For many women, the first time we hear about ?perimenopause? is when we are experiencing the symptoms of it. The symptoms are mostly similar to those of menopause. Learn more about how to spot perimenopausal symptoms and how to manage them.
What is Perimenopause?
If you haven?t heard this term before, you?re not alone. Also known as the ?menopausal transition,? perimenopause refers to the period of time two to ten years before a woman ceases menstruation. It usually begins during your 40s, but can occur any time between ages 35 and 55. During this time your ovaries begin to produce less estrogen, causing many women to experience some physical and mood changes. On average, perimenopause lasts four years.
Many of the symptoms overlap with what you?ve probably already heard about menopause, like the infamous hot flashes. If you?ve always had premenstrual syndrome (PMS), perimenopause can increase the severity of symptoms caused by that monthly shift in your hormone levels. If you ever experienced postpartum depression, you could also be at risk for more severe symptoms during perimenopause and menopause.
? Mood swings, sometimes very extreme, become regular. Women may go from crying to laughing at a moment?s notice. Some women experience perimenopausal rage, a term used to describe sudden, intense anger.
? Night sweats can cause waking during the night because sweating is so profuse that your clothing and sheets will be soaked. You may get very cold once your body temp cools again.
? Hair loss on the head and hair growth tends on the areas like the chin or chest due to hormone imbalance.
? Sleep loss is common during perimenopause. Sometimes caused by night sweats, insomnia can occur even without them.
? Irregular menstrual cycles including spotting, longer or shorter periods, and changes in flow and the time between periods.
? Urine incontinence and vaginal dryness due to diminishing estrogen levels during perimenopause. This can also affect sexual function and desire for sex both due to dryness and hormone levels.
? Bone loss speeds up during this time.
? Cholesterol increases are also common during perimenopause.
Hope and Solutions
Perimenopause might feel like an era that will never end, but it will. Take a holistic approach to your health to find relief. Be sure you?re drinking enough water to stay well hydrated. Experiencing urinary symptoms may make you want less H20, but even slight dehydration may add to the intensity of your symptoms. Make sure you?re eating right. Remove the aggravators, like nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, that can make your body react extremely to hormone fluctuations. Supplement your diet with a quality multivitamin formulated for women with B-complex, calcium with vitamin D, and a fish oil supplement. While not a replacement for healthy eating, vitamins will help you maintain balanced nutrition. Regular exercise also helps to counteract bone density loss, weight gain, depression, and other mood symptoms of perimenopause.
When symptoms are critically intense, you may need to consider medication options with your doctor. The Pill (birth control pill) can effectively manage hormone imbalances and relieve most perimenopausal symptoms. Anti-depressants also have positive results for some women. Over-the-counter or prescription progesterone creams with the active ingredient ?USP progesterone? may be used, but discuss dosing and application with your doctor before you buy.
Four years isn?t a very long time, until you start to wonder if night sweats and intense mood swings are going to last all that time. Pay close attention to your diet and exercise habits. Talk with your doctor about medication options for intense symptoms. Most of all, know that you are not going crazy and perimenopause will eventually end.
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