What are the Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause?

>> Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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Menopause, which is the complete cessation of ovarian function usually happens around 51-52 years of age. The stage of a woman’s life leading up to menopause is called 'perimenopause', and it can begin in the late 30's, 10-15 years before menopause. Perimenopause can come and go until menopause begins, lasting from months to years in some women. It represents a decline of ovarian function and therefore, hormone imbalance.

Symptoms can vary in severity and range, with some women experiencing physical symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, feeling warm all the time and irregular periods. Some women experience sleeping disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or multiple awakenings due to increased urination frequency that can occur due to decreased estrogen.

Perimenopause can also cause mood changes similar to what we see in PMS, only much more severe, with women suffering from anxiety, depression, irritability and fatigue. Hair loss, dry skin, decreased libido and vaginal dryness (causing pain with sex), can also occur.

With perimenopause, the symptoms of hormone imbalance can come and go for months or years. It can be very frustrating for women to experience many symptoms, have them go away, only to return again. The similarity of symptoms in perimenopause and menopause can be confusing, and therefore women usually seek out their for answers.

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