Menopause is one of the biggest transitions of a woman’s life. While there are many symptoms associated with menopause, a lot of the uncomfortable symptoms are actually symptoms of perimenopause. The period called perimenopause lasts for an average of 4-10 years before your last period.
The transition to menopause is challenging for many women. However, you can learn to manage many of these symptoms. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich, MD explains more about six symptoms of perimenopause that you may experience.
1. Irregular periods
Menopause is the end of your menstrual cycles. However, you can’t be certain it was your last period until one year later. During the perimenopausal transition, your estrogen levels decline (along with levels of other key hormones.)
As your hormone levels decline, your periods become more irregular. You may find that you skip your period altogether for one month. You may also have some cycles that are very heavy, while others may be very light.
2. Hot flashes
Perhaps the best-known symptom of menopause, hot flashes make you feel suddenly very hot and sweaty. During a hot flash, you feel a surge of heat come over your face and neck. It usually passes quickly but the frequency with which you experience them can vary.
In addition to hot flashes, you may also have night sweats, when you wake up feeling very hot and sweaty. It’s not uncommon to have to shower and change into fresh clothes after waking.
3. Mood changes
One of the most common effects of the perimenopausal transition is that you may be subject to mood changes. You may find yourself feeling suddenly irritable, grumpy, weepy, or sad — or all of the above.
Although this can make you feel emotionally unstable, especially if you’re usually pretty even-tempered, know that it’s an effect of the shifting hormones.
4. Weight changes
If you’re finding it more difficult lately to maintain your weight, once again, you can probably blame your hormones. You may gain weight more easily or have more difficulty losing weight once you begin the perimenopausal transition.
However, although you may have factors working against you during perimenopause, you shouldn’t give up. It’s more important than ever to maintain a regular exercise routine and eat a healthy, balanced diet. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine yet, perimenopause is a great time to begin one.
5. Vaginal dryness
If you find that you’re experiencing more vaginal dryness, it is also related to your shifting hormones. You may have pain during intercourse as a result, as well. Using lubricants can help. In addition, you may also find that hormone replacement therapy can be beneficial.
6. Urinary problems
You may have problems with urinary incontinence during perimenopause. You may think that having difficulty holding your bladder is a normal part of getting older. But in fact, it’s also linked to your changing hormones.
Having less estrogen causes the lining of your bladder to get thinner, which can make it more difficult to hold your urine. However, some medications may help you to control your bladder.
The changes associated with your shifting hormones are a normal part of perimenopause, although they can certainly be uncomfortable. If you are having difficulty with this transition, Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich can help. Contact us today or request an appointment online.