Perimenopause is the stage of a woman’s reproductive life that begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in the 30s as well.
Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, this decline in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women experience menopausal symptoms.
The average length of perimenopause is four years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years. Perimenopause ends the first year after menopause, when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period.
Many women know menopause by the name “change of life.” It refers to the cessation of menses; the phase in a woman’s life in which she stops menstruating for at least one whole year. A woman’s hormone balance can begin to shift at anywhere from her mid thirties to her late forties.
Medical menopause is part of the lives of 25% of women entering menopause, and it is caused by medical treatment such as hysterectomy (removal of ovaries or uterus) and cancer treatments
Symptoms of Menopause:
• Hot flashes due to a decrease in estrogen
• Night sweats
• Irregular Periods: Caused mainly by a decrease in estrogen
• Loss of Libido
• Vaginal dryness: When your estrogen levels drop, your vaginal tissues start drying and become less elastic. Sex becomes uncomfortable, you may be more prone to infections, your vagina is frequently itchy and easily irritated, and, on the emotional side, you may feel older. Sudden mood swing
• Fatigue; an ongoing and persistent feeling of lowered energy level
• Loss or thinning of hair on head, pubic area and increased facial hair
• Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, and mental Confusion
• Dizziness, light headedness, episodes of loss of balance
• Weight gain
• Incontinence, especially upon sneezing and laughing
• Sudden bouts of abdominal bloating
• Bouts of rapid heart beat
• Depression, anxiety and feeling ill at ease
• Panic disorder, feelings of dread, apprehension and doom
• Breast pain
• Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons, and increased tension in muscles
• Digestive problem such as gas pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation
• Itchy, “Crawly” Skin
• Tingling Extremities: This may feel like the “creepy-crawlies”
• Osteoporosis (After Several Years): During the menopause your estrogen levels drop. Estrogen is involved in the process of calcium absorption into the bones. All women will experience acceleration in bone density reduction as their estrogen levels drop.