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What Is Perimenopause?

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Young woman having hot flashWhat is perimenopause and how long does it last?


Perimenopause is the time period when your body starts transitioning into menopause. It can begin around the age of 40 and may last anywhere from a few years to a decade. During this time, your hormone levels can be erratic which can lead to a number of symptoms.

Initially, estrogen levels can increase during perimenopause. This can cause issues with estrogen dominance. You may also notice an increase in PMS symptoms along with some menopause symptoms from the hormonal imbalance. If you had not had a hysterectomy, you would notice that your periods last longer or spacing between them could shorten or lengthen.

During perimenopause, you can experience hot flashes and night sweats. Your moods may change and you may feel irritable or depressed. Vaginal and bladder issues can also occur, causing vaginal dryness, urine leakage, or urinary urgency. Vaginal changes combined with a decrease in libido could affect intimacy. Sleeping may also become an issues, leaving you fatigued. Declining estrogen levels during perimenopause can also increase your risk for osteoporosis and high cholesterol.

As hormone levels can change frequently, blood tests may not be effective for diagnosis as you would need multiple blood tests. Instead, your doctor may reply on your symptoms so it is important to keep a detailed symptom diary.

Treatments to manage your symptoms can include low dose birth control or some type of hormonal therapy. You could also try regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and asking your doctor about vitamins and supplements. If you are a smoker, you should stop. Alcohol should also be kept to a minimum. Following a routine bedtime schedule can also be helpful for insomnia, as can learning stress reduction and relaxation techniques.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

07-23-2015 - 01:23 PM


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