Ah, menopause-its the unavoidable thing that links almost everyone with a uterus...including A-list stars like Gwyneth Paltrow.
"I think when you get into perimenopause, you notice a lot of changes," she said. "I can feel the hormonal changes happening: the sweating, the moods. You're just like all of a sudden furious for no reason."
But this isn't the first time Gwyneth has seen the effects of menopause-not on herself, obviously, but as her mother was going through it. "I remember when my mother went through menopause and it was like such a big deal and there was grief around it for her and all of these emotions," she said.
That's part of the reason why Gwyneth came out about her own perimenopausal struggles-to change the way menopause is viewed in society. "I think menopause gets a really bad rap and needs a bit of rebranding," she said. "I don't think we have in our society a great example of an aspirational menopausal woman." And apparently, Gwyneth wants to be that woman.
Hold on, tell me a little more about perimenopause-what exactly is it?
So, menopause is when your period stops permanently and you're not able to get pregnant anymore-and the transition to that period is called perimenopause (also often called premenopause), per the OWH.
Menopause typically happens when a woman is between 45 and 58 years old-so perimenopause can happen when a woman is in her early forties, or even mid to late thirties. (FYI: A good indicator of when you'll hit menopause is knowing when your mother went through it.)
Because perimenopause is a transitional phase, it's hard or you (and your doctor, tbh), to tell when you're in it, but there are some signs that might suggest you're about to hit menopause, like hot flashes or trouble sleeping.
Irregular periods are also a big sign, per the OWH, as they're the first sign you might be in (or going into) menopause. Your hormone levels may also start acting unpredictably (going up and down, which could account for those mood swings Gwyneth mentioned). If your doctor suspects something is up, they can test your blood to gauge your hormone levels.
For most women, perimenopause can last about four years-and the only way you'll know you've hit full-on menopause is once you haven't had a period for a full year-that means zero bleeding, including spotting, for 12 months in a row. Keep in mind, however, that you can still get pregnant during perimenopause (your body's still technically producing eggs), so it's important to continue using protection, even if you think you're on your way to menopause.
Of course, Gwyneth has another reason for coming out as having perimenopause; she's also promoting Goop's newest product: Madame Ovary, a series of supplements designed for women who are going through perimenopause or menopause.
According to Gwyneth, she actually uses the supplements (which contain a mix of vitamins, herbs, phytonutrients, and adaptogens, per the Goop website). "I feel like I have fewer days now when I feel cranky or emotional for no apparent reason," Gwyneth wrote. So, there's that, too.
Anyway, welcome to what every other woman has (or will have) to go through, Gwyneth.