Women are having children later and their daughters are entering puberty earlier, which can mean mom and daughter are entering perimenopause and puberty together. “The stages in a female’s life have definitely shifted in the past couple of decades,” said Amanda Fox, a certified nurse practitioner at Dulan and Moore Dulan Family Wellness Center in Lebanon. “This can have a significant impact on the mother-daughter relationship if steps are not taken to help avoid conflict that can arise from the accompanying hormonal changes.”
Talking about these experiences is one way to manage the very real symptoms that are a part of the process. During perimenopause, women’s bodies begin to produce less estrogen, which usually begins in the mid-40s. For moms, symptoms may include:
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
Girls normally enter puberty between the ages of 10 and 14, experiencing physical and emotional changes. Girls may be surprised, confused or even scared about the changes taking place in their bodies. “It’s also a time where conflict can arise. Adolescent girls may begin placing their friends first and family last,” Ms. Fox said, “which can tend to create adversity, especially between a mother and daughter.” For these young women, symptoms may include:
- Increased height and weight
- Increase in body hair
- Breast development
- Start of menstrual periods
For most mothers and daughters, the wave of change will come to an end with no real emotional scars. Ms. Fox suggests keeping the lines of communication open, even if your teenager disagrees or rolls her eyes. “Give each other space and tell your daughter what you may also need to be mindful of – it’s okay if you’re not feeling well,” she said.
All women should remember there is help and support available. Talk with your family physician or gynecologist about your symptoms and coping mechanisms.
For more information on perimenopause and puberty or to find a Premier HealthNet physician near you, visit http://www.premierhealthnet.com/doctor.