06 Mar Less common perimenopause symptoms and alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Last year, our community champion Simphiwe Sesane wrote a blog on “Normalising Perimenopause conversations and management in Women of Colour” In this, she highlighted some of the health inequalities faced by black women and women of colour and how it impacts their relationship with accessing healthcare for perimenopause.
For International Women’s Day Simphiwe has written more on perimenopause itself, its less commonly known symptoms and alternative routes for treatment.
Quite often, health disparities are discussed from the perspective of accessibility and communities that are yet to engage. However, it is essential to recognise that these communities are not hard to reach but, in fact, easy to ignore. The impact of various factors determines how we access healthcare, including racial prejudices, resulting in ongoing health disparities.
There is a need for more education surrounding perimenopause, its symptoms and alternatives to treatment.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the period before menopause when an individual’s body goes through natural changes. For example, changes in periods, hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, brain fog and many more. For the most part, treatment for perimenopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
But what are the alternative routes to access and understand symptoms and treatment for perimenopause, particularly for communities experiencing racial prejudice?
Alternative symptoms of Perimenopause
There are several different symptoms of perimenopause, and some of the less commonly spoken about ones include:
– Dry eyes
– Mouth changes, including dry mouth, metallic taste or loss of taste
– Gum changes, including bleeding gums
– Painful sex
– Hair loss
– Brittle nails
– Digestive problems
– Urinary problems, including incontinence, frequency, urgency or stinging
Alternative treatments of Perimenopause
Not all individuals experiencing perimenopausal symptoms use HRT. Some individuals may choose alternative management like:
– Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
– Dietary changes
– Exercise or movement
– Some vitamins and minerals are often used to alleviate perimenopausal symptoms, although there is limited scientific evidence of their efficacy.
Remember, when experiencing any health issues always seek advice from a medically trained professional about alternative therapies.
British Menopause Society (2020) British Menopause Society Fact Sheet. Available from: BMS-NationalSurvey-SEPT2020-B.pdf (thebms.org.uk) Accessed 8th February 2023.
Rock my Menopause (2023) What is perimenopause? Available from: Perimenopause – Rock My Menopause Accessed 8th February 2023.
The Menopause Charity (2023) Menopause: Support and Advice. Available from: Menopause Support and Advice from The Menopause Charity Accessed 8th February 2023.