It’s been just eight days since I blew out the candles on my 40th-birthday cake, yet I already have a nagging sense that something’s changing. A few times a month, I wake up in a pool of sweat, where I lie wide-eyed for hours. In the days before my period, a sink full of dirty dishes can make me weep. And menses itself is often earlier, and heavier, than I expect. Surely, I’m too young for menopause. Right? Not necessarily.

“We’ve learned that women can actually start experiencing perimenopausal symptoms up to 10 years prior to menopause,” says Laurie Steelsmith, ND, author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health (Three Rivers, 2005). “Fortunately, I see a lot more focus today on helping women through this hormonal roller coaster using natural methods.” Consider these remedies for the most common symptoms.