Once considered very rare, today Perimenopause is found in many women troubling them and thus affecting their mood. Perimenopause is also known as menopause transition phase or ‘around menopause’. Perimenopause is known as menopause transition phase because it happens before menopause. Menopause officially marks the end of female reproduction i.e., menopause occurs when women stop menstruating.
There’s not much of a difference between Menopause and Perimenopause, but symptoms and their effect on a female body are completely different. Many women do not understand the symptoms of menopause, hence go through difficult stages in their life without going for any medication or changing their lifestyle. Once you understand the symptoms of perimenopause, it will be easy for you to have a clear idea about what is going on in your body and hence make the necessary changes in your lifestyle or take medication if the symptoms are abnormal, to regain the control of your body.
It is very important for you to understand what is perimenopause, when does it occur, what are its symptoms and how it can affect you. Once you understand all this, you can also easily find out the best way to make changes in your lifestyle so that you can handle this life-changing phase more carefully.
According to North American Menopause Society, perimenopause can have a timeline of 4 to 8 years i.e., the condition of Perimenopause can last for about 4 to 8 years. It is also found out by various research organizations that the average length of Perimenopause is 4 years, but it may last for about 8 to 10 years. Usually, Perimenopause occurs to women when they are in their 40’s but it may also hit women in their 30’s. Perimenopause ends when a woman goes through 12 month period without having her periods i.e. when she officially hits Menopause.
You need to keep in mind that for most of the women, Perimenopause is a completely normal, gradual process and not a disease that needs treatment. The need of consulting a doctor or going for medication arises only if the symptoms are abnormal and are so intense that they tend to interfere in your day to day life.
Perimenopause marks its occurrence by a drop in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In the last couple of years of Perimenopause, women experience a significant drop in estrogen, the main female hormone produced by ovaries.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
A woman’s body gives out various signs to mark the beginning of Perimenopause and if one puts in little effort to understand these symptoms it will be easy to identify the stage and cope up with it. Symptoms of Perimenopause may be many but we have included a list of symptoms which are common in almost all the women who have experienced perimenopause. This is not an exhaustive list, though we can say with certain surety that, these are the most important warning signs:
- Hot Flashes
- Weight gain
- Worst Premenstrual Syndrome
- Muscle aches
- Loss of sex drive
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Heavier or lighter periods than ever before
- Urinary urgency
- Urinary leakage especially when coughing or sneezing
- Vaginal Dryness
- Sleeping trouble
- Breast tenderness
- Fertility issues
- Night Sweats
- Anxiety or irritability
Due to lesser and lesser production of estrogen, the women may start experiencing menopause. As the production of estrogen is so less that eggs are no longer released, this eventually causes your period to stop.
When do I need to see a doctor?
Many women face difficulties in differentiating a normal perimenopause and a perimenopause which needs immediate medical assistance. Though irregular periods are common during the stage of Perimenopause, there are certain things that you should not ignore and consult a doctor as soon as you experience these things. The situation that requires immediate medical assistance is:
- Heavy periods or blood clots
- Periods lasting more day than usual
- Experiencing spots in between periods
- Spotting while having sex
- Periods happening closer together
Solutions to help manage your Perimenopause
- Weight Reduction
If you are overweight, try to reduce your weight and make sure you inculcate a nutritious diet so that you can cope up well during Perimenopause stage.
- Regular Exercise
To be fit mentally you have to be fit physically, hence take out time for yourself and start exercising at least 5 times a week if you aren’t doing it lately. If you are exercise regularly, continue it.
- Stop Smoking and consume less alcohol
If you are a smoker, stop smoking as smoking can lead to dangerous consequences during this stage and try to consume a lesser quantity of alcohol as possible, it would be great if you completely give up on alcohol.
- Healthy Sleep
Sleeping for a minimum of 6 to 7 hours is very important at this stage and make sure you get quality sleep in these 6 to 7 hours. If you are experiencing problems with sleep, you should try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Diet and Nutrition
Due to hormonal changes and lack of vitamins in your body during this stage, it is important for you to give importance to what you eat and how much of it you eat. Do eat lots of vegetables, consume food items that contain proteins and eat as many whole grains as possible.
- Consult your doctor to inquire if you can take multivitamins
Before consulting a doctor or an expert, be very clear about your symptoms and goals of treatment. This will help your doctor make a customized plan that will help you overcome the problems in a smooth manner.