Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause. During this time, the level of estrogen, one of the main female hormones, rises and falls unevenly.
Most women start to notice perimenopause symptoms in their 40s. But perimenopause can happen a little earlier or a little later. For some women, the transition through perimenopause is subtle and gradual; for others, it can be quite dramatic. This transition may last 10 years or more.
Although a woman may experience dozens of symptoms, some of the more common signs include:
Irregular periods/menstrual cycles
As ovulation becomes more unpredictable, the length of time between periods may be longer or shorter, your flow may be light to heavy, and you may skip some periods.
Hot flushes (often called hot flashes) and sleep problems
Hot flushes are common during perimenopause. The intensity, length, and frequency vary. Sleep problems are often due to hot flushes or night sweats, but sometimes sleep becomes unpredictable even without them.
Mood swings, irritability, anxiety or depression may happen during perimenopause. The cause of these symptoms is related to the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.
Vaginal and bladder Problems
When estrogen levels diminish, your vaginal tissues may lose lubrication and elasticity, making intercourse painful. Low estrogen may also leave you more vulnerable to urinary or vaginal infections. Loss of tissue tone may contribute to urinary incontinence. Sexual arousal and desire may also change.
Fatigue and lack of energy
Some perimenopausal women may experience sudden and overwhelming weakness, exhaustion, and reduced energy levels. This can be due to hormonal imbalance or from the lack of sleep.
Forgetfulness or word-finding concerns
Many women experience instances of forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating. This is thought to be related to decreasing levels of estrogen in particular. This can become a long-lasting problem for some women.
Many women notice that maintaining their weight becomes more difficult during perimenopause. The weight is often gained around the abdomen rather than the hips and thighs.
How can Ellithia Help?
There are many ways to deal with perimenopause symptoms. These include exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet. However, as important as these lifestyle elements are, many women still struggle with symptoms of perimenopause and therefore may benefit greatly from hormone therapy. Among the hormones that may be prescribed are micronized progesterone, testosterone, and even thyroid. At Ellithia Healthcare we require you to do a thorough blood workup and talk extensively with our practitioners before any hormones are prescribed.