Perimenopause is the period before menopause, it is usually 3-5 years in duration, and the level of estrogen and progesterone fluctuates. This phase in a woman comes with changes in her body functions, menstrual flow, and emotional symptoms.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the period that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Diagnosis is after 12 months without a menstrual period, and it usually occurs between the ages of 45- 55 years. Perimenopause occurs when the ovaries gradually stop functioning. Symptoms vary from one woman to the other.
Symptoms Of Perimenopause and Menopause
The symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause include;
1. Mood Changes
Changes in hormones lead to mood changes and emotions ranging from moments of joy to moments of sadness which can sometimes lead to a person crying over common issues. This is a prevalent symptom in perimenopausal women.
2. Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are one of the first symptoms in perimenopausal women. The frequent changes in hormones lead to irregular menstrual cycles.
3. Vagina Dryness
Vagina dryness is caused by the reduction of estrogen hormone and a drop in the mucous formation in the vagina. Vaginal dryness results in discomfort during sexual intercourse.
4. Hot Flushes
Hot flushes are a sudden spread of heat or warmth on the face and throughout the body.
5. Urinary Incontinence
Perimenopausal women may sometimes experience bladder leakage and urinary incontinence.
Transiting to menopause unveils a roller coaster of emotions and tilts women to a feeling of hopelessness and depression.
Changes in hormones cause irritability amongst perimenopausal women. Irritability means that these women get touchy and are easily upset.
Difficulty in sleeping is one of the common symptoms faced by perimenopausal women.
9. Heavier Or Lighter Menstrual Flow
In addition to irregular menstrual cycles, the menstrual flow could be heavier or lighter in the perimenopausal period.
10. Night Sweats
The change in estrogen and progesterone affects the body’s temperature regulation, leading to night sweats.
11. Low Libido
Low libido occurs due to changes in estrogen levels that result in vaginal dryness and vaginal wall thinness. The stress of other symptoms of perimenopause can lead to a reduction in sex drive.
12. Irregular Heartbeat
Fluctuating levels of hormones may sometimes lead to irregularity in a perimenopausal woman’s heartbeat.
Palpitations in perimenopausal women are a common symptom. Palpitations are a result of decreased estrogen levels.
The rise and fall of hormones lead to frequent headaches during the perimenopausal phase of a woman’s life.
15. Joint Aches
Estrogen protects bones and prevents joint inflammation. During perimenopause, estrogen levels are low, resulting in joint pains and swelling.
Fatigue is common amongst women in the perimenopausal period. Fatigue could be due to the effect of other symptoms and the stress that comes with it.
17. Increase In Allergies
Fluctuation in the estrogen level leads to an increase in the production of histamine, which invariably leads to increased sensitivity to allergies.
18. Skin Problems
Estrogen helps hold water to the skin and moisturizes it. A decrease in estrogen leads to dry and itchy skin.
19. Weight Gain
An increase in appetite during perimenopause usually occurs, which can lead to weight gain.
20. Loss Of Hair
Estrogen and progesterone help the hair to grow and keep it in good shape. The rise and fall of these hormones lead to loss of hair and slow growth of hair.
Menopause is a natural occurrence and not a disease condition for women. See your doctor if you notice these symptoms. Your doctor will place you on hormonal or non-hormonal therapy to manage any perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms that disrupt your daily activities.