What are the signs of perimenopause? You’ve come to the right place! Keep on reading.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause literally means ‘around menopause’ and refers to the stage when a woman’s body naturally transitions to menopause. This happens as a result of the ovaries producing less estrogen. It’s also known as pre menopause.
Perimenopause usually takes place when a woman hits her 40s, 30s or even earlier. This phases lasts up until menopause, which is when the ovaries no longer release any eggs. Estrogen levels speed up in the last 1 or 2 years of perimenopause.
How Long Does Perimenopause Last?
Generally, the average duration of perimenopause for a woman is 4 years, but can last for a couple of months or even 10 years in others. The surest sign of a woman entering menopause is when she goes 12 months without having a period.
You can learn more here: Signs that Perimenopause is Ending.
You’re Not Crazy! It’s Maybe Just Perimenopause
Signs of Perimenopause
Here some of the common symptoms or signs that may indicate you’re going through a perimenopausal transition:
One of the most common signs of perimenopause is a changing menstrual cycle.
When your ovulation becomes more inconsistent, the length of your menstruation cycles may be longer or shorter. You may also skip some periods and your flow may be either light or heavy.
Spotting is also another thing that can occur during perimenopause. It’s sometimes normal, and sometimes not. We recommend checking with your doctor to make sure there aren’t any problems. Spotting can also be a sign of early pregnancy, so please keep this in mind.
If your periods have a persistent change of 7 days or more, it means you’re in the early stages of perimenopause. If the length is 60 days or more, you could be in late perimenopause.
Learn more here: All about Periods in Perimenopause.
Signs of Premenopausal: Missed Periods
One of the most popular menopause myth is that your periods will go from normal, to suddenly stopping one day. This isn’t true.
When you begin to miss periods, you’re probably approaching menopause. It’s actually one of the most comon signs of pre menopause. Officially, menopause begins when you’ve gone one year without menstruating.
Of course, missed periods can also signal pregnancy, so if you suspect this might be the case, please take a home pregnancy test, or check with your doctor.
Some people experience an increase in menstrual cramps during perimenopause. Or, you may start to get them when you’ve never really had them before. This is because of fluctuating hormones.
Learn more here: Cramps in Perimenopause.
During normal menstrual cycles, the breasts are able to retain more fluid before the next period arrives. This is due to the estrogen production that is taking place.
However, the ovarian estrogen production becomes more erratic when a woman reaches the perimenopausal phase. This actually leads to a greater volume production of estrogen. This as a result, leads to fluid retention causing the breasts become more tender.
Signs of Pre Menopause: Hot Flashes
This is one of the most well-known signs of perimenopause, and is the one that you’ll most often hear people complain about.
Hot flashes are feelings of warmth that are strongly felt in the neck and facial areas of a woman’s body. This is usually followed by intense sweating or flushing and can last between 30 seconds to several minutes.
Hot flashes are incredibly disturbing and can even make it hard for one to concentrate. They can last for years even after menstruation has stopped.
Night Sweats: Signs of Premenopausal
This is technically hot flashes that happen at night. Night sweats may occur once an hour and can disturb a woman’s sleep. This in turn leads to insomnia, which could also lead to irritability and depression. Women are likely to incur night-sweat-induced insomnia which keeps them from performing daily tasks at home.
The overall estrogen production, according to some studies is shown to increase during perimenopause, although this tends to be unpredictable. Sometimes, when the estrogen production is high, a woman may likely experience nausea. And in some cases, this could be extreme to the point where one require may medical treatment.
You can get pregnant as long as you still have a period. This means that during perimenopause, you can certainly get pregnant. Please use protection if this is not what you want!
Every woman is born with a certain limit of eggs in her ovaries and after reaching a certain age, the ovaries eventually run out of eggs. This makes the chances of getting pregnant very difficult for the woman who wishes to conceive.
To make matters worse, the quality of the egg diminishes with time, so even if the woman were to become pregnant, there is a greater percentage of miscarriage. This is due to the eggs becoming chromosomally abnormal that can lead the body to reject an otherwise defective embryo.
Many feel that because their periods are erratic, they are unable to conceive, which is why they do not opt for contraception. But if these women do eventually become pregnant, it would be in a time where they are not prepared to go through child-rearing.
Weight Gain: One of the Most Common Signs of Pre Menopause
To reiterate, erratic estrogen production in large quantities leads to fluid retention. This is a bad sign for the body because fluid retention may lead to body swelling.
It is a likely contributor to weight gain as estrogen production can affect the higher brain centers that control appetite, which can boost hunger urges. This is a common phenomenon for perimenopausal women.
Learn more here: Weight Gain During Perimenopause.
Mood swings like anxiety and depression happen quite frequently during perimenopause. The main underlying problem for this is the night sweat-induced insomnia which break the body’s intrinsic diurnal rhythm.
Because of this phenomenon, women have difficulty in doing the many things of their daily lives. This can also affect interpersonal relationships if the woman is unable to make sense of her surroundings. She can even verbalize her concerns to other people presently with her. Transient loss of memory is also common.
Some women experience increased headaches around their period. This is in part because of changing hormone levels. The same thing can happen as you approaching menopause.
Perimenopausal headaches are caused by fluctuating hormone levels, and can even result in severe headaches such as migraines for some people.
Decreased Bone Density
Estrogen is also responsible for the metabolism of bone in a woman’s body. Typically,the calcium in the bones is equally balanced. This means the calcium that leaves the bone is replaced by the calcium that enters the bone.
Unfortunately, when the estrogen production becomes more erratic during perimenopause, it ruins the balance that results in an increase of calcium that leaves the bone.
If the calcium goes to decline like this, it could lead to a common condition known as osteoporosis or loss of bone density.
Low Sex Drive
Many women experience a reduced desire for sexual intimacy when they approach menopause. Some of the major problems that lead to this include altered sleep IQ patterns and chronic fatigue.
Along with estrogen, the ovary – which normally produces the hormone testosterone necessary for sex drive – diminishes, leading to a decreased libido.
Learn More about the First Signs of Perimenopause
Differing Blood Cholesterol Levels
Low estrogen levels lead to low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, which are also known as ‘bad cholesterol.’ This also leads to a drop in high-density (HDL) lipoprotein, otherwise known as ‘good cholesterol.’
These are the changes that could potentially cause a woman to develop heart disease.
The urethra (the tube that directs urine from the bladder) and the bladder respond to the presence of estrogen. And when its production shrinks, it may lead to:
- Frequent urge to urinate (urinary urgency).
- More susceptibility to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Losing the ability to hold back urine along with a boost in intra-abdominal pressure that is accompanied by coughing, sneezing and heavy lifting. This is partially due to the lowered pressure in the urethra caused by decreased estrogen production.
Perimenopause Treatment Options
Okay, maybe you have lots of these perimenopausal symptoms, and you want some help with them! Hormone replacement therapy is the most popular option, but it’s not right for everyone.
Find out everything you need to know here:
You might also want to consider taking some supplements that help to manage hormone levels. You can learn more here: Supplements for Perimenopause.
At What Age Does Menopause Usually Occur?
If you’re experiencing signs of menopause, you probably want to know when your period will stop. Once it ceases for a year, you’re officially in menopause.
Signs of Perimenopause: Have your Say!
What are the signs of perimenopause that you’re experiencing? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.