Perimenopause, or the transitional phase leading into menopause, is not always easy to recognize. Women experience this phase at different ages and levels of
severity. Some may begin perimenopause in their 305 while others may not see the start of this phase until their late 5os While some women experience all of the following symptoms, many have signs that confuse them or can be attributed to other conditions or circumstances. Having a doctor check periodic hormone levels is the only to get a definitive diagnosis of perimenopause, but knowing the more common signs can lead to recognition and understanding of this phase. The following are some of the typical signs and symptoms of perimenopause.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles. Women may experience heavier or lighter menstrual cycles, plus irregularity in the timing of their cycles Menstruation may occur at shorter intervals or skip months entirely.
Hot flashes or Cold Spells. Hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause may result in internal temperature changes, causing women to feel overheated or chilled. Women may experience hot flashes and night sweats, or pervasive cold spells and night chills.
Insomnia. Many women have trouble sleeping during perimenopause. They may not be able to get to sleep, wake up frequently in the night, or wake too early. These different types of insomnia are often triggered or compounded by hot flashes or night sweats and chills.
Changes in Emotional State. Many women experience mood swings during perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations can cause corresponding changes in a woman’s emotional state, such as irritability, euphoria a, anxiety, and depression. Some women even have panic attacks during this phase.
Irregular heartbeats. Changes in hormone levels affect the adrenal glands. Spikes in adrenaline will cause an increase in heart rate and can even trigger heart palpitations or irregular beats.
Fatigue. During perimenopause, it is common for women to feel more tired overall or have periodic days of increased fatigue. They can also experience a sudden, crashing fatigue after feeling normal energy levels.
Reproductive Changes. Fluctuating and decreasing hormones levels can lead to changes in female re productive organs and activity. Decreasing estrogen levels will reduce the amount of vaginal lubrication. Irregular ovulation will decrease fertility. The ups and downs of hormone levels may also have a roller coaster effect on a woman’s sexual mood.
Most women experience these symptoms off and on throughout perimenopause. While many women have only mild signs, some can be quite severe. Women should see their doctors if any of these symptoms become alarming or unbearable. The average duration of perimenopause is four years, but this will be different for every woman, regardless of family history or physical state. For some women, perimenopause lasts only a few months However, this phase can last as long as 10 years. Once a woman has gone at least 12 months without menstruation, she is considered to be in menopause, a state of permanent infertility.
Perimenopause is an inevitable and often confusing phase in a woman’s life. But knowing the signs and symptoms will help women understand how their bodies are changing and what to expect in the future. Perimenopause can be difficult, but the good news is, it doesn’t last forever.