Rated 'Excellent' by over 100,000 customers

How to know if you’re starting menopause

How to know if you’re starting menopause

Have you felt your body’s natural routine changing? Are you noticing your periods becoming irregular, experiencing brain fog, raised levels of anxiety or mood swings, worsening sleep, weight gain or hot flushes? You may be experiencing symptoms of perimenopause. Hormone health and menopause expert Dr. Katie Hodgkinson explains how to recognise the early signs of menopause, the 5 common signs and symptoms of perimenopause, and how to manage your symptoms.

You may also be interested in reading our research of over 1,500 women that reveals the most effective changes you can make to your diet to relieve symptoms of menopause, and the worst symptoms of menopause

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause are stages in a woman’s life that reflect the natural decline of ovarian function, where oestrogen production decreases and ovulation stops. This affects the hormones of the menstrual cycle, resulting in monthly periods coming to an end and bringing about other associated changes, signalling the end of a woman’s fertility.

Perimenopause is the first stage of this process, referred to as the ‘menopause transition’. It is a delicate transitional period that usually begins 4-10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and lasts until menopause. 'Menopause' is the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and when a woman has gone without a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. 

During perimenopause, women can experience up to 30 common symptoms, and on average will experience at least 10 symptoms. There may also be changes to the menstrual cycle including heavier or lighter periods, increasing episodes of skipped or missed periods, and heightened symptoms of PMS including cramps, breast tenderness, fatigue and irritability. Our latest research of over 1,500 women going through all stages of menopause revealed that 60% of women going through perimenopause experience PMS symptomsDespite the reduction in oestrogen levels, it is still possible to become pregnant during the perimenopause.

If you're in perimenopause, we recommend PeriMenoFriend®, an advanced natural, plant-based supplement of phytoestrogens, botanicals, and essential nutrients to relieve symptoms of perimenopause, including brain fog, anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, night sweats, hot flushes, joint aches and weight gain. 

If you're not yet in perimenopause but you're struggling with PMS symptoms including breast tenderness, mood swings and bloating, we recommend PMS Hero®, an advanced natural formula for relieving PMS symptoms and which is shown in research to be effective for 91% of women who take it.  

When does perimenopause start and end? 

Women can experience perimenopause at different ages. As it is a gradual change in hormones, some women notice signs of transition to menopause in their 40’s while others notice changes in their mid-30’s.

The length of each stage of the perimenopause can vary for each individual. While the average length of perimenopause is between 3-4 years, some women may only be in this stage for a few months, but it can extend as long as 10 years for others.



Changes in oestrogen levels in perimenopause

During a woman’s fertile life stage, the body produces oestrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

As you approach perimenopause, the ovary’s output of oestrogen, FSH and progesterone fluctuates and leads to a gradual reduction of these hormones. These hormonal changes can occur in your late 30s and early 40s, and the declining ovarian function often causes changes to the menstrual cycle and a range of perimenopausal symptoms, including bloating, breast tenderness, hot flushes, night sweats and issues with mood, memory, and concentration.

How do you know you're starting perimenopause? 

Research shows that 8 out of 10 women will experience an array of symptoms as they transition to menopause. Each woman experiences perimenopause differently - while some have few or no symptoms, others will suffer from debilitating symptoms. As hormones shift during the years leading up to menopause, the frequency, intensity, combination, and duration of symptoms vary widely from one to another. The most common physical and worst mental symptoms of perimenopause include joint pain, weight gain, insomnia, exhaustion, social anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and loneliness.

Discover our Menopause Hub which has extensive resources to help support women through all stages of menopause.

Stay Calm®

Stay Calm®

5 signs and symptoms of perimenopause 

If you’ve found yourself asking ‘how do you know if you have started perimenopause?’, here we share signs and symptoms to look out for.  

1. Changes in your menstrual cycle

The early transition of perimenopause is defined by almost regular periods and occasionally skipped cycles; as ovulation becomes more unpredictable, cycles can become more irregular with periods becoming lighter or heavier, and the length of time between periods might be longer or shorter.

There can be phases of skipped or missed cycles that can last over 60 days and then your cycle could run like clockwork once again. This menstrual irregularity lasts until reaching menopause. Learn more about perimenopause periods.

2. Worsening PMS symptoms and mood changes 

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) often occurs 1-2 weeks before menstruation and symptoms usually ease after a period arrives. PMS symptoms will vary between individuals, and research shows 65% of women experience anxiety as a result of PMS symptoms, and other symptoms include mood swings, irritability, breast tenderness, and bloating.

Some women are more likely to experience heavier PMS symptoms during perimenopause due to the body’s enhanced sensitivity to hormone fluctuation and irregular ovulation. PMS symptoms affect 20% of women during menopause. For women who haven’t had PMS before, they may find the mood changes and physical symptoms difficult to adjust to. The foods you reach for, and just as importantly the foods you avoid, can all help relieve PMS symptoms - learn more about the best foods for PMS symptoms

What vitamins support PMS symptoms? 

PMS Hero® is the most effective natural supplement for relieving PMS symptoms because it is uniquely formulated with clinically studied ingredients shown to relieve symptoms including breast tenderness, moods swings, cramps, irritability and more. Learn more about how it works in the latest research on the impact of PMS.

Vitamin E and essential fatty acids have also been shown to reduce PMS symptoms including breast tenderness and low mood. Great foods to reach for if you're experiencing PMS symptoms include almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds as well as plant oils such as sunflower, soya and olive oil. Essential fatty acid food sources include omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines), linolenic acid and oleic acid. 

Discover PeriMenoFriend®an advanced plant-based supplement formulated to naturally regulate hormones and relieve symptoms of perimenopause.

3. Hot flushes and night sweats

Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause. affecting 75% of women going through menopause. Hot flushes are characterised by feelings of intense heat spreading through your chest, face and neck, accompanied by sweating, rapid heartbeat and a flushed appearance. 

How to stop hot flushes and night sweats

Reducing intake of caffeine, alcohol and spicy food, and regular physical activity has been shown to help manage and reduce the intensity of hot flushes. These stimulants can also aggravate PMS symptoms and interfere with sleep. 

Plant oestrogens (phytoestrogens), which are naturally occurring plant compounds that act similarly to human oestrogen, have been shown in studies to relieve perimenopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes. Foods containing plant oestrogens include linseeds, flaxseeds, oats, chickpeas, and soy-based foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso and edamame.  

4. Fatigue, poor sleep and emotional changes

Melatonin, the hormone which regulates sleeping patterns, can be impacted as a result of perimenopausal changes, leading to sleep disturbances and increased fatigue. Fatigue, poor sleep and mood swings affect more than three quarters of women during menopause

Oestrogen and progesterone are powerful hormones that affect all tissues in the body, including the brain. The shifts in hormone levels during perimenopause may lead to mood swings or not sleeping well, causing a variety of emotional changes including:

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Social anxiety
  • Mild depression
  • Feelings of worthlessness or being invisible
  • Not wanting to work
  • Feeling inadequate sexually
  • Loneliness
  • Poor sleep or insomnia.

Learn more from our experts on the 8 worst symptoms of menopause and why menopause causes anxiety and mood swings.

Managing emotional changes during perimenopause can be difficult, but it is possible through diet, nutrients, exercise and breathing. Magnesium is known to reduce anxiety, tiredness and fatigue and supports a healthy nervous system for physical and mental function. You may also be interested in 'Vitamins help to improve sleep' or 'How do I know if I'm deficient in Magnesium.'

5. Weight gain

Fluctuating hormones in perimenopause and the natural ageing process can disrupt your metabolism and impact lean body mass, resulting in women often losing muscle and gaining fat during this phase. More than two thirds of women experience bloating and weight gain during menopause, while research shows 90% of women will experience worsening gut health during menopause. 

Our gut and hormones are connected, and imbalances in hormones affect the whole body including weight, the appearance of skin, and hair growth and hair thinning. Hormonal changes, along with lifestyle factors, increase the risk of weight gain, particularly around the abdomen area, which is also linked with worsening hot flushes and night sweats. 

If you're experiencing changing gut health, including bloating, constipation, excessive wind and gas, diarrhoea, or IBS, we recommend Gut Works®, the multi award-winning prebiotic and probiotic with 50bn CFU and six clinically studied strains for rebalancing your gut microbiome and relieving symptoms of IBS. 

Debloat & Detox

Debloat & Detox

Tips to help manage weight 

Staying active in ways you enjoy such as walking, swimming, cycling and running, and including weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises into your routine may help reduce weight gain, and it is associated with fewer perimenopausal symptoms.

Remember, you can also be more active during your daily routine: try taking the stairs; parking further away from your destination and walking; gardening; or even dancing! Read our nutritionists advice on how to manage your weight in a healthy wayYou may also be interested in 'Does menopause cause gut issues?' and 'Exploring the link between diabetes & early menopause'.

How to manage perimenopausal symptoms

A combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and managing stress is associated with fewer perimenopausal symptoms. Limiting consumption of processed foods and drinks, alcohol intake, refined sugars and unhealthy fats is encouraged. 

Following a traditional Mediterranean diet may also offset symptoms and has been shown to contribute to a healthy heart during perimenopause. Learn more in the best foods and diet for managing menopause symptoms

Discover our award-winning range of vegan probiotics, vitamins and supplements

Want to hear more from our nutritionists? Sign up to our email newsletter for insights and exclusive offers:



  1. Sussman M, Trocio J, Best C, Mirkin S, Bushmakin AG, Yood R, Friedman M, Menzin J, Louie M. Prevalence of menopausal symptoms among mid-life women: findings from electronic medical records. BMC Womens Health. 2015 Aug 13;15:58. doi: 10.1186/s12905-015-0217-y. PMID: 26271251; PMCID: PMC4542113.
  2. Llaneza P, Gonzalez C, Fernandez-Iñarrea J, Alonso A, Diaz-Fernandez MJ, Arnott I, Ferrer-Barriendos J. Soy isoflavones, Mediterranean diet, and physical exercise in postmenopausal women with insulin resistance. Menopause. 2010 Mar;17(2):372-8. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181ba56fa. PMID: 20216276.
  3. Ma D, Taku K, Zhang Y, Jia M, Wang Y, Wang P. Serum lipid-improving effect of soyabean β-conglycinin in hyperlipidaemic menopausal women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov 14;110(9):1680-4. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513000986. Epub 2013 Apr 8. PMID: 23561330.
  4. Troìa L, Martone S, Morgante G, Luisi S. Management of perimenopause disorders: hormonal treatment. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2021 Mar;37(3):195-200. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2020.1852544. Epub 2020 Dec 2. PMID: 33263443.
  5. Hassan I, Ismail KM, O'Brien S. PMS in the perimenopause. J Br Menopause Soc. 2004 Dec;10(4):151-6. doi: 10.1258/1362180042721111. PMID: 15667751.
  6. Leite RD, Prestes J, Pereira GB, Shiguemoto GE, Perez SE. Menopause: highlighting the effects of resistance training. Int J Sports Med. 2010 Nov;31(11):761-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1263117. Epub 2010 Nov 5. PMID: 21058218.
  7. Roberts H, Hickey M. Managing the menopause: An update. Maturitas. 2016 Apr;86:53-8. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.01.007. Epub 2016 Jan 22. PMID: 26921929.
  8. Taku K, Melby MK, Kronenberg F, Kurzer MS, Messina M. Extracted or synthesized soybean isoflavones reduce menopausal hot flash frequency and severity: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause. 2012 Jul;19(7):776-90. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3182410159. PMID: 22433977.
  9. Bailey TG, Cable NT, Aziz N, Atkinson G, Cuthbertson DJ, Low DA, Jones H. Exercise training reduces the acute physiological severity of post-menopausal hot flushes. J Physiol. 2016 Feb 1;594(3):657-67. doi: 10.1113/JP271456. Epub 2015 Dec 30. PMID: 26676059; PMCID: PMC5341707.
  10. Pruthi S, Wahner-Roedler DL, Torkelson CJ, Cha SS, Thicke LS, Hazelton JH, Bauer BA. Vitamin E and evening primrose oil for management of cyclical mastalgia: a randomized pilot study. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):59-67. PMID: 20359269.
  11. Sohrabi N, Kashanian M, Ghafoori SS, Malakouti SK. Evaluation of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: "a pilot trial". Complement Ther Med. 2013 Jun;21(3):141-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2012.12.008. Epub 2013 Jan 16. PMID: 23642943.
  12. Seo DI, Jun TW, Park KS, Chang H, So WY, Song W. 12 weeks of combined exercise is better than aerobic exercise for increasing growth hormone in middle-aged women. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Feb;20(1):21-6. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.20.1.21. PMID: 20190348.



No products in the basket yet!

Our customers' favourites...

Hair Saviour®

Curcumin & Turmeric

Gut Works®

Fibre Complex

Skin Saviour®

Vegan Omega 3

Daily Multi-Vitamin

Debloat & Detox

Stay Calm®


Brain Fuel®

Ashwagandha KSM-66®



Shipping and taxes calculated at checkout.

Go to basket