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Perimenopause Symptoms: Know What To Expect

Dr. Stanley Friedell, Northwestern Women's Health Associates S.C Describing Perimenopause symptoms

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.


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    Dr. Regina Belmonte has been providing all the services I have needed for over 12 years. She saw me through both of my pregnancies and her expertise is vast. Even after I moved far away from the city, I still embrace and look forward to her care and services, and I refuse to switch doctors. She is worth the trip! Going through both pregnancies I had to meet with all of the Dr's. and all were wonderful. The nurses are fantastic. I have gotten 98% of what I have ever needed just talking to a nurse. So grateful for this practice and so confident with the care I receive.
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By Jelly T.

    Dr. Abbie Roth is GOLD!
    I have never met a doctor who is caring and brilliant and with a great sense of humor as doctor Abbie Roth. She is very professional and has an excellent bedside manner. When I had a life threatening complication after my C-section, she and her Prentice team of doctors and nurses were such an efficient team under pressure while making sure they explain every process and steps during the situation. Dr. Abbie Roth and her team literally saved my life! I am very fortunate to have met Dr. Roth, I will never forget her and will continue to see her for my future OB/Gyne health. I highly recommend this practice and Dr. Roth!
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By Jessica

    If you are new to Chicago or are just looking for a new physician, please make an appointment with Dr. Friedell. This is the first time in my adult life, that a doctor spent an hour with me going over my medical history, asking questions and documenting my history accurately. His assessment and subsequent surgery were all done t a T! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him or his staff. I have had very positive experiences every time I've gone and I always leave feeling like I've been really seen and heard.
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By Monica E.

    I was recommended to NWWH through a friend after a year of unsuccessful IUI with my partner. We were seen and cared for by Dr. Friedell. Best decision ever. You will definitely wait for the doctor for maybe 30 minutes past your appointment time but you will not regret it. His thoroughness and patience to explain everything to us in a way we understood was amazing. He was quick to start a game plan for us. We will definitely stick with Dr. Friedell as our OB/GYN.

    Apart from Dr. Friedell, the staff was quick to perform any lab work and ultrasounds with friendly conversation and compassion. This type of service really helps when we've gone through a rough time trying to get pregnant. Definitely make an appointment with Dr. Friedell.
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By Jennifer H.

    I have been going to Dr. Friedell for over a year now and he has been nothing less than amazing. When I first came to him to discuss pregnancy, he was incredibly informative and understanding. He was also willing to take the time to answer all of my questions and help in any way he could. He just delivered my son in March and to say he went the extra mile during delivery would be an understatement. I had some complications and with any other doctor I would have had a c-section. Dr. Friedell worked with me and was extremely patient and because of his care and expertise I had a successful vaginal delivery. I cannot recommend him highly enough!
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    I have been going to this office for little over a month now due to some complications! I have been seen Dr. Friedell, he is very caring and always made sure he answers all my concerns. I am beyond impressed with my experience with Dr Friedell and his PA " Amber". Dr Friedell called me many times after hours to talk to me about my medical results and answers any concerns that I have.

    I would highly recommend Dr Friedell.
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By Elizabeth T.

    I have been a patient of this practice for over 5 years now and have only positive reviews of Dr. Feldstein. He was the doctor on call and delivered my third son without any complications. He was knowledgeable, patient focused and went above and beyond to answer my questions and provide a safe and healthy delivery. I also want to note his positive bedside manner to not only my husband and I, but to the nursing staff that was working with him. He was very respectful and I am very thankful to have had him for my delivery. I would recommend this group, Dr. Feldstein in particular without reservation.
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By LA

    I switched to Dr. Roth mid pregnancy due to health insurance reasons and it was probably the best decision I have ever made in my life. She is definitely warm and funny but also extremely competent and knowledgeable. I would say what makes her stand out from other doctors is how calm and not reactive she is in even the most dire situations. My son was in serious fetal distress (unexpected and not preventable) and she was very calm and reassuring as we literally ran to the OR for my c section. With the rise of c sections today I feel Dr. Roth is one of the few remaining fabulous ob's that truly plans for normal vaginal births (your choice if you want an epi or not) and although I needed a c section I knew it was truly necessary. I could not speak more highly of her, not only did she save my sons life but she made me feel safe, secure and empowered even when decisions and actions were out of my hands.
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    5 Dr. Stanley Friedell, 5 Star Review By Dana M.

    I love Dr. Belmonte. I have been going to her since 2006! She rocks!!! She is straight to the point, I love that about her. When I leave her office after seeing her I always feel great, like a just left a good friends house or something!
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    I can not tell you how wonderful my experiences have been. Dr. Sharon Wise is my doctor and she is fantastic. She is straightforward and honest about treatments and procedures. I enjoy her sense of humor, and I found her bedside manner when delivering my son to be excellent.