Perimenopause is the ten to fifteen years before menopause occurs. Menopause officially occurs when you have not had a period for one year. The average age women experience menopause is fifty-one; however, this is only an average which means many women experience menopause several years earlier and later. The best way to determine when you might experience menopause is to know when your own mother went through menopause (unless she had surgically induced menopause due to hysterectomy.)
The signs and symptoms of perimenopause include a wide variety of physical and mental health symptoms. Take a look at the following list to see if you recognize any of the signs and symptoms of perimenopause:
· Period changes. Changes in your period are likely one of the first signs that will signal you that perimenopause is at hand. Your periods may be shorter, or they may be longer. You can experience either heavy or light bleeding during your periods. You'll probably even miss a few periods.
· Hot flashes and/or night sweats are common signs of perimenopause.
· Mood changes including depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings are experienced by a significant number of perimenopausal women.
· Vaginal dryness often occurs during perimenopause due to decreased production of estrogen. If vaginal dryness is a problem for you try using one of the OTC vaginal lubricants that are available, or talk to your health care provider for prescription relief.
· Many women suffer from sleep problems during perimenopause. You may find it difficult to fall asleep, or to stay asleep. Sleep difficulties during perimenopause are often caused by night sweats, as well as hormonal fluctuations.
· An increase in fat around the waist is often seen in perimenopausal women. Following a healthy, low carb diet and getting adequate exercise (at least 30 minutes, three times a week walking or doing another type of aerobic exercise) may help to prevent or reduce increased fat associated with perimenopause.
· Painful sex. Sexual intercourse may be painful during perimenopause due to vaginal dryness.
· The incidence of urinary problems increase as perimenopause occurs. These urinary conditions include both an increase in the number of urinary tract infections (UTI) and a higher incidence of loss of bladder control urinary incontinence.
· Less sex drive. Hormonal fluctuations that occur during perimenopause are often the culprit behind the loss of interest in sex that is experienced by many perimenopausal women.
Don't be alarmed if you find yourself forgetting things or unable to focus on the task you have at hand. Problems with memory and concentration frequently occur during perimenopause. Supplementing with a B vitamin often helps to prevent or improve memory or concentration problems.