The term perimenopause is now use instead of premenopause to describe the years leading to menopause and during this time many women experience declined in menstruation that slow down the reproductive system. Premenopause is no longer used to describe this process because all of the woman’s life time that leads to menopause is premenopause.
Most women experience perimenopause at age 47 that can last up to four years. Some women may experience the process in their late thirties or early fifties that can last from few months to ten years.
The experience varies base on individual cases as each individual is different and experience different length of period during their menstrual cycle. It is also important to note that the symptoms associated with perimenopause do not necessarily correlate with the changes in the menstrual cycle. Some women may experience the symptoms without experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle.
Some of the symptoms experience by women may include hot flashes, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, involuntary urine release, mood swings, insomnia, low sex drive, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, heart palpitations, and migraine headaches. Some may or may not experience all of the symptoms and others may experience no symptoms at all.
Hot flashes is one of the common symptom experience by many women and this usually involved warmth sensation that spread quickly on the neck, shoulders, and face areas that can last from few seconds to thirty minutes or longer. Hot flashes can occur at any time of the day and when they do occur at night during sleep, it is commonly referred to as night sweats.
The warmth sensation may range from mild flashes to more severe case of hot flashes causing increase body temperature and causing skin surface on the face and neck to become extremely red which may also take longer time to fade after the body temperature subsided. Heavy perspiration is also common with severe hot flashes that may also occur during night sweats where most women may sleep through the night and others may suffer from insomnia due to intense heat caused by severe night sweats.
As women get older and during the years leading to menopause women are ovulating less frequently affecting the level of estrogen and progesterone produced by the reproductive system. The fluctuating level of hormones in the bloodstream can result in irregular periods or spotting. Some women may also experience heavy periods as part of the symptom which may also indicate sign of precancerous conditions.
Some women may also experience urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by low level of estrogen in the bloodstream. Women over the age of 45 are more likely to experience UTI causing frequent need to urinate even though her bladder may not be full. Low level of estrogen weakens the muscle surrounding the bladder and urethra causing involuntary urine release.
Many women going through perimenopause may also experience mood swing caused by physical and emotional distress. Physical distress may be caused by lack of sleep due to severe hot flashes and emotional distress may be caused be feelings of anger, anxiety or despair.
Some women may also experience low sex drive when the reproductive system slow the production of estrogen. Estrogen helps maintain healthy vagina with normal vaginal secretions and the decline estrogen level causes women to experience less sexual desire. However, many women continue to experience high level of sexual desire despite the contrary.
Many women also experience migraines
during the phase leading to menopause. Migraine is caused by the
fluctuation of estrogen level and many may experience severe headaches
that can last for hours. Women who suffer from migraine may first
experience flashing lights or changes in their vision which is an
indicator of progressing migraine. Taking Aspirin or Advil can help
relieve the pain.
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