Five Signs You Are Having Perimenopausal Symptoms
Many women think of menopause as something that is years – or even decades – away. You may be surprised to learn, however, that the first signs of menopause can begin in your 40s and, for some women, as early as their 30s. The compassionate teams at Professionals for Women’s Health in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH understand the monumental impact that menopause can have on a woman’s life and are committed to offering comprehensive menopause care for patients at every stage of menopause. Read on to learn more about the first phase of menopause – perimenopause – including what signs and symptoms may mean you are beginning this important transition.
Perimenopause vs. menopause
Menopause itself refers to the point during a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing eggs, and her menstrual cycle ceases. Technically speaking, a woman is considered menopausal when she has gone 12 months without a period. This usually occurs in a woman’s 50s. However, the transition to menopause often begins years earlier and is known as perimenopause. During perimenopause, the amount of estrogen and progesterone produced by a woman’s ovaries gradually declines, though her levels are still high enough to have a menstrual cycle and, in some cases, get pregnant. For most women, though, perimenopause causes a sharp drop in fertility as well as a number of other symptoms.
Am I perimenopausal?
If you are in your late 30s, 40s, or 50s and have noticed changes in your menstrual cycle or other new symptoms, there is a chance that you could be experiencing the early symptoms of perimenopause. Five common signs and symptoms of perimenopause include:
1. Hot flashes: Most women experience hot flashes at some point during their menopausal transition, with some patients having regular hot flashes for the remainder of their lives. These can be mild or severe, fleeting or lasting, and are typically characterized by a sudden feeling of warmth or heat from within. Many women also experience night sweats or chills along with hot flashes.
2. Mood swings: Irritability, anxiety, and depression are some of the most common psychological symptoms of perimenopause and may worsen as menopause itself approaches.
3. Irregular periods: The shift in progesterone and estrogen levels during perimenopause can cause a woman’s periods to be lighter, heavier, or irregular. Some women begin skipping periods during perimenopause.
4. Pain with sex: Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse are often associated with perimenopause and menopause. In addition, many women experience decreased sex drive (libido) as their hormone levels begin to decline.
5. Breast tenderness: While breast tenderness often occurs during early pregnancy or at the onset of a period, it can also be a telling symptom of perimenopause.
How are menopause symptoms treated?
It is important to remember that menopause is a natural and unavoidable part of a woman’s life. With that said, the symptoms of menopause can understandably be discouraging and disruptive. Fortunately, menopause care offers women the opportunity to improve their menopause symptoms and feel more like themselves once again. At Professionals for Women’s Health, our dedicated providers will create a customized menopause care plan based on a number of individual factors, including:
- Personal and family history of gynecologic or breast conditions
- Nature and severity of menopause symptoms
- Overall health and other medical conditions
In some cases, it may be safe and appropriate for women to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal symptom relief. During your consultation for menopause care, our knowledgeable providers will help determine the course of action that will best meet your needs.
Enjoy life at every stage with perimenopause and menopause care in Central Ohio
Although menopause is unavoidable, you certainly have options for reducing its side effects and relieving your symptoms. To learn more about perimenopause and menopause solutions to keep you feeling youthful, vibrant, and fulfilled, schedule a private consultation at your nearest Professionals for Women’s Health location in Columbus, Dublin, or Westerville, OH today!