What Is Peri-Menopause And Menopause? Gotta Know! #AMCoffee

Discover Your Place In Peri-Menopause
& Menopause


Damiva personal intimate care for women

We hear a lot of stories about menopause that include flushes and tiredness and sleepless nights. Recognizing the symptoms is one thing. Knowing how to deal with them is yet one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves.

But menopause is not everything you’ll be dealing with. It has a psychological and emotional impact on everything we deal with in our daily lives. When people say and notice that something has changed about you, they probably are right.

Yet before a full-fledged menopause is settled down in our bodies, a woman will typically be going through a peri-menopause that stretches for about ten years. Peri-menopause typically begins at age 40 or 41 and has its symptoms and effects on us and the people in our lives.

The first hormone that we lose is progesterone – the loving, nurturing hormone. Be aware of irritability or intolerance that you may be feeling and recognize it as a hormonal swing.

The second hormone we start to lose is estrogen, and estrogen loss leads to the vaginal dryness that most women will experience after menopause. It’s important to recognize, if we are starting to be uncomfortable with sex and use products to prevent muscle tightening, friction and even tearing of the membranes that will lead to pain with intercourse.

Damiva products for women personal hygiene, menopause peri-menopause, CLEO moisturizer

How Can You Control Your Hormones Better?

1. Excess Estrogen

It’s very easy for our belly fat to get out of control. Try switching your dinners to low carb vegan for 30 days and I bet you will notice a difference. Excess estrogen stays in our guts and leafy fibrous vegetables will help remove them.

2. Stay Away from Caffeine and Alcohol

I’m a morning coffee drinker and evening wine tippler. If you tell me to stay away from both, I am not a happy camper! However, when I am feeling in extreme hormone flux, my body just tells me naturally to stay away from caffeine and alcohol. And it will make a difference. The reason is that both caffeine and alcohol interfere with how our livers process hormones so they create instability.

3. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

When hormonal flux is getting me down, I have to exercise to help control it. And…it’s like dragging my feet up a mountain. In the past, I would bounce to the gym and now my partner has to urge me. He’s really great about making sure I exercise and since becoming peri-menopausal, I haven’t skipped a week in about 5 years. Try finding your exercise buddy who will work with you every week.

4. Sex & Intimacy

Both will generate hormones that will help balance fluctuation and mood.

menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health

As we are celebrating a National Health Week May 15-20, I decided to invite one of the prominent product formulators and a woman-entrepreneur Chia Chia Sun (pronounced chah-chah-sun).

For the past few years, Chia Chia has dedicated her time and efforts to formulate personal care, intimate care line of products that allow each woman to feel comfortable and healthy inside her body, as she crosses that 40’s line. Some amazing insights and research Chia Chia has dug out from her own personal journey.

Chia Chia will be available to us all to ask questions during this week of our AM Coffee. Get ready to ask and learn from her!

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This week in celebration of National Women’s Health Week, our friends at Damiva want to tell you all about what to expect and how to live happier and healthier lives after age 40. We’re going to explore many women’s health topics every day from Monday to Friday during our morning coffee chat. Chia Chia Sun, CEO of Damiva, wants to give you the real-life letter that you wish your mother had given you; along with the healthy dose of love that we expect from Mom.

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  1. robin rue says

    My mom started right around 40 and her symptoms were so bad she ended up having a hysterectomy. I sure hope I don’t follow in her steps in this case.

    • Tomorrow on #AMCoffee, we’ll be talking about why hysterectomy in our generation is often an unnecessary surgery. Fortunately, there are a lot of new options!

      • Rebecca Swenor says

        Chia Chia Sun the hysterectomy is what doc wanted me to get because of polyps growing in my uterus. I told him ‘NO,’ because I didn’t want to take hormones everyday.

        My sister talked about getting the Novasure, and then I talked to my OB/GYN about it. They said I was a great candidate.

    • Elicia P says

      My mom started around 45 so I know I do not have much time left myself..

  2. I entered forced menopause in 2007 and it has been uneventful for me. I know menopause impacts different women in different ways, I know a few that struggled a little and that quickly passed.

    • That’s great that it was uneventful! Hope it is for me too but I already have symptoms such as extremely heavy bleeding every month. Menopause doesn’t have to be difficult – being self aware is key I believe. I could worry about my bleeding or just deal with it because I know it will go away after menopause.

  3. I had to have a hysterectomy several years ago and I was plunged immediately into menopause. Thankfully, I had a patch I wore for 2 years. Now, I don’t really have any symptoms.

  4. Staying active is key to staying healthy. Many women have difficulty when going through menopause. I was very lucky I guess and didn’t have any problems.

  5. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

    AM COFFEE – Sign In! HELLO, Everyone!

    PLEASE Leave your Today’s questions about Peri-Menopause and Menopause for Chia Chia Sun, the CEO of DAMIVA and product formulator, HERE, under this discussion!

    We will be fleshing out some interesting and very much needed tips and information for us to learn and be informed about.

    Having a huge community of women who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s has lead me to seek information that is minimally discussed and shared. All due to the sensitivity of the subject.

    Yet we all are empowered when we know more and learn from the sources and people who have been stydying the topic thoroughly and lived through it.

    So happy to see you today here! Come over when you can. AM Coffee is for early birds and not-so, too! It is open all-day-long, as we do have different schedules we live with.

    Stay with us every morning, win prizes, but mostly, make awesome friends!

    Subscribe HERE to AMCoffe Daily.

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    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      Chia Chia,
      What are some of the foods that you love and eat daily these days?
      Any changes in your diet that you had to make?

      • I had to eat more protein at breakfast. I consulted a nutritionist and gave her a typical breakfast: spelt toast with kale and a fried egg and orange juice. But I was still getting mid-morning carb / coffee pangs. So I learned that I can’t have orange juice (it’s like pop) and I should be having 2 fried eggs with half a bell pepper for the vitamin C. It’s actually the little things that we don’t think about. I thought OJ was good for my vitamin C but it was giving me added sugar that interferes with my insulin (another hormone).

        We eat well at home – no wheat, spelt only if we have grains, sprouted foods, kale every day, organic foods, hormone-free meats. But I have learned that in my 40s, it’s WHEN I eat these foods that makes a big difference. Here’s a typical day:

        Morning – lots and lots of protein

        Lunch – Salad, some carbs, and protein

        Dinner – Vegan, low-carb

        So while I am not really changing my diet all that much in terms of quantities and types of food, it’s when I eat them that is crucial for me because it needs to match my day’s rhythm.

        • Elicia P says

          I noticed you say protein. I am a vegetarian. There are ways to get protein but wondering from your comment. When it is menopause time for me should I be really upping protein.

          • I agree with Laura that we all need to increase our protein as we age. The one comment I would make is that as a vegetarian not to eat too much soy, as it’s a phytoestrogen, in your 40s as this is a period in which we can have excess estrogen. Soy in moderate amounts is always good but not to use it as your only and primary source of protein. I’m Chinese so I love soy, as do my 2 teenaged daughters.

        • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

          Chia Chia,
          PROTEIN increase is what I’ve researched that was recommended with a general aging for both men and women.
          I love your example of your day! This is what we’ve been practicing for years in our family.
          For dinner, we still add plant-based protein and lots of RAW veggies, like in a salad.

          TIP: Do not have too much of “estrogenic” soy products. Just every now and then. Venture out into BEANS and Grains like Quinoa, Hemp Nuts.

          • That’s amazing, Laura! I’ve only started in the last couple of years but it’s already made a huge difference. I find the vegan dinner the hardest as it takes longer to prepare :).

            • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

              We are not totally VEGAN here!
              We push more into RAW, Plant-based, Grains, but we do eat fish and eggs and greek yogurts.

        • Rebecca Swenor says

          This is awesome information Chia Chia Sun and great question Laura. 😀 I actually think my body has been craving more protein. There are foods I eat now that taste different than they did when I was younger too. That one is harder for me to explain.

          • That happens to me too – I seem to be able to “taste” rotten food better, sometimes I just smell something and feel like I know that it’s near or past its expiry date. It could be due to hormonal shifts – they can make us more sensitive to chemicals. I don’t know the answer – but it would make a great scientific study!

    • Rebecca Swenor says

      Hello all. Love this topic this week. It is so awesome we can all share question and even experiences with each other.

    • Katrina Angele says

      What kind of products are you guys coming up with next?

  6. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says
  7. I’ve just started getting hot flashes @ 52

    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      What do you do to “smooth” them out?

      • I have had hot flashes for 3 years now. And over time, I have realised that they tend to be worse when I am eating ‘badly’ (junk food, highly processed stuff).

        • Sara, that’s a great tip and it makes a lot of sense. Our livers take a lot of beating in our 4th and 5th decades because they are trying to clear all our hormone fluxes. So if we eat food with chemicals, our liver is also trying to process those and that interferes with the hormones processing – which leads to the hot flashes, which are spikes of cortisol (the stress hormone).

          • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

            This is a brilliant insight!
            Foods we eat and hormones can interfere with our liver function, leading to hot flushes.

    • Rebecca Swenor says

      I started hot flashes in my thirties. They were almost like pre-hot flashes. In my early 40’s I experienced my first real one with stripping down to nothing and was still hot.

  8. I swear women have a much harder time with her body than men. I am not looking forward to any of this. I am probably close to the first one and that might explain why I’m not able to lose the weight that I want to.

    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      Our bodies do change. I’ve noticed it in many ways. It just feels different from our 20s and 30s.
      Hold on, GRL, we shall live our lives well and at full speed!

    • It is harder for women – we lose our hormones more rapidly than men do. Until my early 40s, I was always the “right” eater who ate small meals throughout the day and didn’t diet. Then, even though I wasn’t changing anything – diet, exercise, activity levels, caffeine, alcohol – I was gaining weight especially around the middle. So I started changing my diet to eat more protein at breakfast, 3 large meals instead of 5 small ones, and a vegan dinner. As we lose hormones, our bodies try and keep our estrogen, which is stored very well in belly fat. So we have to switch things around!

      • Rebecca Swenor says

        Chia Chia Sun I just started noticing a big change in that the past couple years.

        • Yes, me too! But you’re being proactive about learning and sharing – which is 99% of the deal! Did you know that only about 2% of peri-menopausal and menopausal women search for “menopause” on Google? We know there’s a big gap in terms of women talking about these issues and it’s great that you and all the lovely women on these chats are chiming in to close that gap!

  9. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says


    Menopause Symptoms Are Different for Every Woman

    Menopause typically starts at age 51 and is defined as 12 months without a period; however, most women don’t fall into this definition before experiencing symptoms

    Most women are experiencing some type of “menopausal” symptoms before going 12 months without a period. These symptoms can include acne, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight gain, irritability, fatigue, anxiety and mood swings. There’s a lot of confusion about menopause because it can refer to both peri-menopause, the transition into menopause and post-menopause (the period after the transition). The medical and lay person’s definitions are both unclear.

    And, many women, myself included, are trying to deny the onset of menopause because we don’t want to grapple with aging or being made to “feel old before our time.” So we have the societal barriers to overcome as well.

    My experience is that being aware of my menopausal symptoms helps me every day, especially in my relationships. Acknowledging the symptoms – no matter how they are defined medically or by society – will help you find solutions and deal with them.

    TIP: Your age of onset of menopause is heavily influenced by genetic factors, i.e. the age that your mother went into menopause. Other factors include lifestyle and additional conditions, e.g. cancer treatments often induce menopause.

    menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health

    • Rebecca Swenor says

      I literally have all the above symptoms. Because I had the Novasure done I haven’t had a period in 6 or 7 years but doc said it could carry through or last up to menopause for me.

  10. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

    am coffee

    Huge Hormonal Drop

    Women experience a huge hormone drop in this 10-year period compared to men’s

    Men lose their hormones more gradually over a long period and do not experience as many hormonal fluctuations as we do. They will experience same and similar symptoms such as intolerance, irritability, fatigue, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and muscle and bone loss.

    TIP: It’s important to educate both women and men about these hormonal changes, as they are often mis-interpreted, especially in relationships.

    menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health

  11. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says


    Hot Flashes Are NOT the ONLY Thing

    Women experience peri-menopause and menopause very differently, ranging from very few symptoms to extreme symptoms, such as hot flashes for 20 years or vaginal dryness deteriorating into prolapse (when organs protrude through vagina)

    Our bodies change because we are trying to conserve estrogen. There are 3 types of estrogen: Estriol (produced by the placenta), estradiol (made by the ovaries) and estrone (produced by fat tissue, especially belly fat). As we age, we lose both estriol and estradiol, however, our bodies are very good at trying to maintain as much estrogen – in this case estrone – as possible, which is why we build belly fat in our 40s.

    Symptoms can really vary between women as it’s a matter of hormonal balance, race, lifestyle and how menopause occurred (suddenly or over a gradual period of time).

    menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health

    • Rebecca Swenor says

      I have to talk about the thing I call vagina therapy because organs protrude through vagina was mentioned. It really does help with this problem is what my therapist said. I went for bladder leaking. It is not just kegal exercises. It is for other muscles in there too. Chia Chia Sun maybe you can explain this more than I can.?

      • It sounds like Rebecca that you are going to a physiotherapist for pelvic floor strengthening? That’s a great thing.

        I recommend every woman have a baseline meeting with a pelvic health physiotherapist around age 40 to understand if you have any underlying issues. I went to mine and learned that I was breathing the wrong way! When you breathe in, your pelvic floor needs to drop, but when I breathe in, my reflex is to bring my pelvic floor up. That’s because I have problems relaxing. Also, Kegels are bad for me because I don’t want more tightening, I need relaxation of my pelvic floor. Many women as we age don’t need Kegels – they can make things worse.

        Pelvic floor strengthening can help with bladder leakage, painful intercourse, and also help prevent prolapse (the protrusion of an organ through the vagina).

        But no coconut oil – a lot of professionals recommend using coconut oil for the vagina but it’s the wrong pH. I do on-line training for pelvic health physiotherapists every 2 to 4 weeks.

        • Rebecca Swenor says

          That is actually it Chia Chia Sun. 😀 I told all my friends and they told friends. It really does indeed help with many issues a woman has that most don’t talk about.

  12. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says


    The SWAN Study on Hot Flashes – Take A Look!

    Chinese women had a consistently low chance of debilitating symptoms throughout the menopause transition.


    Black women, those with less education, heavy drinkers and those who reported depression or anxiety had a higher chance of symptoms all the way through the decade.

    Early onset symptoms at the start of the transition period were most common among obese women, women with depression or anxiety, women in poor health, and women who start menopause later. 

    And late onset symptoms were most common in skinnier women, smokers and black women.

    Although this study reports that being Chinese may be a genetic factor, other studies show that the Asian interpretation of hot flashes is very different and that, in fact, Asian women are also getting as many physiological hot flashes as non-Asian women however, they are not interpreting them as hot flashes.

    TIP: Mind-body connection becomes increasingly important as we age as women. Practising techniques such as meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy will help. One clinical study has shown that women who undertook CBT had a significant drop in number and intensity of hot flashes after 30 days.

    menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health

    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      DAMIVA products include ONLY plant-based ingredients that are non-toxic to our bodies.
      The DAMIVA MAE product is one of the best and will be available at your local Target or CVS. But you can always check it out online!

      MAE is sold in most major Canadian pharmacies and is available at CVS and Target in the U.S. starting May 19, 2017.

      Save $5 at CVS with coupon code  Save5Mae

      menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health, vaginal suppository

  13. I wanted to give a big shout out to how wonderful Damiva’s products are. I LOVE Mae–the beautiful smell brings a smile to my face every time I use it. Thanks so much Chia Chia for being an advocate for women’s vaginas, peri-menopausal, menopausal and sexual health.

  14. Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says


    Menopause Lasts for The Rest of Your Life

    It is a room you enter; not a door that you walk through and then come back from

    This seems pretty scary to me as a woman who is on the precipice of menopause and didn’t even know that once I go into menopause fully that I will be menopausal forever. What’s it going to be like after I lose my period? Will I be happy or sad? Or will it be a non-event?

    Women often ask me what menopause will be like and my response is, “The worst day of your period for the rest of your life.” I’m not trying to be funny or grim; hormonally I am correct. So it’s important to recognize and adjust mentally to a new hormonal state.

    I hear all sorts of reactions – ranging from “I barely noticed” to “My life changed for the worse forever.” My theory is that it’s the steepness of the slope that matters when it comes to hormonal decline. If we can control our hormones in the 10 years before menopause, we can reduce some of the fluctuations or at least be aware of them and deal with them better.

    menopause, perimenopause, DAMIVA, womens health

    • I have noticed a lot of depression as well … no energy to be ME! and oh the irritability is the worst…I Mean and I’m not normally

      • I totally understand – and you can with positive psychology change things around! I gave a talk one morning to a group of men and I was telling them that my hormones were very low that day and I was sure I would register as depressed on a clinical scale. But they laughed and said there was no way I was depressed – I was giving an animated talk, happy about Damiva, out and about, etc. But I did do a questionnaire later that day and sent them the results – it said I was depressed and may need meds immediately! So being aware is key – and also just ignoring it at some level and doing either what you normally do – or, even better, do something REALLY EXCITING for yourself. Our hormones can really play tricks on our minds – and we can overcome them!!

      • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

        Yes, being irritated by a slight thing seems to be so wide-spread.
        But being aware that it is NOT normal, just hormones spiking in us, does help for self-esteem and knowing that you are not a bad person. Just hormones, yep.

  15. Good subject to talk about and learnt a few facts on here. Something which I dont speak or hear about (as I am a man and not the sort of thing we talk about in the bar)

    • I think your goal should be to know more about menopause than any man or woman at the bar :). That’s awesome you’re learning!

    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      Oh, my, of course, you do not talk about menopause at the bar with your guy-friends!
      But you gotta be aware what your special woman, if there’s one, may be going through!
      Thank you for stopping by and hearing what we are talking at our COFFEE BAR in the morning!

    • Rebecca Swenor says

      Danik You are awesome.

  16. This is a lot of great info. I haven’t hit peri-menopause yet, but I know it looms on the horizon. My mother keeps warning me about menopause and how awful it is.

  17. `I hit perimenopause very early, beginning in my mid thirties when I was in the best shape of my life; extremely skinny and worked out daily. I wish I had this information then!

  18. There is a lot of good information here about menopause. I dont think a lot of women understand the whole process. Thanks for this informational post.

  19. Sarah Bailey says

    My Mum wears patches as she had a hysterectomy so she’s never gone through the menopause completely it is really interesting to know what I have coming.

  20. Menopause can be dealt differently by various people. It should be handled with the right knowledge.

  21. My Teen Guide says

    I had menopause when I was 42. I know there are still women trying to conceive at that age, but oh no, not me. My reproductive system was screaming, “I’m retired.” It was not really difficult for the most part, I only hated the mood swings. My kids would literally stay at their grandmother’s house telling my mother, “mom’s turned into the hulk again today.” LOL. Thanks for the ton of information. I know lots of women dread this phase of aging, but honestly, it is okay. Nothing to be afraid of.

    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      I think what really helps is the INFORMATION we know what menopause and peri-menopause entail.
      Once we know it, we can truly beef up our self-esteem and confidence in ourselves that hormones do swing the mood, and that we are not bad moms and friends.
      Just that alone changes things dramatically.

  22. Thank you for all this info! I belive, at 40, that I am starting into peri-menopause, and it’s really screwing up my life haha! It makes doing, well, anything impossible. Sometimes, I never know if I can leave my house at certain times of the month :/

  23. Now I can understand my mum’s irritability during my menopause. she’s loads better mood wise now so thanks for this insight

  24. It’s definitely important to keep your body active. Exercise is the best form of physical activity especially when you’re experiencing all of these.

  25. I’ve experienced all of these. I made a conscious decision to stay away from alcohol and it was one of the best decisions ever. Our body goes through so much changes during menopause.

  26. I’m only 25 so I think I’ve got a good amount of time before I start recognizing these symptoms! But with the heatwave that’s just hit Canada, I feel like I’m menopausing right now haha!

  27. Thank you for sharing this information. As a man, I think knowing and recognizing some of the symtoms is so helpful for understanding how hard is this time for every woman that goes through this tuff time in their life.

    • Laura, Celebrate Woman Today says

      Oh, our sweet Man Cesar,
      Thank you for your sweet comment!
      Yes, knowing what women after 40 are going through – especially in their emotional and psychological aspects – does help in the relationships, too.
      Supporting each other is what we need to succeed in!

  28. I didn’t know caffeine affects the hormones…. neither did I know that sex balances the hormones.

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