAid expert by calling (800) 211-8021 Monday – Friday 9 a.m.– 7 p.m. EST.


Common Symptoms of Perimenopause

Marcy Letourneau, LPN, of Amberen NurseAid, recently received a call from a new Amberen customer. For the past several months, the 47-year-old had been experiencing irregular periods, an increase in anxiety, intense mood swings and difficulty sleeping at night. She also found herself quickly losing her temper with her 5-year-old. Confused, she turned to her older sister, who suggested she might be in perimenopause.

Turns out, sister knew best. Perimenopause may be your body’s natural progression to its next stage, menopause, but that doesn’t mean its beginning is always easy to pinpoint. As the ovaries slow down estrogen production, you may experience symptoms that look an awful lot like those you endure every month, which makes the transition that much more difficult to detect. “Sometimes it’s hard to separate a severe case of PMS and perimenopause,” agrees Amberen Customer Care Supervisor Kristin Dutton. While every woman experiences this stage differently, here are some signs you may be entering into perimenopause:

  • Sudden irregular periods, including a change in menstrual flow and duration
  • Increase in mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased bloating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Exhaustion
  • Increase in headaches
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness

Perimenopausal symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person, and chances are, you’ll experience them differently than your mother or sister or best friend. That said, there are ways you can help ease your symptoms. Taking Amberen, for example, made all the difference for Latourneau’s customer. “She told me, ‘Now I take everything in stride.’ It really helped her mood, which helped everything else,’” Latourneau says.

To help you determine if Amberen is right for you, or to address any questions or concerns you may have, consult an Amberen Nurse by calling (800) 211-8021 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST. If you have any serious health conditions, please talk to your doctor prior to taking Amberen.


6 Questions Everyone Asks About Menopause

From painful intercourse to burning-hot nights, we asked the experts for answers to your most pressing questions about menopause.

1. My mom had hot flashes well into her 70s. Should I expect the same?

Not necessarily, says Holly DuBrey, RN, of Amberen NurseAid. “Women want to know how long menopause is going to last,” she says. “The truth is, no one can say for sure. Everybody is different. Menopause is like a snowflake—everyone has a different one. The symptoms your mom had may be nothing the ones you experience. Not everyone has hot flashes, a decrease in libido or is suddenly getting headaches. Because menopause is caused by fluctuation in hormones, I recommend Amberen, as it helps manage multiple menopausal symptoms by naturally restoring hormonal balance.”

2. Any suggestions how to tactfully explain menopause to friends and co-workers? I’m sure a few of them have already picked up on my hot flashes.

You can feel the beads of sweat coursing down your back, but chances are the people around you have no idea you’re immersed in a personal sauna. But if you’re feeling embarrassed by the perspiration, communication is your best friend. Keep the conversation casual, and stick to the facts you’re comfortable sharing, suggests Kristin Dutton, Amberen Customer Care Supervisor. “I know this is a personal and private matter, but the last thing you should be embarrassed to talk about is menopause.”

In fact, once you begin talking about it, you may be surprised how your coworkers start opening up. Encourage other women to embrace the change and to celebrate menopause. If your female coworkers are not in menopause yet, they probably know somebody who is. And who knows? You may even pick new tricks on how to handle your hot flashes by talking about it.

3. Are there any hot flash triggers I should be aware of?

To decrease your odds of an instant sweat session, steer clear of stress (both physical and mental), caffeine and alcohol, particularly wine. And when possible, try to avoid extreme changes in temperature. “If you work in an air conditioned building and go outside to get lunch and it’s 85 degrees, you may experience a hot flash,” Dutton says.

4. How can I get comfortable at night without freezing the rest of my family?

When you’re battling night sweats and hot flashes, regulating your body temperature becomes tops on your nightly to-do list. For starters, dress in layers that can be peeled off when the heat wave strikes, and stick with PJs made of breathable fabric, like cotton. Running the air conditioner and ceiling fan in the bedroom can also help, so long as your partner is on board with the chillier temps. If yours complains, you may need to sleep in a separate room. Don’t want to snooze solo? Try keeping one area, like a guest room, cooler than the rest of the house, and go there throughout the night when you need to chill out.

5. Any tips on getting a good night’s sleep?

Like your pre-menopausal life, relaxation is key to settling into a peaceful slumber. “As women, we’re so rushed, and all of a sudden, at night, we’re expected to turn our mind off,” Dutton says. To help unwind, she recommends spending an hour or so of downtime before trying to hit the hay. Spend that time with your partner, take a warm bath or read a book—whatever will help you settle down. Caveat: If you like your comforting glass of wine in the evening, never drink it near bedtime, as it can increase wakefulness long into the night.

6. My sex life has taken a hit. Help!

For starters, go easy on yourself, says DuBrey. Considering all the physical and emotional changes taking place in your body, you’re dealing with a lot, and it’s no wonder your libido is lower than normal. “Take a moment to realize that, and give yourself a chance to just relax and enjoy time with your partner,” she advises. “I always recommend people find a way to destress themselves, as it lowers menopause symptoms and helps them relax for sex.” Try a warm bath before sex as a pregame activity, as well as allowing more time to set the mood with candlelight, romantic movies, sexy lingerie, fantasy or massage. A personal lubricant can also be used, if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause.

The bottom line is, if you value your sex life, you may have to try more things and work harder to maintain it. Women who continue to have regular sex during menopause transition have fewer problems than those who cut back or stop. Part of the reason is physiological. The more sex you have, the more you encourage blood flow to the genital region, which helps to keep the tissues healthier.

If you have more questions about menopause (and you probably do), speak to an Amberen NurseAid expert by calling (800) 211-8021 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST.


5 Menopause Myths – Busted!

We help you separate fact from fiction.

Myth: Menopause occurs all at once.

Just like adolescence, menopause comes on gradually. Perimenopause (the transition period preceding menopause) begins most often between the ages of 45 and 55 and takes years to complete. Menopause officially starts after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle, at which time a woman is no longer fertile.

Myth: You’ll have the same menopause experience as your mother.

Menopause is like a snowflake, explains Amberen NurseAid’s Holly DuBrey, RN. Everyone’s experience with it is different. “I’ve had mothers and daughters call up. After two or three years of menopause, the mother is almost completely done, while the daughter has been dealing with it for 15 years,” she says. “You are an individual, and what happens to your next door neighbor or your mother and sister may not happen to you.”

Myth: My doctor tested my hormone levels, and mine were higher than the average person’s. Should I be worried?

Remember that the “normal” ranges are simply an average, DuBrey points out. While most people will fall in that range, not everyone will. Just like your weight, height, cholesterol and heart rate are individual, so too are your hormone levels. Yours may run higher or lower than the average—and that’s okay. More important is to focus on your baseline and balance out your hormones accordingly.

Myth: You just have to deal with your menopause symptoms.

In her role as Amberen Customer Care Supervisor, Kristin Dutton routinely talks to people who believe that menopause symptoms are to be endured. Not so, she says. “You don’t have to suck it up and deal with it,” Dutton explains. “Nowadays, there are so many options available to women, from all kinds of exercise activities to a variety of supplement choices, and they should take advantage of it. And if Amberen isn’t the right fit, there’s something out there that may help alleviate the symptoms. You can also work with your doctor or practitioner to get the relief you are comfortable with.”

Myth: There’s no upside to menopause.

Yes, the symptoms can be challenging—hello, mood swings!—but there are certainly reasons to celebrate menopause. The obvious one? No more periods! This means having sex without the possibility of getting pregnant and wearing white pants and slipping into a swimsuit without worry any time of the month.

Another plus: You’re prepared for the changes that lay ahead of you, and you’re willing and able to talk about them. In fact, because we’re more connected than ever, it’s never been easier to find support among other women. “You’re dealing with all these crazy symptoms that you’ve never experienced before, and when it starts happening, it’s confusing,” says DuBrey.

“The greatest thing that’s happening is women are getting together and talking. Menopause brings women together because everyone is going through the change, and no one knows what’s going on. Even on our Facebook page, we see women commenting to other women even though they don’t know each other.”

“Women in the menopausal age group are more prepared, they know it’s coming,” agrees Dutton. “Some embrace it, like, This is my change, this is my time, I’m going to rock this menopause. They talk about it with their coworkers and friends, and build a really great support system to help them through it.”

Amberen encourages women to be meno-positive by looking at menopause from a different perspective – as a period of your life that brings maturity, wisdom, and finally lots of time for yourself!  You are in menopause, and you know what you want, you are wise and mature, you are taking action and continuing your journey to experiencing the better you.

If you have any questions about menopause or Amberen, speak to an Amberen NurseAid expert by calling (800) 211-8021 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST.