What is Perimenopause – Understanding the Symptoms and Signs of Perimenopause
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What is Perimenopause – Understanding the Symptoms and Signs of Perimenopause

Suffering from mood swings, fatigue, hot flashes? Stop suffering and feeling horrible. Instead, check to see if you could be perimenopausal. Learn more about the transition into menopause, better known as perimenopause

Perimenopause is a condition that leads up to menopause – when the ovaries stop producing estrogen. Perimenopause, on the other hand, is when the ovaries produce less of estrogen and according to womenshealth.gov is what some people call “being in menopause” and is a completely natural aspect of getting older. Learn more about this condition, its signs and symptoms as well as treatment.

Definition of Perimenopause

According to womenshealth.gov, perimenopause is “the time leading up to menopause when you start to notice menopause-related changes –plus the year after menopause.” WebMD, also, defines this condition as a stage that begins when the ovaries produce less estrogen and one that lasts till menopause begins. Menopause on the other hand is when the periods stop completely and the ovaries stop releasing eggs.

Perimenopausal symptoms and signs can be seen in women as old as 40 years and as young as 30 or even younger. WebMD experts state that the average length of perimenopause is four years, however, in some women the stage may last just a few months while in others, it may go on for many more years.

Symptoms of Perimenopause

The symptoms of perimenopause are strikingly similar to that of menopause, except that you are still having your periods. Here is a list of perimenopausal signs and symptoms, according to the experts at WebMD and womenshealth.gov –

  • Changes in periods. They could get longer, shorter, heavier, lighter and the dates may change.
  • Feeling of heat rushes or hot flashes in the upper body
  • Mood changes and swings
  • Decreased libido, vaginal dryness, pain during sex
  • Difficulty in sleeping and concentrating
  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Breast tenderness
  • Night sweats and chills
  • Facial hirsutism and loss or thinning of hair on head

It will be a good idea for sufferers to keep track of period dates and perimenopausal symptoms and signs by noting them down. This will help the doctor or health care professional to make the right diagnosis.

Perimenopause Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of perimenopause is usually based on the doctor’s assessment of symptoms and maybe, blood tests to check for changes in hormone levels.

As far as treatment of perimenopausal symptoms is concerned, a prescription of low-dose birth control pills is known to help relieve some symptoms. However, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any medication.

Alternatively, lifestyle changes and modifications in diet have also known to have a positive effect in alleviating some of the perimenopause signs and symptoms. Here are a few lifestyle changes that sufferers can make in order to experience some relief –

  • Exercising is known to boost mood and also, keep the weight down, leading to a positive self -image.
  • Establish a proper sleep routine and try to nap as much as possible to compensate for any lack of sleep. For more on sleeping better, do read Natural Sleep Aids to Sleep Better.
  • Stop smoking and decrease alcohol intake. This, according to experts, helps reduce hot flashes and prevents insomnia.
  • Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Ensure adequate intake of calcium-rich foods. Also, get enough sunshine for Vitamin D.
  • Practice meditation or yoga to decrease stress and stay positive. For helpful advice on meditation, do read A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation.

Perimenopause is a normal condition and nothing to be embarrassed about. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, do consult a health care professional and as with all medical conditions, be sure to check with your health care professional before starting any medication or making any lifestyle modification.

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Comments (4)

Interesting article. I actually was tested last year to see if my hormone levels were normal for my age, because of some symptoms I have had. Unfortunately everything was "normal" but yet I continue to have abnormalities - the latest thing is that I have not had a cycle in well over a month.

Thanks for a good article capsuling the basics of this condition - hopefully it will reassure some readers and point them in the right direction!

Ranked #4 in Menopause

Hi Natasha and Barbara, Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like the article. Natasha, I hope you feel better soon. Best wishes.

Thanks, Prerna! I have been on the mend now since Thursday :-)