Healthy Living

Perimenopause Symptoms You Can’t Ignore

As women age it’s normal to enter menopause and both perimenopause and menopause are a natural part of this process. This period should not present a problem that necessarily needs to be solved. However, it’s normal to experience certain symptoms and changes during this transition period.

<p>In general, both perimenopause and menopause occur naturally without any significant disturbance. However, for some women it significantly affects their quality of life. How these changes affect someone&rsquo;s life is related to several factors like genetics, medical history, physical activity, diet, stress, etc.</p> <p><br /><strong>What is Perimenopause? </strong><br />Perimenopause symptoms which appear before the real menopause starts are a common problem that many women face with. Normally, a woman&rsquo;s reproductive life is divided as follows:</p> <ul> <li>Reproduction period</li> <li>Menopausal period</li> <li>Postmenopausal period</li> </ul> <p>The menopausal period can be further divided into three parts:</p> <ul> <li>Perimenopause</li> <li>Menopause</li> <li>Postmenopause</li> </ul> <p>Menopause is a period characterized by an absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. Perimenopause is the time period before menopause starts. For some women, this period is gradual, lasting for several years.</p> <p><br /><strong>When does perimenopause starts? </strong><br />As the life expectancy all over the globe has significantly increased over the last decades, the average age of menopause has changed too. Perimenopause usually starts around the fourth decade of life, and can last for several years. It&rsquo;s common during this time to experience&nbsp;irregular menstrual periods, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_bleeding">breakthrough Fing</a>, etc. &nbsp;<br />On the other hand, menopause officially begins between the ages of 44 and 55 years old. Once there is an absence of menstrual periods for a period of 12 months, we can say that a woman has entered menopause, and is no longer in the perimenopause period.<br />During perimenopause the ovarian function and the&nbsp;production of estrogen start to become erratic. This of course, will lead to unpredictable menstrual cycles. It&rsquo;s common for many women starting in their early 40s to begin noticing signs of perimenopause. Common signs and symptoms of perimenopause include:</p> <ul> <li>Irregular menstrual periods</li> <li>Night sweats</li> <li>Hot flashes</li> <li>Vaginal dryness</li> <li>Mood swings</li> <li>Changes of the breast tissue</li> <li>Gradual weight gain</li> <li>Abdominal fat</li> <li>Insomnia</li> <li>Low libido</li> <li>Hair thinning</li> <li>Dry skin</li> <li>Heart palpitations</li> <li>Frequent headaches and even migraines</li> <li>Poor concentration</li> <li>Increased risk for other diseases or complications, etc.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p><strong>What causes perimenopause?</strong><br />During these reproductive phases various glands of the human body work together to control hormone production. The most important glands in this transition period are the thyroid, the ovaries, and the pituitary gland. Other tissues or organs of the human body secrete hormones as well and that have an influence in the reproduction function like the breast tissue, adipose cells, or the uterus.<br />The major hormonal changes which occur during these three phases in a woman&rsquo;s life include changes in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.<br />Estrogen is mostly secreted in the ovaries. There are three types of this female hormone, estradiol, estriol, and estrone. All these three hormones are responsible for normal female reproductive function, having a smooth skin, having fat around the hips and thighs as well as for the presence of other female qualities. On the other hand, progesterone is the one that prepares the uterus for pregnancy.<br />In cases when the human body does not produce the necessary amount of estrogen needed, you will enter menopause. Because this hormone has important effect on various parts of the body it leads to the development of various signs and symptoms as a result of decreased estrogen levels.<br />Is it possible to get pregnant during perimenopause? Yes, it is still possible to get pregnant during perimenopause even though it is a little bit harder than usual. As the menstrual cycle becomes irregular, and the fertility starts decreasing, it is still theoretically possible to get pregnant until entering menopause.<br /><strong>Facts about perimenopause</strong></p> <ul> <li>Perimenopause on average lasts about 4 years.&nbsp;</li> <li>Less than 10% of women enter menopause before the age of 40 years old.&nbsp;</li> <li>Women enter menopause from perimenopause usually after the age of 51 years old.</li> <li>If you are a smoker you are more likely to enter perimenopause and menopause earlier than those who do not smoke.&nbsp;</li> <li>Common symptoms of perimenopause include insomnia, hot flashes, and mood swings.</li> <li>You can still become pregnant during the perimenopause period.</li> <li>You can no longer become pregnant after entering menopause.&nbsp;</li> <li>About 50% of women don&rsquo;t treat perimenopause symptoms.&nbsp;</li> <li>Gradual decrease of estrogen levels increases the risk for various conditions or complications, including <a href="https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/default.htm">osteoporosis</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Perimenopause vs. Premenopause</strong><br />These two terms are often used to describe the same period of time occurring before menopause. However, <a href="https://www.obgynqueensnyc.com/services/premenopause-and-menopause/">premenopause</a> is any time before menopause, while perimenopause is the period of several years to several months before menopause starts, which is characterized by the presence of various signs and symptoms.<br /><strong>Perimenopause vs. Menopause</strong><br />Perimenopause is considered the period before menopause, which means that you are still getting your menstrual periods, even though they might have become very irregular. The signs and symptoms of these two periods are the same. However, these symptoms which are mentioned &ndash; above are more noticeable during menopause.<br />Certain factors can make your symptoms worse or speed up menopause. Such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, leading a sedentary life, poor diet, suffering from chronic medical conditions, etc.<br />Perimenopause and menopause treatment<br />As mentioned, about 50% of women don&rsquo;t treat their symptoms. However, it is good to know that the following treatments are available if you want to manage your signs and symptoms or if these signs and symptoms are significantly interfering with your life:</p> <ul> <li>Hormone replacement therapy, and&nbsp;</li> <li>Progesterone cream</li> </ul> <p>You should be aware of the fact that according to some studies, hormone replacement therapy increases the risk for several diseases, like:</p> <ul> <li>Urinary incontinence</li> <li>Breast cancer</li> <li>Blood clots</li> <li>Cardiovascular diseases,&nbsp;</li> <li>Stroke,&nbsp;</li> <li>Memory loss</li> <li>Dementia, etc.</li> </ul>

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