As we get older, there is yet another phase of life to look forward to: Perimenopause. Symptoms include irregular periods, spotting between periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and more. For some women, the winding down of ovarian function can come with a whole range of new hormonal changes. And, while the symptoms usually start in your 40s, they can begin as early as your 30s.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the transition period in a woman’s reproductive life before menopause (defined as a full year without a period) where your ovarian function starts to wax and wane. During perimenopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen, causing your cycles to shorten, and your periods become less regular. The closer to menopause you get, the less estrogen you produce. Many of the classic menopause symptoms we think of are a result of estrogen withdrawal. On average, the perimenopause phase can last 4 or 5 years.
What are perimenopausal symptoms?
Perimenopausal symptoms are about as predictable as the political elections. You might find yourself experiencing one symptom one month, and another the next. Some of the key signs are skipping periods, irregular bleeding, spotting between periods, heavier or lighter flow than usual, hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. You may also be gaining weight, losing hair, or feeling fatigued.
How can you know if this is what’s happening to you?
Because of perimenopause’s unpredictability, and the fact that everyone’s symptoms are different, it can be tough to work out whether your symptoms are due to ovarian function decreasing, or from something else, like a thyroid problem.
You should always communicate any changes with your trusted primary care doctor or your OB/GYN. If your symptoms are preventing you from going about your usual everyday activities, then that is a red flag, and a sign you should get things checked out. Doctors will also tell you there is also a genetic link between mothers and daughters, noting if you got your period around the same time as your mom, you may end up going through perimenopause at a similar age as her as well.
So, what can you do to ease or deal with the symptoms?
Hormones play a vital role in every woman’s health and wellbeing. When they are in harmony and working together, you’ll feel it – and will benefit from renewed energy, restful sleep, clear skin, good moods, healthy weight levels and more. However, an imbalance in one hormone leads to an imbalance in others and the impact can trigger symptoms that can be life altering.
With hormone replacement therapy, you can find relief from these symptoms. Schedule a time to speak with one of our board-certified physicians about ReVital’s Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.