Five Signs You Are Having Perimenopausal Symptoms
Many women think of menopause as something that is years or even decades away. You may be surprised to learn, however, that the first signs of menopause can begin in your 40s and, for some women, as early as their 30s. The compassionate teams at Professionals for Womens Health in Columbus, Dublin, and Westerville, OH understand the monumental impact that menopause can have on a womans life and are committed to offering comprehensive menopause care for patients at every stage of menopause. Read on to learn more about the first phase of menopause perimenopause including what signs and symptoms may mean you are beginning this important transition.
Understanding The Menopausal Transition
Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause.
The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.
Menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones. If you have surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus and are not taking hormones, you will experience the symptoms of menopause immediately.
This time in a woman’s life is often full of other transitionsnot just physical ones. Women may be caring for aging parents or relatives, supporting their children as they move into adulthood, or taking on new responsibilities at work.
The Common First Signs Of Perimenopause: Irregular Periods Spotting Or Heavy Bleeding
Hormonal fluctuations in perimenopause usually cause changes to a womans periods.
One of the first signs that most women notice of the perimenopause is that their periods become shorter than normal or they experience spotting or heavy bleeding, says Dr Rosen. Thats linked to the decline in the hormone progesterone, which is produced by your ovaries.
Progesterone helps the endometrium the tissue inside the uterus stick to the walls of the uterus, which helps take care of a pregnancy. When the levels of this hormone decrease, the endometrium can no longer stick to the walls of the uterus, which is why women may experience such erratic bleeding.
There may also be heavy bleeding during womens periods before menopause because the level of oestrogen becomes increased before declining. The production of oestrogen and progesterone continues to decline to extremely low levels, which is when you reach menopause.
So, what are the symptoms of perimenopause, and what can help?
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What Are The Stages Leading Up To Menopause
After puberty, there are three other phases of female fertility:
- Pre-menopause: Women have full ovarian function, regularly produce estrogen and ovulate.
- Perimenopause: The ovaries begin to fluctuate in their ovulation and production of estrogen, which can result in unpredictable menstrual cycles and symptoms.
- Menopause: When the ovaries have shut down. Someone would be in menopause after 12 months without menses.
Keeping An Active Sex Life
Menopause can reduce a persons sex drive and lead to vaginal dryness, but it also removes the need for birth control. For some, this can make sex more enjoyable.
Having sex often can increase vaginal blood flow and help keep the tissues healthy.
Some tips for maintaining sexual health and activity during menopause include:
- staying physically active
- avoiding tobacco products, recreational drugs, and alcohol
- taking the time to become aroused, which will improve lubrication
- doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
- not using any strong soaps around the vagina, as these can worsen irritation
Also, menopause symptoms lead some people to find satisfying forms of sex that do not involve the vagina as much or at all.
It is worth remembering that, while a woman cannot become pregnant once menopause starts, it is still important to use barrier protection during penetrative sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Often, sexual partners will be getting older and may be experiencing menopause at the same time. They, too, may be feeling a drop in sex drive. Opening up about any concerns can help both partners feel better and explore new forms of intimacy.
Menopause is a stage in life, not an illness. Most women experience natural menopause during midlife. However, surgery and other factors can cause menopause to start earlier.
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Menopause Symptoms At Age 45
Around the age of 45 many women enter pre-menopause and start to notice the first signs that menopause is coming. For some women, the symptoms are mild and short-lasting. For others, menopause symptoms can be disruptive and long-lasting.
Some of the earliest signs of menopause may include:
Changes to your period
Period changes are usually the first signs of menopause. For example, your period may start to happen every six to eight weeks. Or you may miss a couple months before it comes back again. You may also have a heavier flow or a lighter flow from time to time.
That said, its important to know you can still get pregnant during perimenopause. So, continue to use birth control in the lead up to menopause as you normally would. Also, if youve missed your period and youre not sure whether perimenopause has started, consider taking a pregnancy test as a first step.
As your hormone levels change, you may find yourself more irritable, anxious, sad or forgetful than usual. Your sex drive can also decrease or increase.
These changes are very typical as your body approaches menopause. So, be kind to yourself, practice self-care and ask for help if youre having trouble.
You may find it difficult to get to sleep, or you may wake up in the middle of the night. Sleep trouble can contribute to a constant feeling of tiredness, which can make you moodier.
What Are Early Menopause Signs And Symptoms
Early menopause symptoms are similar to those of menopause at a normal age. The menopause process, at any age, is triggered by hormone fluctuations. However, depending on the cause of its onset, the frequency and severity of symptoms may vary.
Women generally start noticing symptoms when they enter perimenopause, the second stage of the menopause process. When it occurs naturally, perimenopause can last up to 10 years or, in the case of surgical removal of reproductive organs, it can be completely bypassed, as the body enters menopause immediately after surgery.
When menopause naturally occurs, symptoms tend to be mild and infrequent. However, when early menopause occurs due to the removal reproductive organs, the body experiences an abrupt decrease in hormone production, increasing the severity and duration of menopause symptoms.
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Risk Factors For Early Menopause
Premature ovarian failure affects about 1 out of every 1000 women from ages 15 to 29 and about 1 out of every 100 women aged 30 to 39. It can be related to genetic factors, to illnesses like autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, viral infection, hormonal disorders, and eating disorders. The risk of premature ovarian failure risk increases in women who have relatives with the condition.
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered âsystemicâ therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called âlocalâ therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
Changes In Your Skin: Wrinkling And Loss Of Muscle Tone
When your estrogen levels drop, your collagen production usually slows down as well. And, as youve probably heard, collagen has a role in keeping our skin toned, fresh-looking and resilient. So when you start running low on collagen, it shows in your skin. It gets thinner, drier, flakier and less youthful-looking.
This is another of those symptoms of menopause that makes you feel older before your time and, in this case, its clear why. You may look a little older than you used to. Worst, this sign often shows up early in menopause. Like bone loss, which occurs rapidly in the first few years of menopause, collagen loss is most rapid at the beginning of menopause as well.
According to studies, premature menopause leads to more rapid bone loss than menopause that occurs at the normal age so its possible that premature menopause also leads to more rapid collagen loss. The bottom line is, well, more lines on your face and before you expected them.
How To Cope
Since this change in your skin occurs because of low estrogen levels, when you increase your estrogen levels , you are likely to see an improvement. Other than this though, there isnt a lot you can do.
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Make Early Menopause The Beginning Of Good Self
Early menopause can have a deep emotional impact on your life, and your plans for the future. Early menopause often comes on suddenly and unexpectedly and that can make you feel disappointed and mad at your body. By taking everything one day at a time, you can move past the emotional and physical challenges of early menopause and support your body.
As women, were often told what menopause is going to mean for us, usually in a negative way. While you may be confused about when menopause will start or think Im not ready for this we want you to know that you can take control and make this time of your life a wonderful one.
1 World Health Organisation Scientific Group. 1996. Research on the menopause in the 1990s. 866.
2 Olsen, D. Early menopause: How common is it? URL: http://www.menopauseatoz.com/How_Common_is_Early_Menopause.shtml .
3 Page, J. 2007. Menopause at 30 for millions in poverty. Doctors identify malnutrition link. Problem greater in rural areas. URL: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines07/0123-03.htm .
Kok, H., et al. 2007. Genetic studies to identify genes underlying menopausal age. Hum. Reprod. Update, 11 , 483493. URL: http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/11/5/483 .
4 Torgerson, D., et al. 1997. Mothers and daughters menopausal ages: Is there a link? Eur. J. Obstet. Gynecol. Reprod. Biol., 74 , 666. URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9243205 .
7 Wikipedia. 2011. Apolipoprotein E. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apolipoprotein_E .
Signs Of Menopause: What To Look Out For
Menopause is the natural decline of female hormones in the body. Menopausal women stop having periods because theyre no longer ovulating. Menopause happens at different ages for different women, but the average American woman goes through menopause between 45 and 55. According to the U.S. Office on Womens Health, the average age for menopause in the United States is 52. Symptoms of menopause may begin in the years before you stop getting a menstrual period, referred to as perimenopause. If you have any of the following signs of menopause, it may be time to talk to your OB/GYN about how to treat your symptoms and protect your health.
by Haley FritzFeb 2, 2021
When you think of a woman going through menopause, you might think of symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or mood swings.
These symptoms receive a lot of attention due to the fact that there are over-the-counter and prescription drug remedies designed especially to target them. However, the symptoms of menopause are actually far more complex than these companies let on!
In total, there are 34 different symptoms that can be attributed to menopause. A woman going through menopause might experience some or all of these symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.
Read on to learn more about the menopause process and how it might affect a womans health and well-being.
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Symptoms Of Premature And Early Menopause
The symptoms of early menopause are the same as for menopause at the typical age and can include:
- menstrual cycle changes, including changes to the usual bleeding pattern, particularly irregular bleeding
- hot flushes
The 34 Symptoms Of Menopause
The average age of menopause is 51. Menopause refers to a period in a womans life when she stops having a menstrual period. Many people think that a woman stops having her period overnight when in reality, menopause is a process that can last for years.
The period leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause. Most women begin perimenopause in their 40s. Some women may experience so few symptoms that they do not realize they have entered perimenopause . However, for others, symptoms can be severe and life-altering.
There are a total of 34 symptoms that can signify the arrival of menopause, which range from mild to disabling in nature.
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Enjoy Life At Every Stage With Perimenopause And Menopause Care In Central Ohio
Although menopause is unavoidable, you certainly have options for reducing its side effects and relieving your symptoms. To learn more about perimenopause and menopause solutions to keep you feeling youthful, vibrant, and fulfilled, schedule a private consultation at your nearest Professionals for Womens Health location in Columbus, Dublin, or Westerville, OH today!
Increased Risk Of Some Health Conditions
After menopause, the risk of certain health issues appears to increase. Menopause does not cause these conditions, but the hormonal changes involved may play some role.
Osteoporosis: This is a long-term condition in which bone strength and density decrease. A doctor may recommend taking vitamin D supplements and eating more calcium-rich foods to maintain bone strength.
Cardiovascular disease: The American Heart Association note that, while a decline in estrogen due to menopause may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, taking hormone therapy will not reduce this risk.
Breast cancer: Some types of breast cancer are more likely to develop after menopause. Menopause breast cancer, but hormonal changes involved appear to increase the risk.
Skin changes can also occur around the time of menopause. Find out more.
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What Are The Risks Of Pregnancy During Perimenopause And Menopause
Pregnancy becomes riskier as you age above 35. Here are some of the risks for both you and the baby .
- IVF treatment could result in multiple fetuses. This is likely to cause preterm labor, low birth weight in babies and delivery complications.
- High blood pressure could lead to preeclampsia.
- Gestational diabetes.
- Placenta previa, in which the placenta lies low in the womb and causes problems during childbirth.
- Placental abruption in which the placenta is detached from the womb, causing fetal growth problems, stillbirth, and premature birth.
- Stillbirth or miscarriage.
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How Is Menopause Diagnosed
If you believe you are going through menopause and have concerns, talk to your doctor. Menopause does not require an official diagnosis unless you want to confirm it. Your doctor may order a blood test to check your hormone levels. They will check for estrogen as well as a follicle-stimulating hormone .
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What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
You may also want to ask your healthcare provider:
- How long should I expect perimenopause to last?
- What can I do to decrease symptoms naturally?
- Am I a candidate for hormone therapy?
- What are the signs perimenopause is ending?
- What do I need to do to take care of my health through this transition?
- Am I up-to-date on all my health screening tests such as a pap smear and mammogram?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Perimenopause is the transition to menopause. During perimenopause, you may start having menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings or vaginal dryness. Most perimenopause symptoms are manageable. But if you need help managing symptoms, medications and other treatments are available. For some people, estrogen therapy may be an option. Perimenopause can last from a few months to several years. Perimenopause ends when youve had no period for a full year. At that point, you enter menopause.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/25/2021.
Changes In Pms And Cramps
PMS happens to any woman, even before menopause. During menopause, however, it either increases in frequency or intensity. PMS is one of the most common forms of hormonal imbalance, and as a womans hormonal balance gets further strained by menopause, PMS intensifies. Women who suffer from PMS early in life before menopause will most likely experience more telling effects as they enter menopause.
Early Signs of Menopause #3
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Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
One of the major symptoms of menopause, hot flashes can make your whole body uncomfortably warm for a minute or more. Your face flushes, you perspire, and it feels like your heart is racing. You may wake up hot and sweaty at night, even though your room is cool.
What to do: To reduce the discomfort of hot flashes, dress in layers during the day, and in light pajamas at night. Keep a cool bottle of water close at hand, and use an ice pack to cool your pillow at night.
Can My Diet Affect How Well I Sleep
The following tips can help reduce sleep problems:
- Eat regular meals at regular times.
- Avoid late-night meals and heavy late-night snacks.
- Limit caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola drinks. Caffeine stays in the bloodstream for up to 6 hours and can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid alcohol. It may make you feel sleepy, but it actually affects the cycle of REM and non-REM sleep. This may cause you to wake up throughout the night.
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