Learning More about Perimenopause

By: James Pendergraft

What is perimenopause and how does it differ from the more familiarly known menopause? When can a woman start to experience perimenopause and what symptoms can she expect? Is perimenopause something that all women will face? Perimenopause is actually the stage that occurs before a woman goes into menopause. This transitional period is often expected to happen when a woman enters her 40s but is also known to occur as early as a woman’s 30s in some cases.

Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause

The start of perimenopause in a woman is actually a sign that her ovaries are slowly decreasing their estrogen production. This can last until a woman actually begins her menopausal years, the time when her ovaries stop producing and releasing eggs. The signs and symptoms that are experienced by women who undergo perimenopause include the following:

Changes in sex drive and other sex related changes. Included in the symptoms that a woman may experience is a drop in her libido and the possibility of vaginal dryness as well as discomfort during sex.

A noticeable increase in period related problems. When a woman begins to experience irregular periods when they are used to regular monthly periods and when she experiences such period related problems like increased breast tenderness and an increase in premenstrual syndrome symptoms, it is possible that she is undergoing perimenopause.

Mood swings and hot flashes. These are symptoms that are usually associated with menopause, and women who are undergoing perimenopause can also expect to undergo these symptoms as well.

Urinary problems. A woman can also experience urinary problems when they are experiencing perimenopause. Included in the symptoms are urinary leakage when a woman coughs or sneezes and the need to go and urinate more often than they are used to.

Fatigue and sleeping problems. Fatigue and a marked difficulty in getting to sleep is also another one of the symptoms associated with perimenopause.

How Long Can a Woman Suffer from Perimenopause?

Women who find that they are experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms can actually expect to go through these for a period of between a few months to a few years. Some women can experience perimonopausal symptoms that can last for as long as 10 years or for as short as a mere few months. The average length of time a woman can expect to experience perimenopause is around 4 years. Perimenopause symptoms end when a woman has been through a year of menopause or when she has had a year without her period.

How to Minimize the Discomfort of Perimenopausal Symptoms

There are ways to help reduce the discomfort that a woman can experience when going through perimenopause. One of the things that women can do when they are suffering from hot flashes associated with this phenomenon is to take low-dose birth control pills. This can be done for a short period. Another method is to take progesterone injections. These should only be done with the advice of a gynecologist to avoid complications and other problems.

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