Perimenopause Symptoms: Know What To Expect
As women enter their 50’s they often anticipate the transition into menopause. This transition time is better known as perimenopause. Perimenopause typically begins when a women is around 45 years old and can last until they reach 55 years old.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, while a woman goes through this transition her ovaries will produce less estrogen. The decrease in estrogen and other body changes happen slowly over time.
If you are in your 40’s it is important to understand the symptoms of perimenopause and how this transitional time will affect your body and your life.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
Irregular Menstruation – When you have entered perimenopause you may find that your periods fluctuate in frequency and flow. In the early stages of perimenopause your cycle may see a change of about 7 days. However once you are in late perimenopause you can go 3 months between periods. Irregular menstruation is a result of ovulation that becomes unpredictable, or even doesn’t occur.
Decreased Fertility – When your ovulation becomes irregular it will become more difficult to conceive. However it is important to note that as long as you still have a period you can become pregnant so if pregnancy is not wanted it is important to find a birth control that works for you.
Hot Flashes – Hot flashes are a well-known symptom of menopause, however they actually start in perimenopause. According to ACOG 75% of menopausal women in the United States will experience hot flashes. Hot flashes can be a challenging symptom and sometimes interfere with sleep patterns because they can wake you up out of a deep sleep.
Mood Swings – Some women experience irritability during perimenopause. These moods swings are sometimes associated with a change in hormone levels. This can lead to depression so it is important to speak candidly with your obstetrics and gynecology provider about your symptoms. Another reason for mood swings during this time is the lack of sleep some women experience.
Premenstrual Syndrome actually increases in the 40’s. Talk to you Chicago OBGYN provider if this is a problem.
Bone Loss – A major symptom of perimenopause is the loss of estrogen. When estrogen levels drop you are at a higher risk for osteoporosis because bone loss increases. Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures especially in the hip, wrist and spine.
Heat Attack and Stroke – Estrogen protects you from heart attacks and stroke. This means that when your estrogen levels go down you are less protected and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases.
Decreased Sex Drive – Decreased hormone rates can result in a lower sex drive in perimenopausal women. And according to ACOG women going through menopause may take longer to reach orgasm.
These are all symptoms that are a pre-cursor to menopause but it’s important to note that many of them continue after a woman has entered menopause.
If you think you have entered into perimenopause, schedule an appointment with your obstetrics and gynecology provider today. You can discuss your current symptoms while preparing for the next stage of the transition. Menopause can be a stressful time in a women’s life. You do not need to go through it alone! Your Chicago OBGYN will be with you every step of the way! At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates you can schedule an appointment with a gynecologist in Chicago right on our website or call and speak with a member of our team, 1-312-440-9400.
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice. Northwestern Women’s Health Associates shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.