Although most people are aware of the issues of menopause, many are unaware of the period of perimenopause. While menopause is one certain point in time, perimenopause is an extended time of transition that creates many uncomfortable symptoms in women as their body prepares for menopause. Perimenopause usually begins in a woman’s 40s or even late 30s as her ovaries begin to slow the production of hormones. This time can last anywhere from a few months to a decade.
A Variety of Symptoms
Feeling tired and stressed is a prominent experience during perimenopause, but there are many other complicating symptoms. Other problems that women frequently endure because of perimenopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Erratic periods
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep problems
Hot flashes are one of the most noticeable and disconcerting problems. Harvard Women’s Health Watch published an in depth study of the issues surrounding hot flashes. Hot flashes generally surprise women by beginning quickly and lasting only around 1 to 5 minutes. Women experiencing hot flashes may just notice a gentle warmth, or they may experience an intense burning sensation. This symptom is the most common issue associated with perimenopause, as women may have as many as 10 hot flashes each day.
Being stressed and tired is an understandable side effect of perimenopause. Many experts don’t believe that stress and fatigue are actually directly caused by perimenopause. If you have experienced perimenopause, you might find this claim preposterous, but these symptoms are generally suspected to be the product of other perimenopause symptoms, such as sleep deprivation and hot flashes. All of these changes in your body can seem overwhelming, so stress and tiredness are a natural reaction to the strain of perimenopause.
Depression is another symptom that is often reported in relation to perimenopause, but studies suggest that women older than the age of 45 have a lower rate of depression. This fact implies older women are in fact happier in general, meaning that menopause is unlikely to be the ultimate cause of depression.
There are several recommended forms of treatment for those experiencing perimenopause. Exercise and diet can have an effect on certain symptoms. Hormone therapy is an effective way to increase estrogen in a women’s body. Hot flashes and mood swings are likely to improve under the influence of hormone therapy.