Are you a woman above the age of forty?
Then, you should know about what is perimenopause and menopause and what are its symptoms and treatments.
Perimenopause is the time period and the symptoms that precede menopause.
Perimenopause is a stage when your body begins transition into menopause stage.
Perimenopause includes the years leading up to menopause and the period can be from two to eight years.
It also includes the first year after your final monthly cycle. This is natural phenomenon in women which indicates the ending of reproductive stage.
Before menopause, there will be biological changes taking place in seven to eight years which is known as perimenopause or menopausal transition. This stage indicates the decrease in production of estrogen and childbearing potential.
Perimenopause signs! Estrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall unevenly during the perimenopause stage. Menstrual cycles lengthen and you have menstrual cycle in which you don’t ovulate.
The first sign is you have irregular monthly periods or missed periods. You notice pains and aches in this phase which you have not noticed before. You can face difficulty in concentrating on things.
You can notice pre-menopausal changes in the age of thirties only. Your periods will be heavier, increased premenstrual symptoms, breast pain and other changes in your body. These symptoms do not indicate that you are approaching early menopause. These symptoms are common in thirties.
Causes of perimenopause! Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones which your body produces less as you age. Due to these hormonal fluctuations, you can see changes in your body when you are in perimenopause stage.
Changes in your body with perimenopause:
- Due to the fluctuations in hormones, you can notice irritability, mood swings and depression.
- Your menstrual cycle will be irregular. [Causes of Irregular menstrual cycle]
- Vaginal dryness occurs due to the loss of lubrication and elasticity. It is due to the decrease in estrogen and due to low estrogen levels, you are at more risk of urinary tract infections.
- You experience hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause. Due to this problem, you have sleeping difficulties. The frequency and duration of hot flashes vary from woman to woman.
- Due to the decrease in the levels of estrogen, you lose bone quickly leading to the increased risk of osteoporosis.
- Due to low estrogen levels, body fat increases, muscle mass decreases, collagen in your skin is affected making your skin thinner and less elastic, waist and abdomen thickens.
- You lose interest in sexual activities during perimenopause stage.
- Your ability to conceive reduces due to the irregularity of ovulation. There are less chances of pregnancy however.
You may not experience all the symptoms, but one or more of these symptoms can be noticed. In some women, symptoms can be manageable but in others treatment is necessary.
Oral contraceptives! You can use oral contraceptives for perimenopause symptoms even if you don’t need for birth control. Oral contraceptives available today are low dose pills which regulate periods and eliminate hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and premenstrual symptoms.
When you enter menopause stage from perimenopause, follicle stimulating hormone levels are tested by your doctor after you stop usage of oral contraceptives for a short period.
With this test, doctor can determine whether you are going through menopause or not. Still if you are experiencing the symptoms, you can take hormone replacement therapy.
Lifestyle changes! You have to follow healthy diet to avoid health risks. Eat a low fat and high fiber diet. The foods you have to eat are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.