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Perimenopause – What to Expect

By EmpowHER
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A woman goes through many stages in her life: her first period, her first pregnancy, and menopause. Yes, as if it couldn’t get any worse there is a stage before menopause called perimenopause.

The time before you actually become menopausal is usually referred to as perimenopause, whereas the time when your ovary has ceased functioning completely is called menopause. If you are a woman in your 40s or early 50s, you are probably experiencing some preimenopause symptoms. Having symptoms of perimenopause usually means you are getting closer to menopause.

While menopause is a normal change that all women experience, the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. These symptoms begin long before you actually reach menopause and before your menstruation cycle completely ends. Perimenopause can occur naturally or can be medically induced, such as by having a hysterectomy or taking medications.

Here are some common physical and emotional perimenopause symptoms you may experience as your body begins to change .

Menstrual irregularity
When ovulation is inconsistent, you may experience symptoms including periods spaced out by longer or shorter amounts of time, a heavy or light flow, or skipped periods. Perimenopause is considered early when the duration of the menstrual cycle changes by more than seven days, while perimenopause is defined as late when you skip two or more periods and periods come every 60 days or more.

Hot flashes and sleep problems
Hot flashes occur when the body experiences irregular hormonal changes. They usually occur during the final stages of perimenopause, and approximately 65-75 percent of women experience hot flashes. Although most women go through hot flashes, they all experience different levels of intensity, duration, and frequency. Many women undergoing hot flashes suffer from sleep problems as well. Night sweats can cause sleep deprivation, but insomnia can happen without hot flashes.

Mood changes
Women going through perimenopause often experience changes in mood such as mood swings, short tempers and depression. Such mood changes can be linked to sleep problems from hot flashes.

Vaginal and bladder problems

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