Perimenopause is the transitional stage between having regular menstrual cycles and the beginning of menopause. Basically what is happening is estrogen levels in the body are dropping, and in some women this can be a very noticeable change from what they are used to experiencing.
Symptoms of perimenopause can seem a lot like actual menopause, but if the menstrual cycle is still occurring then this is still considered pre-menopausal. Some of the symptoms may also seem a lot like pregnancy, and it is important to note that women in the Perimenopausal stage can indeed become pregnant, so ruling out pregnancy is an important step in deciding what is going on with your body.
Since perimenopause is considered an intermediary stage it can last anywhere from a couple of years to a more than a decade, and normally occurs in women anywhere from age thirty-five onward towards age fifty.
For some women this stage of their life comes and goes with little notice, while others struggle with this part of their lives until the onset of menopause, only to be greeted with an entirely new set of challenges. There are seven signs that may alert you to being in Perimenopause. If they all seem familiar to you then perhaps you have entered into this new chapter of your life.
Menstrual Cycle Changes
Have you noticed a change in your menstrual cycle? Sometimes during perimenopause a woman who otherwise normally had a heavy flow will start to notice a decrease, or vice versa. Another change you may notice might be the duration of your cycle. A woman whose cycle is usually long may start to notice a shortening, while a woman whose cycle has always been short may notice her cycle is getting longer. Some Perimenopausal womens cycles may also become erratic.
Have you noticed some weight gain? For some women, weight gain is part of the territory with getting older, but perimenopause may be the culprit. Exercise is always a good idea for a healthy lifestyle, but it will come in especially handy right about now to help keep the extra pounds at bay.
Have you noticed a lack of interest in sex? Blame the dropping estrogen levels. For many women this symptom of perimenopause may catch them completely off guard. Have patience and keep reminding yourself (and your partner!) that this too shall pass.
Have you noticed an onset or increase in headaches? Perimenopausal headaches can range from annoying to downright debilitating. When over the counter medication doesnt bring relief it may be time to consult with your doctor.
Have you noticed trouble sleeping? Menopausal women often complain of insomnia, but this condition can affect perimenopausal women as well. This is a good time to stay away from caffeine and establish a good sleep routine if you dont have one already so you can have a fighting chance at getting a good nights sleep.
Have you noticed some vaginal dryness? It can be confusing and frustrating if your mind and soul are in the moment but your body isnt responding, as it should. For now, the answer may be simply investing in some vaginal lubricant, which can be purchased at just about any store in the feminine hygiene aisle.
Have you noticed that you just dont feel like yourself? Researchers at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services researched what they call “perimenopause-related depression” and found that some women simply have a rough time dealing with all these physiological changes, whether they notice them or not.
If you are having a really tough time lately it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider about getting some relief, either in the form of assisting you with your physical symptoms or even in the form of some help for the emotional issues tied to Perimenopause.
It appears that leading a healthy lifestyle, such as getting enough rest, exercising, eating right and not smoking can all contribute to an easier transition from Perimenopausal to Menopausal. When all else fails, sit back and reflect on what an amazing creation the female body is with all its amazing cycles and constant changes, and revel in the fact that youre a part of the wonderment.