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What Is The Difference Between Perimenopause And Menopause

What Treatments Are There For Perimenopause Symptoms

What is the difference between menopause and perimenopause?

If you think youre experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, and if theyre getting in the way of your daily life, its a good idea to speak to a doctor.

If youre having symptoms before the age of 45, you might need a blood test to check your hormone levels otherwise, a diagnosis of perimenopause or menopause can be reached by discussing your symptoms.

The main prescription treatment for symptoms like hot flushes, mood changes and vaginal dryness is HRT . There are lots of different types of HRT some, for instance, are designed just to treat vaginal symptoms so there may be a type thats right for you.

Other prescription treatments including antidepressants, which can help with mood changes as well as some of the physical symptoms.

Medication aside, there are some lifestyle changes you can make which may help with some of your symptoms:

  • Get more active exercise can help combat weight gain, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and boost your mood
  • Eat a healthier diet to ensure youre a healthy weight and properly nourished
  • Manage hot flushes by cutting out or reducing triggers like spicy food, caffeine and alcohol and by sleeping in a cooler bedroom
  • Use vaginal moisturisers and lubricants

References

Hot Flash Symptoms May Start In Perimenopause But Continue After Menopause

Women who have moderate to severe hot flashes may experience them beyond the perimenopause stage. In fact, research published in September 2014 in the journal Menopause found that many women continue having hot flashes for nearly a decade after menopause, although the severity of the symptoms begins declining after about two years.

Women who are younger when they start perimenopause typically experience symptoms longer than women who are older, Santoro says.

Hormone therapy is still the best treatment for most perimenopausal symptoms. Other women find relief from making lifestyle changes or trying natural remedies.

RELATED: Past Trauma Linked to Hot Flashes and Other Menopause Symptoms

Againwhy Obgyn’s Don’t Establish Each Woman’s Baseline Hormone Panel Is Beyond Comprehension

They really ONLY see them as means to reproduction.

That will change but in the meantime, demand your hormone panel annually.

If you’re reading this, that time has probably passed but pass it on to younger siblings, daughters, and friends.

We need to look out for each other!

For perimenopause, the early telltale signs are:

  • Irregular or changes in cycle and/or period
  • Changes in weight, cholesterol , fatigue, or sleep
  • Changes in mood including anxiety, depression, panic response, irritability
  • Incontinence, UTI’s, changes in immune response
  • Histamine or allergy increases

There’s a great review of what to look for in terms of symptoms:

  • New-onset heavy and/or longer flow
  • Shorter menstrual cycles
  • New sore, swollen or lumpy breasts
  • New mid-sleep wakening
  • Onset of night sweats, in particular premenstrually
  • New or markedly increased migraine headaches
  • New/increased premenstrual mood swings
  • VMS is short for vasomotor symptoms tied to hormone shift such as hot flashes, etc.

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    So when your doctor doesn’t check your hormones and instead, write a script for SSRI’s or benzos…get very angry. Very angry.

    Check out Siberian Rhubarb review if you’re afraid of estradiol replacement.

    Those disease risks are more from longer-term loss of hormones. That’s menopause!

    Did You Know The Difference Between Perimenopause And Menopause

    Difference Between Perimenopause and Menopause ...

    If you didnt, thats okay. Even the most highly educated among us werent taught the distinction.

    Furthermore, not many of us know how long its going to last, what the experience of midlife hormones will look and feel like, and how to assess when our symptoms are not within the expected range.

    The reality is, while so many mothers strive to send their adolescent daughters fully informed into puberty, theres a lack of information for women in perimenopause.

    Again, this shows that our society doesnt value women after childbearing age.

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    Summary Of Menopause Vs Post Menopause

    • Menopause and post menopause are both normal stages that occur during the lifetime of a woman.
    • Both conditions represent a decrease in the female hormones of progesterone, estrogen and the hormone FSH.
    • Menopause occurs before post menopause and it usually begins about 45 to 50 years of age.
    • Post menopause occurs after menopause and often the symptoms of menopause are greatly decreased at this time.
    • Post menopause does bring a very high risk of osteoporosis and thus many women take supplements or prescriptions to reduce the chances of having this illness.

    Ht Forms And Regimens

    HT comes in several forms:

    • Oral tablets or pills
    • Vaginal ring
    • Topical gel or spray

    HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” 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 “local” 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.

    “Bioidentical” Hormones

    “Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.

    The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.

    Read Also: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause

    Treatment For Menopause Perimenopause And Postmenopause

    Menopause is a natural part of each womans aging process. It isnt something that typically requires medical treatment. However, if the symptoms of menopause, perimenopause or postmenopause significantly interfere with your life, talk to your Baptist Health provider. Your doctor may offer dietary, exercise and lifestyle suggestions to help make the transition a bit easier. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend hormone replacement therapy . However, HRT is not the common menopause treatment option it was in the 1980s and 90s. Talk to your Baptist Health provider about how HRT could affect your heart health and breast or reproductive cancer risks.

    Managing Perimenopause And Menopause Symptoms

    What is the difference between perimenopause & menopause?

    There are several treatments available today to treat both perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines, complementary therapies and home remedies, including the following:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats are called vasomotor symptoms and occur when hormonal changes affect the circulatory system. Some ways to manage possible triggers of vasomotor symptoms include avoiding warm temperatures, spicy foods and hot beverages. Studies also show that a low dose of estrogen, either as a pill or patch, is the most effective treatment for severe hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Taking oral birth control pills in small amounts can help manage irregular periods, heavy bleeding and cramping. Oral contraceptives may be taken until menopause.
  • Vaginal estrogen in cream, ring, tablet or gel form and vaginal moisturizers can help relieve vaginal dryness as well as pain from intercourse.
  • Perimenopause and menopause may herald unwelcome changes, but it is important to remember that not all aspects of these transitional phases are negative. You may seek advice from a healthcare professional for supplements, dietary measures and lifestyle choices to help you get through these stages more comfortably. Were here for you.

    Read Also: Does Menopause Cause Dizzy Spells

    Does Ethnicity Affect Perimenopause And Menopause

    The Study of Womens Health Across the Nation, is designed to better understand the health of women during midlife. It examines women of all ethnicities and backgrounds between the ages of 40 and 55.

    Results show that the symptoms of perimenopause differ among these groups of women. For example, Chinese and Japanese women have less severe symptoms. Most frequently, African American women experience hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and forgetfulness. Hispanic women report the most urine leakage and vaginal dryness and suffer the highest increase in heart rate.

    READ MORE What causes brain fog during menopause?

    A 2008 study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that Latinas and Native Americans experience the earliest onset of perimenopause. On the other hand, women of Japanese descent experience this transition later. Since this transitional phase sees a drop in oestrogen, later onset means better health in the long-term, especially for the bones, brain, and heart.

    In 2009, a study of 150 women uncovered what ethnicities experienced the most symptoms. It was found that Asian females have the least amount of symptoms. On the opposite end of the spectrum, African American women have the most.

    READ MORE Dr Shahzadi Harper on why menopause is a diversity issue.

    Menopause Vs Pregnancy Symptoms

    There are many symptoms that may accompany pregnancy and menopause. Symptoms in one pregnancy may differ from another pregnancy, even in the same woman. Likewise, menopause symptoms differ from person to person, and they also can change over time. The following are some general symptoms that you may have in perimenopause and pregnancy.

    Also Check: Menopause And Dizzy Spells

    What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis isnt entirely preventable, but you can take steps to strengthen your bones. Eating foods high in calcium like cheese, yogurt, spinach or fortified cereals can help boost calcium intake. Adding a calcium supplement can also help. Some people also need a vitamin D supplement because it helps their body absorb calcium.

    Cholesterol Changes And Increased Risk Of Heart Disease

    Difference Between Perimenopause and Menopause

    A loss of estrogen can cause an increase in LDL cholesterol, sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol. It can also lead to a decrease in HDL, or good cholesterol. This increases your risk of heart disease.

    increased six-foldTrusted Source for women ages 35-44, on average. Birth rates have also increased for women over 45. Additionally, birth rates in this age range have increased by 5 percent in 2015. At the same time, many women start to experience menopause symptoms between 45 and 55 years old. The average age for perimenopause is 51, and an estimated 6,000 women in the United States reach menopause every day.

    If youre still having menstrual periods, its possible to become pregnant.

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    The Cat And Mouse Game Between Fsh And Estradiol Depends On When Your Estradiol Starts To Wane Which Is A Function Of Your Available Follicle Count

    On average, it’s looking like a 2-3 year window for the most severe part of perimenopause loosely ending after 12 months of no period.

    There’s just nothing left for the FSH to squeeze out of the ovaries in terms of estradiol.

    You can’t spike what you don’t have!

    Menopause then follows with reduced levels of estradiol and progesterone, raised FSH, and slow progression to very low hormones.

    When Exactly Are You In Menopause

    Menopause is identified after the fact, Dr. Santoro says. When you look back at your calendar and see that you have gone one full year with absolutely no menstrual bleeding, then you are in menopause. You might go a long stretch of months without getting a period, but if one eventually comes before 12 months have passed, you are still perimenopausal.

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    The Two Stages Or Phases Of The Perimenopause Transition

    Scientists divide perimenopause into two stages. Early-stage perimenopause is when your menstrual cycle, which was regular before, starts to become erratic. You are in early-stage perimenopause when, in the course of several months, your period comes a week or more later than usual.

    RELATED: How Keeping a Period Diary Helps Your Health

    You enter late-stage perimenopause when there are at least 60 days between some periods. This can happen soon after the early stage begins or, more commonly, not for several years. The hormones in a womans system are in flux during this time, and the fluctuations may trigger symptoms such as hot flashes.

    Are There Treatments That Can Ease The Symptoms Of Perimenopause

    Perimenopause?! Symptoms and the difference between perimenopause and early menopause.

    Many women get relief from hot flashes after taking low-dose birth control pills for a short time. Other options that may control hot flashes include the birth control skin patch, vaginal ring, and progesterone injections. Certain women should not use birth control hormones, so talk to your doctor to see if they are right for you.

    You may also feel better if you do things that enhance your general well-being, such as:

    • Exercise.
    • Stop smoking.
    • Get more sleep and try going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
    • Drink less alcohol.
    • Get to a healthy weight and stay there.
    • Get enough calcium in your diet.
    • Ask your doctor if you should take a multivitamin.

    Talk to your doctor if you are having problems with your sex drive. They may be able to recommend a counselor or therapist to help you and your partner work through this problem. Vaginal lubricants may also be recommended, if vaginal dryness is a problem.

    Other treatments available to help with the various symptoms of perimenopause may include antidepressantmedications for mood swings.

    Talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms and goals of treatment. This will help them make a plan that is right for you.

    Recommended Reading: Dr Yael Swica

    Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Postmenopause

    People in postmenopause are at an increased risk for several conditions:

    Cardiovascular disease

    Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, heart disease and stroke. It is also common for people in postmenopause to become more sedentary, which contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors combined can increase a womans risk for cardiovascular diseases after menopause. A healthy diet, not smoking and getting regular exercise are your best options to prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as well as maintaining cholesterol levels are also ways to lower your risk.

    Osteoporosis

    People lose bone more rapidly after menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. You may lose up to 25% of your bone density after menopause . When too much bone is lost, it increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. The bones of the hip, wrist, and spine are most commonly affected. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, can be done to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.

    Vaginal atrophy

    Mental health issues

    How Can Hrt Help With Perimenopausal Symptoms

    Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, can be a useful way to lower symptoms associated with the transition toward menopause. HRT involves adding small amounts of oestrogen and, for some women, progesterone to your body. The amounts simply top up the decline caused by perimenopause. HRT does not give you extra hormones.

    HRT will help to relieve the symptoms of perimenopause. For many women, the benefits are felt quickly, with hot flushes and night sweats stopping within just a few days. The mental health symptoms, like anxiety and mood swings, can also be alleviated. HRT has proven to decrease vaginal dryness. You should allow at least three months for the HRT benefits to be felt in your body.

    Its a good idea to take HRT because of all the health benefits. Especially when its taken earlier, it protects heart health, prevents and can treat osteoporosis, reduce the risk of bowel cancer and may well help decrease the chance of getting dementia and type two diabetes. Thats especially true if youre between the ages of 50 and 60, when the benefits far outweighs any risks for the vast majority of women, according to NICE guidance of 2015.

    READ MORE:HRT, is it safe? Everything you need to know.

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    What Are Common Symptoms Of Menopause Perimenopause And Postmenopause

    The physical symptoms youll experience during the early stages of menopause compared to the later stages can be slightly different. However, some women have the same menopausal symptoms throughout their transition. Here are the symptoms at each phase, in the order youll likely experience them:

    • Perimenopause: Common perimenopause symptoms include:
      • Irregular periods and/or more intense premenstrual syndrome symptoms
      • Hot flashes, night sweats and difficulty sleeping
      • Fatigue and mood changes learn more about depression
      • Vaginal and bladder changes, such as vaginal dryness or urine leakage
      • Breast tenderness
    • Menopause: In addition to the perimenopause symptoms, some women may experience:
      • Occasional racing heartbeat
      • Brain fog or difficulty concentrating a symptom that usually passes over time
      • Hair thinning or loss
      • Unexplained joint and muscle aches
    • Postmenopause: Symptoms in this stage do not differ from menopausal symptoms, but you may experience symptoms of menopause for a number of years.

    What Are The Stages Leading Up To Menopause

    Difference Between Perimenopause and 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.

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    How Do I Stay Healthy After Menopause

    It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially as you age and your risk for certain medical conditions increases. Some ways for people in postmenopause to stay healthy include:

    • Exercising regularly. Walking, doing yoga or strength training can help lower your risk for many medical conditions.
    • Weight-bearing exercises can strengthen your bones and muscles.
    • Eating a healthy diet. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains should make up the bulk of your diet. Avoid lots of salt or sugar and limit your consumption of alcohol.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Going through menopause can be uncomfortable and present new challenges and health concerns. Speak with your healthcare provider about any symptoms you feel or questions you have. They can help make sure you are supported through this time and get the care you need.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2021.

    References

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