Most every woman has heard enough about menopause from the mass media to know all the basics. However, many women know little to nothing about perimenopause – the stage before menopause – so that when it sets in, they are overcome with confusion and, on occasion, paranoia. Whether you know it or not, you will experience some signs of perimenopause long before menopause; therefore, it is best to learn what you can about it now. Here is what every woman should know about perimenopause:
When does perimenopause start?
Most women first begin experiencing the signs of perimenopause ten to fifteen years before menopause kicks in. Menopause is marked by cessation of the last menstrual cycle, and the average woman experiences menopause in her early fifties. Therefore, it is possible that you could start experiencing perimenopausal symptoms as early as age 35. Women who have had hysterectomies, regardless of their age, may experience immediate menopause, or they may go through a period of experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.
What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
When women complain about “feeling menopausal,” they are really actually experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause. The most common symptoms include those tell-tale hot flashes (and other body temperature irregularities like night sweats and cold sweats), heart palpitations, hair loss, flaky skin, emotional disturbances (in the form of depression, anxiety, and/or irritability), loss of libido, incontinence, sleep disturbances, and irregular periods.
What can be done to alleviate the symptoms?
There is nothing you can do to “cure” perimenopause because it is a natural process that every woman must go through. Treating the uncomfortable symptoms may involve any of a number of products and/or therapies, as you will be undergoing changes on physical, psychological, and emotional levels. Some women opt for hormone replacement therapy, while others choose to forego hormones in favor of embracing the process and seeing it through to the end. Still, there are some options for relieving specific symptoms on a targeted basis, such as sleeping aids for sleep problems and talk therapy for mood disturbances.
How long does perimenopause last?
Perimenopause lasts until the end of your last period, at which point you have reached the point of menopause. At one year after the cessation of your final menstrual cycle, you are considered postmenopausal. This may be as early as your forties or as late as your sixties, as every woman is different.
When it comes to perimenopause, what you don’t know now can lead to a lot of confusion down the line. Inform yourself now and you will be much better equipped to handle all that comes with the perimenopause process.
About the Author: Despina Gladysz is a women’s health advocate who counsels her clients on common issues like perimenopause, common infections, recovery from candida, and bone deficiencies.