‘Why has my sex drive changed so much?’ Your 7 burning perimenopause questions, answered.

Thanks to our brand partner, Aci-Jel

I first heard about menopause not long after I got my period at 11 years old. 

I was lying in a ball of pain and tears on the bathroom floor at home, screaming at my mum to make it go away forever. That's when I learned that when a female reaches a certain age (typically between 45 and 55), her period becomes less and less until it completely stops, and she will no longer be able to have babies. 

This was seriously the extent of my menopause knowledge, and at the time, I had no interest in furthering my education on it because at 11, 'old lady' things were so far away.

But now, at the ripe old age of 40, menopause isn't so much of a fairytale but more a question of when. 

And it was at my 6-week post-hysterectomy appointment last year that I learned that menopause is only the final destination. 

It's what comes before it that needs to be dealt with first: Perimenopause. 

"Sorry, peri-what?" were my exact words to the surgeon as he explained to me what a woman's body goes through before the 'big change.' 

I lightly dabbed my forehead as a montage of night sweats and bloating flashed before my eyes. Were the things I had felt before symptoms of perimenopause? And if they were, are they normal? I had all these questions, yet not enough time to get the answers. So, post-appointment, I did some research about my newfound medical obsession, and I discovered that I was not the only one who had questions. 


So, sit back and pop that cool washcloth on your forehead because your (and my) most burning questions about perimenopause have now been answered...

How can I tell if I’m in perimenopause?

With so many perimenopause symptoms mirroring other conditions, knowing if you have entered this stage can be tricky. There is a bit of an indicator guide you can follow, however it's always best to see your GP who can advise the best health checks based on your particular hormonal changes, and their recommended relief for your symptoms.

Grab a notebook and pencil and take note of your menstrual cycle. If you experience a persistent change of seven days or more in the length of your cycle, it could be an indicator that you are in early perimenopause. If you record a space of 60 days or more between each period, it’s likely that you’re in late perimenopause.

Other indicators are recurrent hot flashes, as well as sleep problems, mood changes, and night sweats. Your age, combined with any of the above, is also a big indicator, with most women entering perimenopause between the ages of 40 and 44 but also as early as 30.

Why has my sex drive changed so much?

Any change in our sexual desire can be challenging to navigate, but know that this change is a perfectly normal (and common) symptom of perimenopause. 

Why does it happen? Well, changes to the sexual anatomy of women during this time can occur for a number of reasons, the first simply being age. As women, it is in our physiology to have a lower libido as we get older.  

The second reason can be due to hormonal changes, or more specifically, the decline in estrogen levels. These changes in hormone levels can impact natural vaginal lubrication, where vaginal dryness can mean itching, discomfort, and pain during sex.


It's often unknown that options like Aci-Jel Restore exist to help your symptoms. It's a water-based gel and is clinically proven to provide long-lasting, soothing relief from vaginal dryness and the discomfort that comes with it. Aci-Jel Restore works to replenish your essential moisture by lining the inside of your vagina and help add more lubrication and comfort.

It's recommended that you only apply it once every 3 days (sex or not) as the gel stays in place for several days.

How can I manage mood swings?

You know how someone says to go for a walk to calm down? Well, turns out it's solid advice with regular exercise being recommended for women experiencing mood changes during perimenopause. 

Besides being an excellent stress reliever and mood booster, exercise can include aerobic activities like walking or jogging as well as slower movements like yoga and tai chi.

A Mediterranean-style diet has been proven effective in managing mood levels and has been shown to encourage better sleep and a decrease in symptoms. Adopting a healthy, balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats is a good start, with limitations on caffeine and sugar.

Stress-relieving practices such as meditation, journalling, and herbal tea can have a calming effect. However, if you are experiencing deep sadness or a loss of interest in things you would normally enjoy, it could be a good time to see your doctor or speak to another professional for greater support.


Am I really losing my hair?

Yes, thinning of the hair can feel like one of the most unfair symptoms that can pop up during perimenopause, thanks to the lower density of estrogen in our blood and the higher concentration of androgen.

In other words – cheers, hormones. 

But the exciting part? Perimenopausal hair loss can grow back – hallelujah!

Why has my sleep been so bad?

As we've learned, perimenopause comes hand-in-hand with rapid changes in hormone levels.

One of the hormones that can be affected by perimenopause (as well as by age) is melatonin, the hormone that your body releases into the bloodstream to promote a regular sleep-wake cycle by controlling your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm.

Oestradiol, a form of estrogen, can also be involved in sleep problems during perimenopause. If your body experiences a fall in oestradiol levels, which is very common during the menopausal transition, the quality of your sleep can take a nosedive.

Night sweats are also a symptom of perimenopause, affecting 75 to 80 per cent of women. These sticky situations occur due to hormone changes that make it harder for your brain to regulate your body temperature. 

As such, night sweats can also cause sleep dramas for you, so open the window, turn on the fan, and keep that pillow on rotation.


Why am I experiencing bloating?

Just like many perimenopause symptoms, you can thank estrogen for bloating, with spikes in this hormone being responsible for our bodies retaining water, thus leading to bloating. 

The flora in your gut and slowing digestion (which causes food to ferment in the digestive tract) can also be the result of perimenopause, with your body creating and retaining gas.

Stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and chew a lot when eating – all of this is believed to aid digestion.

Will I always feel this way?

It might feel like it now, but trust me, you won't have perimenopausal symptoms for the rest of your life. I'll be real with you, though: strap in because it can hang around for an average of 4 to 6 years, and then you will transition into menopause. 

So, get that relaxation music on repeat, book in your GP for support, and keep a cool pack at the ready, because, you've got this. 

Explore Aci-Jel Restore, a clinically proven, non-hormonal, water-based gel that offers long-lasting relief from vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and discomfort. 

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

This information is general in nature and does not replace the advice of a healthcare professional. As with any medical condition, always seek health advice from a qualified healthcare professional.

Feature Image: Supplied.

At Aci-Jel we are passionate about vaginal health and wellness, so all of our products are specifically designed for Bajingos because life is too short to let vaginal dryness and pH imbalances get in the way!