Perimenopause: What Happens To Your Body Before Menopause

Perimenopause by Perfect Health Magazine

Perimenopause usually happens several years before menopause. This happens when the body slows down the making of estrogen. It usually starts in the mid-40s. 

Perimenopause continues till a woman reaches menopause, a condition when the body stops releasing eggs naturally. If you haven’t got your menstrual period for consecutive 12 months, you have officially reached the menopause condition. Menopause is officially the end of perimenopause.

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Symptoms of Perimenopause

Throughout the perimenopause period, women experience some changes in their bodies. Perimenopause may often go unnoticed in some women. But it is important that women take care of their bodies, more so during perimenopause, since their body is transforming slowly. 

Here are some symptoms of Perimenopause:

Irregular period:

In perimenopause, your ovulation will become unpredictable, your periods’ duration may become longer or shorter, your flow may become heavy or light and also, you may skip your periods for a few months. If the delay in the period cycle is around seven days, then you are in your early perimenopause. If such a difference has reached a gap of 60 days, then it’s more likely a situation of post perimenopause.

Vaginal and bladder problems:

Your intercourse may become painful during perimenopause because of a decrease in estrogen level, which causes loss of elasticity and lubrication in the vagina. Low estrogen may lead to vaginal or urinary infections.

Loss of bone density:

With the decrease in estrogen level, women start losing bone density quickly compared to their replacement; this increases the risk of osteoporosis. It is a disease that makes your bones fragile.

Decrease in fertility:

Because of irregular ovulation, fertility chances decrease in a woman. However, as long as you get periods, you can still get pregnant. Hence, it is advisable to continue using birth control measures during perimenopause to avoid accidental pregnancies.

When to consult a doctor

An irregular period is a common situation during perimenopause. But you should consult your doctor if you notice below mentioned changes in your body: 

  • Heavy periods with blood clots
  • Longer duration of the menstrual cycle than usual.
  • The spot between periods.
  • Spotting after sex.

Conclusion

Perimenopause is a natural process that ends up with menopause. Most perimenopause symptoms are manageable, but medications are available if you are under a lot of distress. The end of perimenopause is marked when a woman does not get her menstrual cycle for 12 full months.

Top 6 Menopause Symptoms

Menopause Symptoms by Perfect Health Magazine

Menopause can be termed as the absence of a menstrual cycle in women for 12 months. Like the menstrual cycle, each woman may experience the symptoms of menopause differently. Some may experience no symptoms – physical and mental while some may experience most of the symptoms mentioned in this article. The intensity and severity of these symptoms also vary from case to case.

So, let’s dig deeper with Perfect Health Magazine and know about the menopause symptoms in detail:

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#1 Hot Flashes

This is the most common symptom amongst women close to menopause. It is a feeling of warmth that spreads in the entire body and is often more severe in the chest and head. These flashes can last for a few seconds or several minutes. 

Although the reason behind these hot flashes is not yet known, it is believed that a combination of biochemical fluctuations and hormones reduces the estrogen level, which causes hot flashes. 

No one can predict when these hot flashes will begin and end. About 40% of women who menstruate regularly get hot flashes in their forties. Also in 80% of women such hot flashes last for more than 2 years. Sometimes hot flashes cause night sweats, which lead to awakening and finding it difficult to sleep again.

#2 Irregular Vaginal Bleeding

A woman can experience irregular bleeding when she reaches menopause. Some women may experience minimal bleeding while reaching close to menopause, while others may experience excessive and unpredictable bleeding. 

Menstrual periods may become more frequent or go farther and farther before stopping. Premenopause has no normal bleeding pattern, and it varies from woman to woman. It is always better to get in touch with your gynaecologist to discuss your case personally and make them aware of symptoms such as irregular vaginal bleeding.

#3 Dry Vagina

As the level of estrogen in the body falls, vaginal tissues become thinner, less elastic and dry. In such a situation, a woman may feel vaginal dryness, irritation or itching, painful intercourse etc. 

Such vaginal changes increase the possibility of vaginal infection. It has been found that 10-40% of women faces vaginal probelms during menopause and among them 20-25% of women seek medical attention for this.

#4 Urinary Symptoms

The urethra (a tube responsible for carrying urine from the bladder to discharge it outside the body) also shows symptoms similar to the vagina due to lowered estrogen in the body. It becomes dry, thin and less elastic. This increases the chances of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). A woman may feel the urge to urinate frequently in such a condition or leak urine sometimes. 

In case you contract a UTI, seek doctor’s advice immediately.

#5 Emotional and Cognitive Symptoms

In many premenopause, women undergo emotional changes like mood swings, memory problems, fatigue etc. Such emotional changes are so common that it is difficult to determine whether they are because of menopause or any other reason. The night sweats in perimenopause can also result in fatigue and tiredness.

#6 Other Physical Changes

Some women may gain weight during menopause. The fat distribution may change; body fat gets deposited more in the abdominal and waist area. During menopause, the body produces some male hormone testosterone, hair growth on the chin, chest, lips, or abdomen is common in some women.

Conclusion

If you are above 40-45 years of age, you should take a note of body symptoms to ensure that you have reached the menopause condition. Do consult your doctor in case of any problem.

Menopause – A Woman’s Guide

Menopause Symptoms by Perfect Health Magazine

Quick 30 Seconds Summary of Guide To Menopause

  • Menopause is a natural phenomenon when a women’s menstrual cycles stop. 
  • Women reach menopause between the ages of 45-56. 
  • Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, anxiety, lowered sex drive, abnormal weight gain or loss etc. 
  • There is “no cure” for menopause since it is completely natural. It can be managed properly with home remedies and treatments prescribed by your gynaecologist. 
  • Alternative therapies like Yoga and Ayurveda have shown amazing results for menopausal women.

Aging causes a lot of physical and mental changes in women. One of the biggest natural changes is the end of periods. Menopause officially marks the end of the menstrual cycle for women.

In this article, we will cover: 

  • Menopause – Meaning & Overview 
  • Menopause Symptoms 
  • Timeline of Menopause 
  • Causes of Menopause 
  • Menopause Treatments

Menopause - Meaning & Overview

Menopause is a completely natural phenomenon that occurs in women. As a woman ages her reproductive hormones gradually stop producing new eggs, thus lessening the frequency of her menstrual cycles until they completely stop. 

Menopause means the end of menstrual cycles. It signifies that the body has naturally stopped producing new eggs and hence the woman can no longer get pregnant. 

Generally, women reach menopause between the ages of 45 – 55 years. It takes a few years for menopause to take full effect. These years leading upto the actual menopause are when women should focus on their physical and mental wellbeing to ensure a happy and healthy life. 

However, some women may undergo menopause early in life due to medical issues such as removal of ovaries, uterus, radiotherapy treatments etc.

Menopause Symptoms

The symptoms of menopause begin with irregular periods. If you are above the age of 40 and start experiencing irregular periods, then usually this signifies the start of menopause. 

Just like periods, every woman experiences menopause differently. Not all women experience, every symptom of menopause listed below, neither is the severity or intensity equal for everyone. In short, the menopause is a unique experience for every woman. 

The Symptoms of Menopause: 

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweating 
  • Skin flushing 
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings 
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Abnormal weight gain or weight loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Facing issues with concentration
  • Memory problems
  • Dry skin, mouth, and eyes
  • Higher frequency of urination
  • Sore or tender breasts
  • Severe headaches
  • Racing heart
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Reduction of muscle mass
  • Painful or stiff joints
  • Reduction of bone mass
  • Less full breasts
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Unnaturally high density of hair growth on other areas of the body, such as the face, neck, chest, and upper back

Since menopause takes years to set in, the symptoms of menopause also last for years, thus adversely affecting the woman’s health for a long time.

The Timeline of Menopause

The process of hitting menopause takes many years. It is medically divided into 3 stages. These 3 stages establish the timeline of menopause.

Stage I: Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the first stage of menopause. When your periods become irregular and less frequent you have entered the stage of perimenopause. 

Women in perimenopause tend to experience the symptoms of menopause most intensely. Perimenopause may last for 3-4 years or more in exceptional cases. 

Women who are in the perimenopause stage can still get pregnant.

Stage II: Menopause

Menopause is the official mark when a woman has not menstruated for one full year. 

A woman who has hit menopause will not be able to get pregnant. 

Some of the menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety, vaginal dryness etc. will continue to affect the woman even in this stage.

Stage III: Postmenopause

Postmenopause is the final stage in the menopause timeline. A woman who crosses the menopause mark is referred to as a postmenopausal woman for the rest of her life (medically).

Causes of Menopause

As explained earlier, hormonal changes in a woman’s body lead to natural menopause. Lower production of estrogen and progesterone means, lower production of eggs and less frequent periods. This is a natural progression for women in their late 40s. 

Unfortunately, sometimes women experience menopause early due to medical or health issues. Some of them are: 

  • Removal of ovaries
  • Removal of uterus
  • Radiotherapy treatments as part of cancer treatment 
  • Pelvic injuries that shatter or severely damage the reproductive system. 

Such women reach menopause early on and unnaturally. Thus complicating the natural health mechanism. Women who are experiencing menopause early should consult a gynecologist and strictly follow all the given guidelines.

Menopause Treatments

First off, if you begin experiencing any of the above symptoms of menopause, we suggest that you meet a gynecologist and understand your journey, the do’s and dont’s, etc. during this phase of your life. 

There are many ways to treat menopause. Some of the most popular ones include:

Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

An important aspect that women tend to neglect when going through menopause is how their diet and lifestyle affects the severity of health issues triggered by menopause. 

Here are simple tips for a healthy lifestyle during menopause: 

  1. Regular exercise 
  2. Stop smoking and cut down alcohol consumption to a very low level
  3. Control your cholestrol and sugar levels 
  4. Keep your blood pressure in check 
  5. Regularly consume vitamin and calcium supplements to keep your body robust 
  6. Shift to a more plant-based diet and lower the intake of meat and processed foods.

Medical Treatments

Thanks to the advances in medical science, doctors can now prescribe medication to alleviate menopause symptoms. Most drugs are OTC prescriptions and have proved to be useful when managing harsh menopause symptoms

Your gynecologist will be the right person to consult with on what medication to take and what is the right dosage for you. 

Medical treatment includes oral medication, creams and ointments as necessary.

Alternative Therapy Treatments

Ayurveda defines menopause as  “Rajonivrutti”, which stands for “the end of Artava Pravrutti” i.e. the stopping of menstruation.

Ayurveda offers a plethora of nature-based treatments that successfully combat the symptoms of menopause while increasing the physical and mental well-being of the woman. 

Ayurvedic doctors suggest a controlled dosage of herbs such as Arjuna, Cardamom, Guggul, Fennel and Garlic. They also recommend organic herbal juices to strengthen the woman’s body for years to come.

Menopause, derived from the Greek words “menos” meaning month and “pausis” meaning to stop, is the cessation of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This occurs between the ages of 45 to 55 years naturally. Menopause is a tumultous time for a woman’s health, since there is a major hormonal change that occurs in the reproductive system. Consultation with a good doctor, sticking to a healthy lifestyle and relying on friends and family for support should make menopause easier on the body and mind.