Perimenopause



Mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats: not a fan?

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. Perimenopause is also called the menopausal transition.

Women start perimenopause at different ages. You may notice signs of progression toward menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s.

What causes perimenopause?

The level of estrogen in your body rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you may begin having menstrual cycles in which your ovaries don’t release an egg (ovulation). You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Treatments are available to help ease these symptoms. It is also important to note that while you may be having symptoms that mimic menopause, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to cease menses.

Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over.

Symptoms of perimenopause

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flashes and sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Vaginal and bladder problems
  • Decreasing fertility
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Loss of bone

When to see a doctor

Some women seek medical attention for their perimenopausal symptoms. But others either tolerate the changes or simply don’t experience symptoms severe enough to need attention.

If you have symptoms that interfere with your life or well-being, such as hot flashes, mood swings or changes in sexual function that concern you, see your doctor. You can also consider seeking treatment for common perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.


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