Over 40 and hot: Dealing with symptoms of perimenopause

While symptoms of perimenopause are common, one doctor says it doesn't mean you have to live with it.

Baylor College of Medicine ob-gyn and menopause specialist at the Menopause Clinic at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, Nina Ali, said the most frequent complaint from patients is about hot flashes.

Others unbearable symptoms can include insomnia, depression, anxiety and weight gain. Ali said these tend to be more extreme than what women feel during their cycle.

“They’re normal and natural and it doesn't mean that anybody is unhealthy,” Ali said.

For mild symptoms

She recommends before you get to the point of taking prescriptions, if symptoms are mild, women can try lifestyle changes to keep perimenopause symptoms in check.
“Looking at your habits, making sure you're not smoking, making sure you have a good diet, all of that is really important,” Ali said.
Diet and exercise can ease perimenopause symptoms like insomnia. Plus, she said, herbal supplements can also help if your symptoms are mild.
“Soy supplements, black cohosh, some of these kind of herbal supplements, they may have various vitamins and things like that,” she said. “But often times women need something beyond that that's prescription if it's affecting their quality of life.”

Acne and hair loss

Unfortunately, she said there are not many hormone prescriptions specifically for symptoms of acne or hair loss, but there are things you can try.
“I would recommend a good biotin supplement and then often the dermatologist will have some other therapies based on exactly what the pattern is,” she said.

Hot flashes

For the most common and often the worst symptom, hot flashes and night sweats, Ali said dropping the temp and using cooling pillows may help.
“If those aren't effective, then hormone therapy is very effective for managing symptoms,” she said.