Menopause is a much talked-about time in a woman’s life. What hasn’t been so widely discussed is the 2 to 10 years that precede the end of menstruation: perimenopause. In the Chicago, IL area, women who want to remain in-the-know about their health during this critical time are encouraged to consult with one of the friendly, knowledgeable physicians at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates, S.C.
Perimenopause is a period of time during which a woman may experience dramatic shifts in her physical and psychological wellbeing. The process may begin while a women is still in her thirties, or may not begin until a woman is in her fifties. The duration of the onset of menopause will also vary from one woman to another. It is for this reason that personalized care from an experienced Chicago gynecologist is so vitally important during this time.
Irregular menstrual cycles are common in the 40’s. Menses may come closer or farther apart, or skip one to months all together. This need not necessarily mean perimenopause, and may be more related to lack of ovulation. You should let your gynecologist know if your menses are closer than 20 days apart or farther than 3 months apart.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the process through which a woman’s ovaries decline in their function. Ovulation may become erratic as hormones fluctuate widely. Estrogen levels may rise significantly and fall dramatically all within a 24-hour period, which can lead to a number of concerning physical effects. And while the hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as many others, are changing, the normal menstrual cycle changes also continue.
Perimenopause will be unique for every woman. Some of the common effects reported by women in this stage of life include:
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Increase or decrease in libido
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Frequent urination
- Painful intercourse
- Extreme sweating
The shift in hormones that leads to the end of menstruation is a normal process for every woman. In most cases, there is no special diagnostic testing nor any specific treatment. The physicians at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates take a personalized approach to each patient experiencing perimenopause. At this time, we may begin to assess a patient’s risk for osteoporosis and discuss the lifestyle and dietary habits that will best support this natural life change. While hormone replacement therapy may be considered, there are alternatives to the symptoms of perimenopause that work for many of our patients.
Working with a Chicago gynecologist familiar with your needs, it is possible to progress through menopause in the healthiest way. Call 312-440-9400 to schedule your visit today.