All About Perimenopause

By: James Pendergraft

Are you experiencing mood swings, hot flashes, and loss of sexual desire that are affecting your personal life? Do you feel uncertain about what you might be going through?

Although a great number of women will immediately suspect that they are already going through the menopausal period when they have some of the symptoms mentioned above, this may not be the case. This is because there is a term used for the period before menopause, when all these symptoms can be experienced, and that is perimenopause.

Menopause does not start after the very last period you experienced. Whether you feel that you are too young or too old to go through menopause, you should be open to the idea that you are already going through perimenopause.

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause refers to the months or years directly leading to a stage in a woman’s life cycle known as menopause. Although there are women who may experience perimenopause while they are younger, most women are known to experience perimenopause when they are already in their forties. There are also other women who may never experience any perimenopausal symptoms.

There are also instances in a woman’s life when she experiences menopause without having to go through perimenopause. She has probably undergone a hysterectomy where both or just a single ovary was removed. This type of menopause is known as the surgical menopause.

What are the Changes Brought on by Perimenopause?

There are a number of biological changes that occur in a woman’s body when she goes through menopause. The initial change happens when the ovaries start losing their follicles. This would bring about a slow decline in the production of estrogen that has been noted to be inconsistent.

Because of this inconsistent and slow estrogen decline, women normally have such symptoms as irregularities in their menstrual period. These are also seen to be inconsistent. An example is when a woman is having menstrual periods that are quite unpredictable as to when they’d come for a number of months. She would then have normal menstrual cycles for several months.

Diagnosing Perimenopause

A woman and her doctor are able to ascertain if she is going through the perimenopausal period through careful evaluation of the experienced symptoms like the irregularities in the menstrual periods. Other common symptoms of perimenopause include the following:

* Night sweats and hot flashes
* Mood swings
* Sleeping problems
* Headaches or an increase in the frequency in getting headaches with increasing severity
* Vaginal dryness
* Hair loss or dry skin or both
* Decrease or loss of sexual desire
* Heart palpitations
* Incontinence

Because a lot of the perimenopause symptoms could also be associated with other conditions or diseases like thyroid disorders, it is best if to discuss these with your doctor. This is necessary so that other causes of the symptoms could be ruled out and the underlying reason could be ascertained.

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