Recognizing the Symptoms of Perimenopause
Menopause is the permanent cessation of a woman’s fertility cycle—and the symptoms that accompany menopause can be unfamiliar and at times quite unpleasant for many women who experience them. A number of these changes require specific attention so that women are able to maintain their health and lifestyle.
The transition into menopause is known as perimenopause, which serves to give women and their partners time in which to become accustomed to the changes of menopause and to make the necessary preparations. The first important step is to be able to recognize the symptoms of perimenopause so you can seek the appropriate treatment, if necessary.
The Definition of Perimenopause
Using the Greek prefix “peri,” meaning “around,” the word perimenopause is defined as the time before and after menopause. The North American Menopause Society estimates that this transition lasts approximately four to eight years. These levels can fluctuate widely. The symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Hot flashes.
- Difficult sleeping.
- Night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness or atrophy.
- Heart disease.
When Do the Symptoms of Perimenopause Occur?
Although this may be a surprise to many women who would not expect the onset of menopause to occur until well into their 50s or 60s, perimenopause can occur as early as age 35. Generally, most women become aware of the transition at some point in their 40s.
The transition can pass relatively quickly, lasting only a few years for some women. Others go through the transition for periods exceeding 10 years. The duration and severity of the transition is difficult to predict. However, the onset is very predictable: It will likely happen near the same age as it did for the woman’s mother.
Dealing With Symptoms
Prescription medications as well as over-the-counter plant estrogens and herbal remedies often help to ease women through this uncomfortable period. Other symptoms such as osteoporosis (loss of bone density) are more serious and should be addressed early on. Women would be wise to take special care of themselves and work closely with their physicians during this significant part of their lives.