Navigating Sexual Health and Desire During Perimenopause

Navigating Sexual Health and Desire During Perimenopause

Abstract: Sexual health changes as we age and how women feel about that may vary, but every woman deserves to know what’s happening in her body. 

Changes in sexual health and desire are a common experience for women navigating perimenopause

But what exactly do those changes look like and how can they affect you, your body and your relationships? 

It’s not unusual for sexual interest to wane, and if that resonates with you, know you aren’t alone. For some women a decrease in sex drive is okay and for others a drop in their libido can be disconcerting. Additionally, some women experience physical changes such as increased vaginal dryness, which can not only be uncomfortable, but can also make intercourse painful.In the past, information on women’s health, especially regarding sexual health and perimenopause wasn’t always easy to come by. Revivele is changing that.

This article is intended to empower women to understand what is happening inside their bodies as they age. Because we believe in autonomy – it’s your body, your choice – always! 

Ready to explore more about sexual health changes during perimenopause? Read on for helpful insights! 

In this article you’ll learn: 

  1. Changes to sexual desire during perimenopause
  2. Other reasons for decreased sexual desire
  3. Increased sexual satisfaction post-menopause
  4. Women’s overall health and wellness 

Embracing diversity in sexual desire: Every woman’s experience is unique and valid

In the varied tapestry of women’s sexual experiences, it’s important to underscore that every woman’s journey is unique. Women exist on a wide spectrum of sexual desires and drives, each with its own intricacies and challenges.

There are many women who wholeheartedly enjoy sex, and have all their lives. So, when sudden changes such as experiencing pain during sex, or a decrease in sexual interest occur, it can lead to feelings of stress, frustration and confusion.

A major shift in sexual dynamics can also sometimes even evoke a sense of identity loss as women try to reconcile these new experiences with their understanding of themselves and their sexuality. For those who have always enjoyed their sexuality, they may be looking for solutions to restore their previous levels of sexual interest. 

On the other hand, there are women who have comfortably lived life with a naturally low level of sexual desire, finding contentment in their experiences of sexuality. Others, however, have struggled with the complexities of a persistent low libido. In some cases, a chronic lack of sexual desire is identified as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, a condition characterized by a reduced interest in sexual activities. 

To be clear: decreased sexual desire is not a disorder – unless the absence of sexual desire is sudden, distressing, and disruptive to your sense of self and your happiness in your daily life. In that case, you may be interested in exploring various treatment options for hypoactive sexual desire disorder

In the meantime, there are ways to have healthy, pleasurable sex post-menopause – and we talk about those below. 

Ultimately, it’s critical to know that your worth and desirability are not defined by external factors, or where you “think” you should be on a sexual spectrum. You deserve self-love and acceptance and to claim your own narrative of desire and pleasure. 

Changes to sexual desire during perimenopause 

During perimenopause (the precursor to menopause), estrogen levels begin decreasing at a steady rate, usually beginning between the ages of 30 and 40. 

The hormone estrogen is responsible for maintaining body temperature, keeping menstrual cycles regular, balancing hormones, controlling weight and hair growth, and more. 

The steady decrease of estrogen production within the body contributes to much of the discomfort women experience during the perimenopausal years. Some of the challenges associated with lower estrogen levels during perimenopause include weight gain, hair loss and sleep disturbances. These can be frustrating and may impact a woman’s overall well-being and quality of life.

Reduced estrogen levels not only affect our physical appearance and emotional well-being, but also have a profound impact on sexual desire, performance and pleasure. 

Changes to sexual function in the body during perimenopause 

Perimenopause can bring about noticeable changes in sexual desire, performance and pleasure due to fluctuating hormone levels. Women might experience a decrease in libido, changes in sexual response, or find that intimacy feels different than before. 

For instance, during perimenopause, women commonly experience symptoms such as

  • Vaginal dryness (decreased natural lubrication during sex)
  • Lack of interest in sexual activity 
  • Difficulty achieving an orgasm
Up to 45% of women who are postmenopausal describe sex as painful due to biological changes that occurred during perimenopause.

Vaginal dryness can also come with a tightening of the vaginal opening, resulting in burning and itching during intercourse, known as vaginal atrophy.

A combination of vaginal tightness and dryness can cause mild to severe pain during intercourse, and even lead to tearing or bleeding of the vagina during intercourse.

There are some other causes of pain during sex that are not related to menopause, such as vulvodynia (which is chronic pain of the vulva), and so pain during sex should always be discussed with a healthcare professional. 

When women experience any pain or discomfort during sex, even just once, it can lead to heightened stress and tension in anticipation of pain during future attempts to have sex. 

Stress and tension are the kryptonite of pleasure. Women who are afraid to have sex will likely experience more tension, more tightening of the body, and therefore more pain during sex – creating a cycle of pain and negative associations with sex. 

It’s important to be aware that there are options to manage symptoms like vaginal dryness with both short term solutions like using natural lubricants, or long-term solutions such as hormone replacement therapy (scroll down for even more strategies below). 

Perimenopausal symptoms that can also contribute to decreased sexual desire

During perimenopause, women experience changes to their appearance and emotional health, both of which can have an impact on their self-confidence and desire to be touched sexually. 

For instance, women going through perimenopause may experience: 

  • Hair growth on the upper lip
  • Hair thinning on the top of their heads
  • Increased weight around the middle of their bodies 
  • Age spots 
  • Changing hair color 
  • Hot flashes and excess perspiration 
  • Incontinence or unexpected leakages 
  • Low mood caused by decreased estrogen levels (low mood tends to lead to lower sexual desire)

It’s essential to acknowledge that although numerous changes during perimenopause stem from natural hormonal shifts, there are practical strategies to manage and even lessen their impacts.

Women have at their disposal a variety of methods to alleviate many perimenopausal symptoms, particularly those affecting sleep, diet and mood (more on this below). 

Other reasons for decreased sexual desire

Changing bodies and decreased hormone levels are not the only cause of sexual disinterest as we age. 

Health concerns, medications and substances that affect desire

Health conditions such as thyroid conditions, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can also decrease sexual desire. 

Substances and medications that can have an impact on sexual desire include:

  • Antidepressant medications 
  • Medications for high blood pressure 
  • Medications for seizure disorders 
  • Drugs or alcohol 
  • Contraceptive drugs (during the years preceding menopause)

Sexual desire and stress

Women often experience higher levels of stress during the perimenopause years than any other time in their lives. 

There are plenty of reasons women may not be interested in having sex that have nothing to do with symptoms of menopause, and everything to do with being overwhelmed by their busy lives. 

For instance, sexual interest may be impacted by:

  • Chronic sleep deprivation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • The stress of raising a family 
  • Work and work-related burnout 
  • Being overwhelmed during child rearing years 

For some women, bedtime may be literally the only time they have to themselves.

Stress impacts sexual desire through a combination of physical and psychological responses. Physically, stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can dampen sexual arousal by diverting blood flow and energy away from the reproductive organs and towards muscles and other systems essential for immediate response. In a nutshell, the body and mind’s response to stress can temporarily prioritize immediate survival and wellbeing over sexual desire. 

Saying no to sex with your partner

If you’re not interested in having sex, then you don’t need to have sex. End of story. Except – many women feel pressured by society and their partners to say yes even when they don’t want to. 

If your partner is asking you for sex and you’re not interested, talk to them about your reasons. It can help your partner to understand what you’re experiencing if you explain what is happening in your mind and body.

Open conversations can: 

  • Help your partner understand your experience 
  • Help you both to work together in redefining what is needed for intimacy to occur 

If someone in your life is not respecting your decision to say no to sex, you can seek support and guidance from women’s crisis centres

Increased sexual satisfaction post-menopause

“Sexual satisfaction” may not mean having more or better orgasms – although that’s certainly possible as well under the right circumstances (which we’ll talk about below).

Sexual satisfaction for many women may mean having better sex less often, or having no sex at all. 

In many cases, women who have passed menopause (which is the one year anniversary of your final period) will experience new freedoms they didn’t have during their menstruation years. 

Menopause may also bring along new sexual freedoms, as highlighted in this article by Johns Hopkins Medicine

Sex after menopause may come with benefits like: 

  • No more worrying about when your next period is going to start 
  • No risk of becoming pregnant
  • An empty nest (children are gone – therefore no bedroom door interruptions when things are getting steamy with your partner) 
  • A potential “reconnection” with your spouse or partner now that you have free time – and alone time – that you may not have had during the parenting years

Intimacy without intercourse 

As we mentioned above, a decrease in sexual desire is hardly a hardship for many women. Many women who desire intimacy with a partner are not referring to sex at all, but to physical companionship

Intimacy as we age may look different than it did in our younger years. Many women at all ages crave intimacy in the form of: 

  • Cuddling
  • Hugging
  • Holding hands
  • Sitting near one another
  • Laying back to back in bed 

By the time women reach menopause, their male partners are likely experiencing common issues that impact male sexual health, such as erectile dysfunction, which is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection.

So, during the post-menopausal years, relationships might look different – our bodies will feel different and perform differently… and that’s okay.  

Foreplay as the endgame 

Women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men to experience a decrease in sexual desire as they age.

We have, as a society, decreed “foreplay” as a necessary prelude to intercourse. And of course, it’s very important for those who want to have intercourse.

But intercourse doesn’t have to be the endgame. What if foreplay was the only play?

Aging bodies may not be equipped to sustain intercourse, let alone desire it – yet with patience and respect, foreplay can be as pleasurable as ever even as we age.

Worry less about doing things the way you used to do them, or the way you think you should be doing them, and simply discover what your changing body needs and wants.

In order to achieve orgasm despite painful and uncomfortable symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, consider these sexual practices

  • Massage or oral sex
  • Sensual baths
  • Manual stimulation of the clitoris by yourself or your partner 

Women’s pleasure products are on the rise as society normalizes self-stimulation as a healthy practice for women. 

There are also many women’s sexual care products available on the market designed to increase women’s comfort, such as: 

  • Creams and vaginal lubricants during sexual activity
  • Moisturizers and lotions to decrease itching or dryness of the vulva

Women’s overall health and wellness 

The most important factor in women’s health – including sexual health – is maintaining care of your body and wellness overall. 

Regular exercise, balanced meals, adequate sleep, and staying hydrated can help with lowering stress, boosting mood, decreasing vaginal dryness, and improving blood flow – all important aspects for successful sexual pleasure! 

As mentioned above, symptoms such as vaginal dryness can be treated in-the-moment with natural lubricants, or can be achieved through long-term solutions such as hormone replacement therapy to replace a woman’s estrogen levels to maintain equilibrium during perimenopause and menopause.

Dr. Kavita talks about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in her book Lady Parts – get the synopsis here.

Keep up to date on women’s health research with Revivele

At Revivele, we believe that every woman should be given the information they need to prioritize their health, advocate for their needs and take action to prevent the development of possible health concerns.

Not only do we keep up-to-date on the latest scientific research when it comes to women’s health, and brain health, but we have just launched our new supplement system: Essentials by Revivele. Meticulously crafted with 48 optimal ingredients, it’s designed to alleviate women’s symptoms and fortify against the risk of disease.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to maintain your health as you age, read our other blogs, which are full of helpful details, research, and woman-to-woman understanding. We’re all in this together!

Next steps:

Take your health, and the health of your friends, seriously – spread the word!

What to read next

Learn more about typical and atypical symptoms of perimenopause.

Learn the best tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle as you age. 

Read about the connection between dementia and women.

Discover more about the relationship between exercise and the brain.

8 Health Screenings Women Should Have

8 Health Screenings Women Should Have

Abstract: Screening tests exist as an early warning system: understand the 8 screening tests every woman should prioritize.

Health screenings are designed to help you keep track of early warning signs for common health conditions and to guard against potential health issues. 

But, which ones are truly essential for women’s health? 

Health screening tests, such as pre-cancer screenings, save lives – yet missed appointments tragically result in avoidable deaths every single year. 

While we can’t control all aspects of our health all the time, we do have the power to keep these vital check-ups on our calendar. 

In this guide, we’ve carefully curated which women’s health screenings you really shouldn’t miss so that you can prioritize these appointments and safeguard your help as you age. 

In this guide discover: 

  • A list of the top 8 screening tests every woman should schedule
  • Insights into what each test entails, it’s significance and the ideal timeline for scheduling them 
  • Additional resources 

8 screening tests women should make sure they schedule

Navigating the world of women’s health can be overwhelming. The combined challenges of limited information, prevailing myths, and long standing medical biases can result in feelings of confusion and marginalization.

However, it’s high time we shift this narrative. A key step in this direction is to make information about women’s health more accessible, empowering every woman with the knowledge she requires to advocate for her wellbeing.

To aid in this mission, we’ve crafted a succinct chart detailing the 8 pivotal screenings every woman should prioritize, coupled with clear guidelines on next steps post-results. 

Dive into this resource, bookmark it, spread the word, and become an active agent in your health journey.

Disclaimer: The health screenings listed below are general recommendations using information from the US Preventive Services Task Force, and should not substitute for professional medical advice tailored to your specific health situation or family history. If you are experiencing any health concerns or symptoms, seek immediate guidance and investigation from a qualified healthcare professional. Your health and well-being should always be the foremost priority.

8 screening tests women need to prioritize and when to book them

Screening testYour ageNormal & abnormal results: when to book a follow-up 
Colonoscopy45+Normal: If tests return normal, schedule a colorectal examination every 2 years.
Abnormal: A test is abnormal if polyps or abnormal tissues are found on the colon. Polyps may be removed during a colonoscopy and sent for testing. 
Our tips:You should schedule a follow-up with your doctor if these tests show that the polyps were determined to be cancerous or precancerous. 
Mammogram or breast ultrasound40+Normal: If tests are normal, schedule a mammogram every 2 years
Abnormal: An abnormal mammogram occurs when small white dots (calcifications), lumps, masses or tumors are discovered. 
Our tips:A follow-up appointment should be scheduled immediately with a doctor if these are discovered. 
Routine blood work for hormone levels and thyroid efficiency 20+Normal: If tests are normal, blood work should be tested each year at annual checkups. 
Abnormal: If high or low levels of TSH (see below) are discovered, your thyroid may not be properly producing hormones. 
Our tips:Consider completing a full blood panel yearly, assessing blood glucose, thyroid, hormones, CBC. Request testing for additional markers such as free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies, for example, to determine if you may have a thyroid disorder. If your tests are abnormal, speak to your doctor immediately about managing hyper- or hypothyroidism. 
Pap smear or HPV test21+ (PS)30+ (HPV)Normal: Normal Pap smears should be scheduled every 3 years. Consistently normal HPV tests can be scheduled every 5 years or as a PaP/HPV co-test in women aged 30+. 
Abnormal: An abnormal test means that abnormal cells were discovered in your cervix that may be precancerous.
Our tips:It’s important to always be cognizant of your discharge, and if you notice any changes, report them to your doctor. If a Pap smear or HPV test comes back abnormal, schedule a test every 2 years while managing symptoms and undergoing treatment.
Eye exam65+Normal: Eye checks in those aged 19+ should be scheduled every 3-5 years, and annually in those 65+. 
Abnormal: An abnormal eye exam may be an indication of several different health issues that may cause symptoms such as swelling of the eye, extreme dryness of the eyes, or other varied symptoms.
Our tips:If your eye exams produce abnormal results, schedule a follow-up with your eye doctor and family doctor to determine a course of action.
Osteoporosis screening test 65+Normal: A bone density test should be booked as soon as possible once women reach the age of 65
Abnormal: An abnormal test may show concerns regarding your bone density on the X-rays that are taken, which could indicate underlying health issues such as a calcium deficiency. 
When to follow-up after an abnormal test:While the recommended age is 65, we believe women should get a baseline test earlier to ensure they don’t have osteopenia (which can lead to osteoporosis). If your bone density tests come back as abnormal, or indicative of bone fragility, you should speak with your doctor right away about how to protect yourself from falls and bone breaks, and prepare a plan to help strengthen your muscles and bones. We recommend increased strength training, vitamin D, K2 and calcium rich foods to maintain bone mass. 
Ovarian cancer screening test45+Normal: Ovarian screening should be done at least once in women after reaching the age of 45, although this test is optional for asymptomatic women. 
Abnormal: An abnormal test may show a mass within the female reproductive system that could be a precancerous growth.
When to follow-up after an abnormal test:If your ovarian cancer screening test shows an abnormality, you should follow-up with a healthcare provider immediately to have the mass assessed. Screening tests cannot confirm if a growth is cancerous, but finding out in the early stages could save your life. 
Cardiovascular screening test35+Normal: Women should start getting cardiovascular checkups every few years after the age of 35, especially if there is a history of heart disease or heart conditions in the family. 
Abnormal: An abnormal test may show an irregular rhythm or heart rate, or inefficiency in your breathing during the stress test. 
When to follow-up after an abnormal test:An abnormal cardiovascular test may be an early warning sign for cardiovascular diseases. If you receive an abnormal test, follow-up with a heart specialist as soon as possible to gather more information, and start booking more regular stress tests to track your heart health. 

To see a full list of recommended health screenings for men and women of all ages, visit the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website. As always, speak with your doctor if you have a health history that requires a different frequency of testing. 

Want more details about the tests and what they’re for?

Keep reading to find out more about what happens during each screening test, and what these tests are usually looking for. 

What, why and when: What each screening test is good for and when to get it

1: Colonoscopy 

What is it?

A colonoscopy is the interior examination of the large intestine. During the procedure, a small camera will be inserted on a flexible cord into the rectum to examine your large intestine for inflammation or other concerns. 

Why get it?

A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy performed to diagnose gastrointestinal diseases and colon cancer. 

When to book:

A colonoscopy should be scheduled every two years for women aged 45+. 

2: Mammogram and/or ultrasound of the breasts

What is it?

A mammogram is the X-ray image taken of the breasts. During the procedure, each breast is pressed between the flat, smooth plates of an X-ray machine. A breast ultrasound is often ordered when concerning spots are noticed in a mammogram.

Why get it?

Mammograms and breast ultrasounds can be uncomfortable for women, but these exams help to spot lumps, growths, and other abnormalities within the breasts that may be cancerous. 

When to book:

A mammogram or breast ultrasound should be scheduled every two years for women aged 40+ or more frequently for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.

3. Routine blood work (hormone levels and thyroid function)

What is it?

Routine blood work should measure your complete blood count (CBC), red and white blood cells and hemoglobin levels amongst other markers. The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test is a blood test that will assess how much TSH is measured in your blood to determine the functionality of your thyroid. You can also request additional hormone level testing for markers such as free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies, for example, to determine if you may have a thyroid disorder. 

Why get it?

This test, along with other markers such as free T3 and T4, will help to diagnose hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid – causes tremors in hands, fast heart rate, muscle weakness, irritability, etc) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid – causes fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, forgetfulness, etc).

When to book:

Routine blood work should be completed every year in women aged 20+.

4. Pap smear 

What is it?

A Pap smear or Pap test involves the insertion of a metal or plastic tool into the vaginal opening. The tool is then expanded and held open to allow a medical professional to examine the cervix and take a swab sample to test the cervical cells for health concerns. 

Why get it?

Although oftentimes uncomfortable, the Pap test is a procedure designed to screen for cervical cancer. Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear increases your chance of successful treatment. 

When to book:

PAP smears should be scheduled every 3 years in women aged 21+, and every 5 years with a PaP/HPV co-test in women aged 30+. 

5. Eye exams 

What is it?

For women, menopause can alter eyesight. Eye exams allow medical professionals to assess whether there have been changes in your eye shape or vision strength. An eye exam as an older adult is the same as an eye exam for a younger adult: there is a great deal of attempting to read tiny letters on a wall that seems to get more distant each year. 

Why get it?

Our eyes and vision change as we age, often losing the ability to see at distances and/or up close. In order to protect eye health, as well as ensure you have glasses that help you to drive and/or read, eye examinations are important. 

When to book:

Eye exams should be scheduled every 3-5 years after the age of 19+. After age 65+, these exams should take place annually. We also recommend asking to have your eyes dilated so that the optometrist or ophthalmologist can have a good look at the retina and interior of the eye. 

6. Osteoporosis screening test

What is it?

A bone density test uses X-rays to measure the calcium and other minerals in each segment of bone. Frequently, spines, hips and arms are the focus of these X-rays.

Why get it?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when bone mineral density and bone mass decreases. During menopause, estrogen levels decrease, resulting in possible increased bone loss. Testing your bone density as you age will help you prepare yourself and protect against falls and debilitating bone breaks.

When to book:

The bone mineral density exam should take place for all women after the age of 65, or earlier for those who have risk factors. 

7. Ovarian cancer screening

What is it?

There are two ovarian cancer screening tests: a transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) or a blood test. The TVUS is an internal examination using an ultrasound wand that is inserted into the vagina, enabling the machine to photograph the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and the vagina.

Why get it?

Early screening for ovarian cancer increases the chances of detecting cancers in their earlier stages, which can significantly improve prognosis. 

When to book:

Asymptomatic women or women with no hereditary risk factors for ovarian cancers is optional for women aged 45+. 

8. Cardiovascular screening 

What is it?

Cardiovascular screening includes a physical exam. Your weight and measurements will be taken, as well as cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Your heart will be listened to for irregular rhythms, and you may be referred to a specialist if further evaluation is deemed necessary. 

Why get it?

This screening is designed to test for your risk for heart disease. You may require further tests such as a stress test, calcification study or angiogram to further assess if there are  abnormalities in your heart or blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and death in the US. Knowing the state of your heart and blood vessels will help you determine if you are at risk of heart attack or stroke

When to book:

Women should consider cardiovascular screening tests after the age of 35, especially if symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, recurring dizziness or fainting episodes, or worsening heart palpitations or arrhythmias occur. 

False positives and false negatives: myth or fact?

Science saves lives – but there are certain factors that could create a false positive test result, or false negative result during your screening examinations. 

Please remember to always follow-up with a medical professional after any abnormal test result to advocate for secondary testing to confirm an abnormal test, and to gather more information. 

Whenever your tests return as normal, also remember to continue scheduling regular appointments for yourself within the suggested time frames to continue to be aware of the changes taking place within your own body. 

We take your health seriously 

At Revivele, we believe that every woman should be given the information they need to prioritize their health, advocate for their needs and take action to prevent the development of possible health concerns.

Not only do we keep up-to-date on the latest scientific research when it comes to women’s health, and brain health, but we have just launched our new supplement system: Essentials by Revivele. Meticulously crafted with 48 optimal ingredients, it’s designed to alleviate women’s symptoms and fortify against the risk of disease.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to maintain your health as you age, read our other blogs, which are full of helpful details, research, and woman-to-woman understanding. We’re all in this together!

Next steps:

Take your health, and the health of your friends, seriously – spread the word!

Hormonal Upheaval in the Home: Parenting During Perimenopause

Hormonal Upheaval in the Home: Parenting During Perimenopause

Navigating teenage mood swings while your own hormones fluctuate might sound like something out of a movie. 

But, this is an everyday reality for many women in their 30s and 40s who are starting perimenopause while their children hit or transition through puberty

Both puberty and perimenopause are significant milestones in life, driven by intense hormonal fluctuations. These aren’t just subtle shifts; they’re monumental biological changes that can deeply affect mood, energy, sleep, diet and overall well being. 

Yet, not many people openly talk about the combination of these two major biological transitions happening at the same time in the same home. 

Parenting is both rewarding and challenging at all stages – but these simultaneous transitions can lead to household dynamics filled with heightened emotions, misunderstandings and even a lack of support.

So, is it possible to navigate these hormonal waves with smooth sailing? 

The first step is understanding – which is what this article is all about. 

Read this article to learn about: 

  1. The challenges of parenting through perimenopause 
  2. Teenage hormone fluctuations and brain development
  3. Menopausal hormone fluctuations and brain changes
  4. Keeping yourself healthy – for teens and parents 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide parenting advice – which is deeply personal and unique to each household. This article provides information about the brain and hormonal changes that occur during menopause and puberty, which frequently coincide. If you are struggling with specific behavioural challenges with your teenager, please consult with your family physician or a licensed therapist. 


Challenges of parenting through perimenopause

The journey from puberty to perimenopause is a full circle for women. 

The surge of estrogen during puberty marks the onset of our reproductive years, and its decline during perimenopause signals its end. 

As adolescents we begin to become much more aware and self-conscious about our changing identities. Fast forward to perimenopause, where we find ourselves at another crossroads, redefining ourselves once more. 

However, the journey of perimenopause isn’t simply introspective. 

With it comes very clear physical and emotional changes that can cloud daily life. 

The most common symptoms of perimenopause are: 

  • Irregular periods
  • Painful cramping and heavy flow
  • Headaches 
  • Weight gain 
  • And more 

Any one or all of these symptoms can be frustrating, confusing and challenging for women to face. While, many of these changes are temporary – how long they last varies from woman to woman and, in the meantime, you still have to parent! 

Many women find themselves navigating perimenopause while simultaneously guiding their pre-teens and teenagers through the challenges of adolescence. 

While parenting in all phases can come with its own challenges, they can be intensified when you’re also wrestling with your own hormonal changes. 

So, amidst these intertwining hormonal twists and turns, how can we ease the journey with both ourselves and our children? 

We recommend two steps: 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the hormonal changes occurring in both your body and your teen’s 
  • Use effective strategies to nurture both yourself and your teenager during this transformative phase 

Let’s start by getting acquainted with the hormone and brain changes your pre-teen or teen might be experiencing. 

Parallel Journeys: Hormonal and brain changes in mom and teens

During perimenopause, there’s a gradual shift in hormone production, which impacts not only the body but the brain’s functionality. 

At the same time, as moms grapple with these changes, their pre-teen and teenage children are also experiencing a stage of rapid brain development. 

Did you know the human brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-to-late twenties?

Here’s a quick summary of some of the big changes you and your pre-teen or teenager may encounter.


Hormone Brain Changes for Mom

Hormone Brain Changes for Pre/Teens

▪️ Estrogen levels are decreasing, resulting in “brain fog” (AKA: confusion, trouble concentrating, etc)

▪️ Decrease in hormone production (irregular periods, heavier flow, worsening cramps)

▪️ Increased fatigue and a need for more sleep through the day

▪️ Increased irritability caused by hormone fluctuations which can affect health, mood and energy levels.

▪️ Onset of body image issues (sudden hair growth or hair loss, weight fluctuations, etc)

▪️ Gray matter volume decreases, leading to decreased memory efficiency and concentration

▪️ Possible onset of depression triggered by menopause (watch for warning signs)

▪️ Prefrontal cortex development: teens begin to develop impulse control and reasoning (AKA: the ability to think before they act)

▪️ Onset of puberty (onset of menstrual cycles OR development of sperm, body hair growth, acne, final growth spurts) 

▪️ Increased fatigue and a need for more sleep through the day

▪️ Increased irritability caused by hormone fluctuations which can affect health, mood and energy levels.

▪️ Onset of body image issues (sudden hair growth, weight fluctuations, etc) 

▪️ Gray matter volume remains the same, other brain matter increases leading to increased self-awareness and critical thinking skills

▪️ Possible onset of depression triggered by puberty (watch for warning signs)

Teenage hormone fluctuations and brain development


What is puberty?

Puberty begins when hormones from the brain trigger changes to body development. It’s known as the phase in which pre-teens and teens begin the physical and mental transition from children to adults. 

Puberty begins between the ages of 8 and 13 for most girls, and between the ages of 9 and 14 for most boys – although it is also possible to begin earlier or later.

In girls, this means that hormones in the brain tell the ovaries to begin making the hormone estrogen – which leads to the growth and release of eggs, as well as the onset of monthly periods. 

In boys, this means that hormones in the brain tell the testicles to make the hormone testosterone, leading to the development of sperm. 

Teenage hormone fluctuations during puberty

For both boys and girls, the development of these new hormones inside the body leads to physical changes, like hair growth and height or weight fluctuations. 

It also comes with changes to mood.

Mood swings and increased irritability are common symptoms of puberty for both boys and girls. 

Important to note: puberty can often come with symptoms of depression in both boys and girls. 

For many parents, watching their child transition through puberty can be a bittersweet experience. You might feel a mix of pride as you witness your child changing into a young adult, while also grappling with worry and concern. There  may even be some grief as your once little-one gains more independence. 

What’s going on in my teenager’s brain?

During puberty, the teenage brain is a landscape of change and development. Here’s a glimpse: 

Due to the changes taking place inside the brain, a teenager’s decision-making skills may not always be sound during this phase. 

The amygdala – which is responsible for immediate reactions such as fear or aggression – is already developed in the teen years. 

The frontal cortex, however – responsible for impulse control and reasoning – is not. 

This imbalance in brain development is why some teens sometimes may act impulsively or take risks that give parents sleepless nights. It’s crucial to understand their cognitive machinery isn’t mature yet. They are still learning how to think before they act. 

According to science, the teenage brain is cognitively, behaviourally and neurologically flexible – which is great, because this helps teenage brains stay flexible and adaptable during a time of transition. 

During this phase, gray matter is adapting. 

Connections in the brain that go largely unused are being discarded, and new connections are being made. These connections help your teen to see and understand the world, themselves, and relationships in new ways. 

These crucial connections are good – but they can feel hard. 

Another aspect to consider is sleep. Contrary to the stereotype that teenagers are always sleeping, the truth is that most teens aren’t getting enough sleep, which can have an impact on mood and mental health, as well as physical health and energy levels. 

Sleep is critical during pre-teen and teenage years, because sleep isn’t just rest – it’s the brain’s prime time for growth and restructuring. 

According to the CDC, kids aged 6-12 should be getting 9 to 12 hours of sleep every twenty-four hours, and kids aged 12-18 should be sleeping for 8 to 10 hours every night. 

And while all of this is going on with your teenager, you, mama, are experiencing your own hormone fluctuations and changes to your brain development.

Menopausal hormone fluctuations and brain changes

While puberty is the sudden onset of hormone creation, perimenopause sits at the opposite end of the spectrum: a sudden decrease in hormone creation. 

While you might think that menopause is a process, it only technically “occurs” on one day of your life: the one-year anniversary of the last day of your last period. 

There are four stages to a woman’s reproductive cycle:  

  • Premenopause, which begins with a woman’s first menstruation during puberty. Premenopause is the time in a woman’s life in which she experiences regular menstrual cycles.
  • Perimenopause, which usually begins in a woman’s mid-late 30s. During this phase, a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels begin to fluctuate and diminish (read our companion blog to learn more about the symptoms of perimenopause).
  • Menopause, which “occurs” when you have gone without a period for a full 12 months. The anniversary of the last day of your final period is the day you “experience menopause.”
  • Postmenopause, which takes place after menopause. This is the phase that you enter for the remainder of your life. During this phase, many women are at risk of various health conditions, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and others – though they can also see a decrease in symptoms common during the perimenopause phase.

To learn more about menopause, read this: Demystifying Menopause: Everything You Need to Know.

Estrogen decreases and brain changes

Navigating the teenage years as a parent is not just about understanding our teens’ biological transformations, but equally about recognizing our own as mothers and women. 

As teenagers grapple with their own hormonal and brain changes, moms are on a parallel journey with perimenopause. 

Many of the symptoms of perimenopause that we discussed above are largely due to decreases in the production of estrogen. 

Estrogen isn’t just a reproductive hormone, it’s important to brain health, and the decrease in estrogen production contributes to the “brain fog” and trouble sleeping that we talked about. 

Estrogen stimulates glucose uptake, and it also stimulates physical activity and energy levels in addition to regulating body fat distribution.

Interestingly, as our teens undergo critical brain development during puberty, mothers face an increased risk of developing dementia in later years, and the symptoms of perimenopause (sleep deprivation, changes in energy levels) play a large role. 

If you take one thing away from this article it’s this: This intersection of stages in your home underscore the importance of self-care – both for you and your children. Remember, prioritizing our health isn’t just about being active and present today, it’s about aging well and enjoying long-term vitality. 

For teens and parents: Mastering essential health habits 

Today, many doctors and even therapists are now prioritizing an essential step before dispensing advice or new medications: they check to see if patients are focusing on core health fundamentals. 

Our overall health and vitality hinge upon these basic building blocks of our wellbeing: sleep, diet and exercise. 

Furthermore, sleep, diet and exercise can also help manage the symptoms that come with fluctuating hormones while promoting brain health. 

Let’s talk about how. 

1. Sleep

Sleep is vital to brain health – so you and your teenager should both try to get a lot of it. Women need more sleep than men on average because of hormone fluctuations that impact us monthly. Pre-teens and teenagers require 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. 

Tip: Remember the old advice: “sleep while your baby sleeps”? We’ve come full circle. Sleep while your teenager sleeps, as often as possible. If insomnia keeps you up at night, try taking 20 to 30 minute naps each day so that you’re not over-tired at night. (Don’t go over 30 minutes or you may make the insomnia worse!) 

2. Eating healthy

During both menopause and puberty, eating the right foods can give your body the energy it needs to weather the storm of changes you’re experiencing. 

Tip: Prepare meals for yourself and your teen that include a wide variety of foods, especially fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats like nuts and Omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish), and lean proteins. Consider incorporating supplements into your daily routine. 

The right supplements can enhance your health in a number of different ways, beyond just ensuring your body gets the proper vitamins, nutrients and minerals it needs. Read these 5 reasons why taking supplements is essential

3. Regular exercise 

Daily exercise and movement is important for all bodies. Exercise leads to better brain health, better heart health, and better physical health overall. Exercise is good not only for our bodies, but also for your emotional and mental health

Tip: Go for family walks each night and/or on weekends. Take hikes, go for bicycle rides, and generally keep an active lifestyle. Remember to incorporate strength training which is critical for bone health, balance and even brain power. 

4. Self-care 

Self-care is vital for anyone who wishes to stay healthy and calm, at any time of life. Finding ways to spend time with yourself can be a great way to rest your mind and body. 

Tip: Try finding a form of self-care that you can do together with your teen or pre-teen to nurture the connection between you, and to role-model self-care. 

5. Clear boundaries

Your expectations in the home around how you talk to one another, and how you understand one another, can help you navigate challenging times. 

Tip: Have a clear protocol for where you go when you need to take space from one another. Establish firm limits around how you handle problems, and enforce limits with kindness and understanding. 

Remember, knowledge truly is power. By understanding these intricate shifts in our bodies and actively nurturing ourselves we can better manage any symptoms or wellbeing bumps that may arise. Clear communication stemming from this awareness can help pave the way for a shared understanding. 

While we might wish we could remove every obstacle or difficulty, a smart goal is to cultivate resilience – so that when bumps in the road do occur, we can face them with strength and adapt with ease. 


Learn more about your health by following Revivele 

At Revivele, we believe that every woman should be given the information they need to prioritize their health, advocate for their needs and take action to prevent the development of possible health concerns like dementia.

Not only do we keep up-to-date on the latest scientific research when it comes to women’s health, and brain health, but we are also gearing up to release our new supplement system: Essentials by Revivele.

Join our mailing list to be the first to know when Essentials by Revivele is available. Sign-up here:

If you’re interested in learning more about how to maintain your health as you age, read our other blogs, which are full of helpful details, research, and woman-to-woman understanding. We’re all in this together!

To learn more about perimenopause and other women’s health issues, be sure to read Dr. Kavita Desai’s new book, Lady Parts: Putting Women’s Health Back Into Women’s Hands, and follow her women’s health & wellness company, Revivele, on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!


What to read next: 

Read about the methods to balance your hormones naturally

Get the answer to this question: Are multivitamins scams?

Find out why women are more likely to be affected by insomnia

See why we believe that taking supplements is essential to women’s health.

Could it be Perimenopause? What You Didn’t Know You Were Going Through

Could it be Perimenopause? What You Didn’t Know You Were Going Through

Many women begin to experience changes in their bodies and emotions as they age – but most don’t know that those chances are caused by perimenopause.

Due to the lack of gender-specific scientific studies and the stigma surrounding conversations about menstruation and menopause, many adult women have little to no knowledge of the natural changes that occur in their own bodies as they age from pre-adolescence through to late adulthood. 

Today, menopause is still shrouded in mystery, however keeping menopause in the shadows only perpetuates the mystery – leaving countless women unaware of the profound connection between their experiences and perimenopause. 

In this article we shed light on perimenopause: a transitional period that deserves both our attention and empathy. Our goal is to empower women by fostering understanding, dispelling misconceptions and equipping them with the knowledge to take charge of their health and wellbeing. 

Here at Revivele there is no room for shame or secrecy when it comes to our bodies. 

Rather than letting perimenopause control us, let’s seize the opportunity to learn about its intricacies, navigate its symptoms and harness the wisdom it holds. 

Scroll on to learn: 

  1. What is perimenopause  
  2. Common symptoms of perimenopause 
  3. Atypical symptoms of perimenopause 
  4. Why it’s important to treat perimenopause 

What is perimenopause? 

Perimenopause, often referred to as the “menopause transition” is a significant transition phase in a woman’s reproductive journey. While  menopause itself signifies the end of menstrual cycles, perimenopause serves as the precursor to this final milestone. 

Typically beginning in a woman’s late 30s or early 40s, perimenopause is characterized by fluctuating hormone levels as the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen – a vital hormone that maintains body temperature, keeps menstrual cycles regular, balances emotions, controls body weight, and more. 

By understanding perimenopause women can reclaim control over their bodies, making informed choices that align with their health and wellness goals. 

The common symptoms of perimenopause 

Perimenopausal symptoms can be confusing, uncomfortable and at times distressing for women. They can manifest as a wide range of physical and emotional experiences, even varying from woman to woman. 

It’s very important that women understand what they are experiencing – and how to treat the symptoms to maintain their physical, emotional and mental health. 

Perimenopause may come with changes such as

  • Mood fluctuations 
  • Changes to sexual drive
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches 
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight gain 

There are lesser known symptoms such as tinnitus, heart palpitations and joint pain, making it even more important to understand the full extent of how perimenopause can present. 

What do hot flashes feel like?

Perimenopausal hot flashes are a sensation unlike any other. 

Hot flashes are experienced as a sudden rush of heat in your neck, chest and face, which at times can make women feel dizzy. It’s as if your internal thermostat has gone haywire, often promoting a sense of being overwhelmed and significant discomfort. 

Night sweats are a similar experience, occurring while trying to sleep, therefore making it difficult to get a restful nights’ sleep. 

The unpredictability of hot flashes can be challenging to navigate, making it crucial for women to understand ways to cope with this part of the perimenopausal journey. 

Regular exercise, herbal remedies, stress reduction, mindful eating and staying hydrated are all important ways to manage perimenopausal hot flashes. Reducing alcohol consumption, limiting spicy foods and eliminating foods that exacerbate symptoms can also help. 

What do irregular perimenopausal periods look like?

Irregular perimenopausal periods can be frustrating and unpredictable. 

An irregular period may be shorter or longer than your standard period. It may be heavier at the onset of menstruation (the first couple days), and lighter for the last few days. 

Perimenopausal periods may also come with cramps (even if you never had them before), or a sudden absence of cramps if you’ve had them all your life. 

Some women experience periods that are absent for sixty days at a time before they return, coming and going at irregular intervals until menopause is experienced.

Changes to sexual desire and vaginal dryness 

Menopause occurs when a woman has not had a period for twelve months or more. During the years leading to this time, women may experience a decrease in sexual desire, and have more difficulty in becoming aroused. 

Another symptom of perimenopause and menopause is vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness takes place when estrogen levels decline, resulting in the tissues of the vagina becoming dry, thin and not well moisturized. This can lead to pain during sex, which can have an impact on sexual desire, or interest in sexual activity. 

Vaginal dryness can be treated in-the-moment with natural lubricants, or can be achieved through long-term solutions such as hormone replacement therapy to replace a woman’s estrogen levels to maintain equilibrium during perimenopause and menopause.

Dr. Kavita talks about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in her book Lady Parts – get the synopsis here.

Remember, your worth and desirability is not defined by external factors. You deserve self-love and acceptance. You can reclaim your own narrative of desire and pleasure. 

Know your body, own your journey

Dr. Kavita Desai, founder of Revivele, recently published a book called Lady Parts: Putting Women’s Health Back into Women’s Hands.

In her book, Dr. Kavita talks about the fact that at no time in a woman’s life are they truly educated about what is happening – and what will happen – within their bodies as they age. 

Women’s health requires increased awareness and advocacy because historically, it has often been underrepresented and misunderstood. By shining a light on women’s unique health needs, we can address disparities, promote early detection and improve overall healthcare outcomes. 

It’s also important for women to understand the changes they are experiencing in order to maintain a healthy quality of life as they age. On this note, let’s talk a little more about atypical symptoms of perimenopause. 

Atypical symptoms of perimenopause 

The typical symptoms of perimenopause may not be the only ones women experience as they enter this new phase in their lives. 

Some unexpected symptoms of perimenopause that you should be aware of include: 

  • Tinnitus (or ringing in one or both ears)
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Dry mouth and/or dry eyes 
  • A tingling sensation in the extremities
  • Urinary issues 
  • Mood disorders such as anxiety or depression
  • Hair loss 
  • Gum and tooth problems 
  • Breast sagging 
  • Clumsiness and easy bruising 

If you’re experiencing atypical or disruptive symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. 

What are heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations can feel like a racing or pounding heart, or like your heart is skipping beats. They can be caused by overexertion, or they can occur seemingly out of nowhere, which can feel quite scary for women when they begin to experience them. 

Heart palpitations can sometimes feel like a heart attack or an anxiety attack. The fear of not knowing what is causing the palpitations can make them worse. 

If you experience a heart palpitation, sit down somewhere quiet. Reduce the stimulation of lights and noise around you. Take deep breaths in to a count of four, pause, and then exhale slowly to a count of four. Repeat until you are feeling more relaxed. 

Speak to your doctor if you experience heart palpitations on a regular basis. 

Why it’s important to treat perimenopause

While research about women’s health lags behind that of men’s health, it is known that women have an increased risk of developing numerous chronic illnesses such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and possibly dementia as they age – and menopause seems to be a risk factor. 

Fortunately, as Dr. Kavita discusses in her book Lady Parts, there are ways to reduce one’s risk of developing dementia, and managing symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. 

Not only is it more comfortable for your peace of mind and your physical health to treat perimenopause, but the long-term benefits of treating your symptoms may be vast.  

Also read: The connection between dementia and women

The long-term benefits of hormone replacement therapy

Research has indicated that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can vastly improve a woman’s quality of life by decreasing the discomfort and risks associated with menopausal symptoms.

Studies have indicated that HRT may reduce women’s experience of vaginal dryness, palpitations, insomnia, and hot flashes. 

Research indicates that HRT is also linked with improved blood lipid levels, decreased risk of developing diabetes in late adulthood, and fewer hip, spine, and other bone fractures that often occur in late adulthood. 

Studies have also contributed data indicating that HRT may greatly decrease a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

Learn more about decreasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by understanding your APOE4 gene. 

Dr. Kavita discusses this research in her book Lady Parts while also exploring the various ways women can manage symptoms of perimenopause, and decrease their risk of developing dementia. 

The best way to treat symptoms of perimenopause is to take care of your body: eat well, exercise, and get as much sleep as you can (even if that means adding “nap time” to your busy schedule). 

You might also explore supplements to maintain appropriate levels of nutrients, minerals and vitamins in your system. 

Taking supplements to manage perimenopause symptoms

At Revivele, we believe that every woman should be given the information they need to prioritize their health, advocate for their needs and take action to prevent the development of possible health concerns like dementia.

Not only do we keep up-to-date on the latest scientific research when it comes to women’s health, and brain health, but we are also gearing up to release our new supplement system: Essentials by Revivele.

Join our mailing list to be the first to know when Essentials by Revivele is available. Sign-up here:

If you’re interested in learning more about how to maintain your health as you age, read our other blogs, which are full of helpful details, research, and woman-to-woman understanding. We’re all in this together!

To learn more about perimenopause and other women’s health issues, be sure to read Dr. Kavita Desai’s new book, Lady Parts: Putting Women’s Health Back Into Women’s Hands, and follow her women’s health & wellness company, Revivele, on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

The Heavy Truth About Perimenopausal Weight Gain

The Heavy Truth About Perimenopausal Weight Gain

Have you been struggling with stubborn weight gain?

If so, you’re not alone, and it’s likely not you – it’s perimenopause.

For many women maintaining their weight becomes increasingly more challenging especially as they near and enter their 40s.

This stage of life often brings a number of different lifestyle changes, and along with those an increased midline.

During perimenopause the body goes through a number of hormonal fluctuations that can take a toll on your metabolism and body composition. Women entering into their 40s and 50s are impacted by these body changes, sometimes in a way that can negatively influence their self-image and self-esteem.

The good news is – we’re in this together, and there are some healthy, practical and effective methods to manage perimenopausal weight gain related to hormone fluctuations and metabolic deficiencies.

Read on to discover:

  1. What is perimenopausal weight gain?
  2. Why does perimenopausal weight gain happen?
  3. How to manage perimenopausal weight gain

Let’s dive in!

What is perimenopausal weight gain?

Perimenopause begins during our late 30s and early 40s, and it can bring with it changes to the body’s appearance and functioning.

Perimenopause and menopause impact many aspects of a woman’s health.

Women may experience:

Ultimately – perimenopausal weight gain is a byproduct of the many hormonal and energy changes that come along with bodily transformation.

Decreased metabolism, lack of energy, fatigue and tiredness, stiffness and bloating – all of these perimenopausal symptoms can combine together, making it very hard to get out and get exercise.

The bottom line is that during perimenopause, we have reached an age at which our bodies need us to play a more active role in maintaining our daily health, and that starts with understanding what is happening and why.

Why does perimenopausal weight gain happen?

Weight gain is a common occurrence during perimenopause.

It’s important to understand that perimenopausal weight gain is not solely a result of overeating or a lack of exercise, but rather a biological response to changing hormones.

As we age, our metabolism slows down, which means we’re not digesting food as quickly or as effectively as we did in our younger years.

Hormonal changes during perimenopause, such as decreased estrogen, is the body’s natural process to pump the fertility brakes – you can still get pregnant during perimenopause, but your reproductive organs are slowing down and becoming less fertile.

Low testosterone, which begins to drop after age 30, can lead to an inability to build muscle mass, lose weight and decreased energy levels. Other side effects of low testosterone include: low mood, low libido and decreased bone density.

These hormonal changes can also affect metabolism, appetite regulation and fat redistribution, as subcutaneous fat (that is, the fat that is stored beneath your skin) becomes abdominal fat, which can also be called visceral fat (which is, the fat that is packed around your vital organs).

A decrease in metabolism, combined with a decrease in energy and feelings of fatigue, can lead to less physical activity and exercise – creating a recipe for packing on the pounds.

The good news is, there are ways to help your body respond to these fluctuating hormones and effectively manage perimenopausal weight gain.

A wider waistline comes with increased risks

Although bodily changes and weight gain are a common experience while aging, there are a number of motivating factors for why you should strive to manage the amount of weight you gain.

Excessive weight gain can have an impact on self-esteem, long-term health, and sex drive in many women during the perimenopausal and menopausal years, and beyond.

In fact, excess weight, particularly around the abdominal area, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. By managing weight gain, you can be proactive in protecting your long-term health and reduce your risk for developing these conditions.

Taking control of perimenopausal weight gain helps to promote healthy aging, including better joint health, vitality and longevity.

How to manage perimenopausal weight gain

Managing perimenopausal weight gain can improve the quality of your life, boost your confidence and even minimize the hormonal imbalances that may exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and disrupted sleep.

Ultimately the best way to manage perimenopausal weight gain is through a holistic approach that includes:

Stay active

Engaging in regular physical activity is key to managing weight during perimenopause, and it brings other benefits including lower stress levels, improved mood, and better sleep. Incorporate a combination of cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging or swimming. As cortisol levels rise during perimenopause, it is okay to focus on movement that is less taxing on the body, such as walking, yoga, or pilates. To really lose visceral fat, we also want to encourage NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is essentially just moving as much as possible throughout the day.

Strength training exercises not only help to boost your metabolism, they also counteract the natural muscle loss that occurs during perimenopause. Incorporate weight lifting or resistance bands into your routine at least three times weekly to reduce muscle loss and improve bone health.

See also: The Concerns with Taking Calcium Supplements

Strike balance with your nutrition

A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for weight management during perimenopause.

Due to a drop in estrogen levels, women in perimenopause can’t process sugars (or foods that turn into sugars) nearly as well.

It’s important to:

  • Focus on getting fiber from foods like chia, vegetables, and beans
  • Add in more protein in each meal
  • Consume a variety of vegetables throughout the day
  • Significantly reduce or eliminate alcohol to protect the gut microbiome and promote healthy sleep
  • Reduce caffeine intake to promote better sleep
  • Avoid or limit processed foods, sugary snacks and drinks that offer little nutritional value
  • Pay attention to portion sizes and practice mindful eating to foster a healthy relationship with food

By reducing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol, and eating more whole foods, women can significantly reduce disease risk. This diet has been shown to be beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes. Weight loss and perimenopausal symptom control is an added benefit.

See also: The Sweet Truth: Why managing blood glucose levels is essential

Get sufficient sleep and manage stress

Quality sleep and reduced stress levels are critical to supporting hormone regulation, your metabolism, and overall well-being.

Find stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga or journaling and create a relaxing bedtime routine to lower stress levels and increase your chances of having a restorative sleep each night.

See also: How to Sleep Better at Night

Take supplements designed for perimenopausal women

While a balanced diet and multivitamin may have cut it in your younger years, perimenopause is a life stage during which your body can benefit from a clinically designed supplement stack created to support the unique needs of your body during this stage of life.

Not all supplement stacks are created equal, and the best brands will design their supplement system around specific health needs or goals – i.e. for men, for menopausal women, for weight training.

Here at Revivele, we’ve created our Essentials line of supplements to target the unique health needs of women in perimenopause and menopause, with a special focus on preventing the diseases that disproportionately affect women.

For example, our supplement system includes the ingredients berberine (which helps to manage weight loss and improve blood sugar levels) and inositol (which is a type of sugar found in the body, and is sometimes referred to as vitamin B8, even though it’s not a vitamin).

Working together – and combined with healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle – berberine and inositol can help with:

  • Increased insulin productivity in the body to break down fats and sugars
  • Fats distributed away from the abdomen and spread more healthily

throughout the body

  • Higher energy levels and improved metabolism and digestion
  • More balanced hormones

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re considering adding a supplement to your daily routine, and all women should be empowered to raise any health concerns – menopause related or not – to their family physician.

Looking to learn more about women’s health and wellness?

Learn more and get updates on the release of our Essentials supplement system by

following Dr. Kavita Desai on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for health information, tips and videos.

Also – consider ordering a copy of Dr. Desai’s book, Lady Parts – a female-focused book of well-researched facts about your body.

Join our mailing list to be the first to know when Essentials by Revivele is available.

Sign-up here:

Demystifying Menopause: Everything You Need to Know

Demystifying Menopause: Everything You Need to Know

Even though menopause is a natural, biological process and something that half of the world’s population will experience in their lives, it still remains a taboo topic and one that many medical practitioners are not well-educated in or trained on how to manage. This lack of education and support leaves women in the dark about how to navigate this important stage of life, and often we end up suffering through uncomfortable and even debilitating symptoms that can also lead to an increased risk of numerous chronic illnesses.

Since our bodies go through significant changes during this phase, which can begin as early as our mid-30s, it is incredibly important to understand exactly what is happening as you go through perimenopause, and ultimately reach menopause. We shouldn’t be expected to simply endure these symptoms – we deserve to feel great and live our lives to the fullest. With that in mind, let’s dive into the four stages of menopause, some of the symptoms that can be expected, how the loss of our hormones affects our long-term disease risk, and tips to help navigate this transition better and feel our best!

Did You Know Menopause Is Only One Day?

Menopause is defined as the one-year anniversary of the last day of your final period. The term menopause is often used to describe the entire phase of the menopausal transition years, but in actuality, you are only “in” menopause for that one day when it has been a full year without menstrual bleeding. Every year before this day, you are actually going through perimenopause.

What Are the Four Stages of Menopause?

There are four stages of menopause, each of which have their own symptoms, hormone levels, and age range/duration. The four stages are:

● Premenopause

● Perimenopause

● Menopause

● Postmenopause

Here’s a deeper look at what you can expect during each of these four stages:

Premenopause Stage

As its name suggests, the premenopause stage begins with the first menstruation during puberty and ends with perimenopause when the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, begin to fluctuate and diminish. During this stage, a woman has her regular menstrual cycle and no noticeable symptoms of perimenopause.

Most women will begin this stage during their pre-teen or early teen years until perimenopause begins.

Perimenopause Stage

Perimenopause is the time when estrogen and progesterone levels begin to fluctuate and drop, which can begin as early as the mid-30s. The loss of these hormones leads to over 50 potential symptoms, some of which can be quite debilitating. Some of these symptoms are well-known, such as hot flashes, hair loss, and weight gain, however, there are many lesser-known symptoms associated with perimenopause, such as tinnitus, heart palpitations, and mood disorders. So many of these symptoms are often undiagnosed, untreated, or treated as separate diagnoses rather than one single condition. As a result, many women are not offered proper care and continue to suffer.

Menopause Stage

Menopause occurs when you have gone without a period for 12 consecutive months. As such, women “experience” menopause only on that one day in their life.

Menopause usually occurs for most women sometime between their mid-40s and mid-50s, but this varies from person to person. The average age of menopause for a woman in the United States is 51 years old. Many perimenopausal symptoms will diminish or disappear after menopause has occurred and the body adjusts to the absence of female hormones. However, for some women, the symptoms of perimenopause may continue even after menopause.

Postmenopause Stage

Postmenopause takes place after you have surpassed a full year without a menstrual cycle and menopause has occurred. This stage lasts for the rest of your life.

During this time, many of the symptoms that are associated with perimenopause have disappeared, or gradually decrease. However, due to lower levels of hormones like estrogen, postmenopausal women are at an increased risk for various health conditions, including:

● Osteoporosis

● Cardiovascular disease

● Vaginal atrophy

● Dementia

● Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

How to Address Perimenopausal Symptoms

Here are some tips to not only help alleviate some of the most common symptoms of perimenopause, but also reduce your risk of long-term disease:

Diet: During this time, women do not process sugars effectively, putting them at risk of glucose intolerance and diabetes. Lower levels of estrogen also contribute to increased levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. Therefore, a whole foods diet focuses on a variety of vegetables, low glycemic fruits, unprocessed whole grains, organic free-range chicken/ eggs, grass-fed beef, and sustainably sourced low-mercury fish. Eating this way can also help reduce some of the common symptoms experienced during perimenopause such as hot flashes, brain fog, fatigue, and acid reflux.

Exercise: Lower levels of estrogen contributes to a reduction in bone density, and increased risk of osteoporosis. As testosterone levels drop, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly difficult. Incorporating daily low-impact exercise can be beneficial, such as brisk walks, swimming, cycling, or yoga, and strength training 2–3 times weekly to maintain bone density and muscle mass. Regular exercise can also aid with improving mental health, weight gain, and low energy.

Sleep: Perimenopause has a significant impact on sleep. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep has been shown to have a negative impact on long-term health and may be one of the risk factors for developing dementia. Poor sleep also leads to chronic fatigue and brain fog. Thus, women must focus on improving sleep hygiene. Consider using an eye mask, white noise machine, disconnecting from devices at least one hour before bedtime, and maintaining a regular sleep/wake schedule to help achieve at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night. Some supplements that might also be beneficial are magnesium glycinate, L-theanine, and melatonin.

Stress reduction: Lower levels of estrogen lead to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies. This leads to numerous mood disorders in perimenopausal women, such as anxiety, depression, feelings of rage, and irritability. Focusing on reducing stress with journaling, meditation, breath work, or spending time in nature can be very beneficial. Supplements containing adaptogens (ashwagandha, rhodiola, chaga, holy basil) can help the body cope with these increased levels of stress.

Gut health: Fluctuating hormones impact the health of our gut microbiome. As such, avoiding foods and environmental toxins that contribute to inflammation in our bodies is essential. Try to buy organic produce whenever possible, and reduce or eliminate pre-packaged foods, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and processed meats. Incorporating probiotic foods, such as kimchi or sauerkraut, or taking a probiotic supplement can help repopulate the good bacteria in our gut.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Newer forms of HRT have been shown to have a significant impact on reducing or eliminating the symptoms of perimenopause, as well as, reducing the risk of several chronic diseases that affect women during this time. Recent evidence shows that these newer formulations (topical estradiol and oral micronized progesterone) do not, in fact, increase the risk of breast cancer or blood clots. This is an option that really should be offered to all women who can safely use HRT, so they may make an informed decision on not only improving their current symptoms but also protecting their long-term well-being.


To learn more about perimenopause and other women’s health issues, be sure to read Dr. Kavita Desai’s new book, Lady Parts: Putting Women’s Health Back Into Women’s Hands, and follow her women’s health & wellness company, Revivele, on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!