Some things in life we just can’t control! We may experience a great sense of peace when things seem to be going smooth and we feel completely “in control!” However, one fact remains…we can’t control time or the aging process.
For women, menopause is a big change. I’m sure you have heard that dreaded word before. There is also another phase before actual menopause occurs, called perimenopause.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the time in a woman’s life when her ovaries start to produce less and less estrogen and progesterone. You officially remain in this stage until after you quit having a menstrual cycle for a complete year. Once the year is up, then you are in the menopause phase. Perimenopause symbols the end of your reproductive years.
What are symptoms of perimenopause?
- Your periods begin to get “out of whack.” For some women, this may mean they are shorter than normal, longer, heavier or lighter. For those that have been regular in starting a period every 28 days, will notice they are not so much like clockwork anymore.
- I remember as a kid, my mom’s friends talking about the old dreaded “hot flashes.” Well, they are a true reality for many women during this phase of life. It may be the dead of winter and you wake up sweating bullets. These hot flashes generally come out of the blue with no warning. You may experience hot flashes before changes in your period or they may coincide.
- Vaginal dryness can be a real issue during this phase. Sexual intercourse can become extremely uncomfortable. A decreased sexual drive can occur as well.
- Sleep Trouble – Some women may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, which can last for long periods of time. My aunt whom had always been a great sleeper went through this phase. In her opinion, this was the worst part of perimenopause.
- Mood Swings – Oh boy – this may be the most difficult part for your spouse and family! Unexplained changes in mood could signal perimenopause.
- Some other symptoms can include breast tenderness, urine leakage and urinary urgency on a more frequent basis.
How long does perimenopause last?
It varies per individual, but the average is 4 years. Some women have only experienced it for a very short period of time while others have gone on as long as 10 years.
Is there anything that can help me get through this phase of my life?
Not all women will experience severe symptoms but some will and it can greatly affect their life. There are medications that can help with some of the symptoms. Some of the options to control hot flashes are progesterone injections, a vaginal ring or skin patches.
At Northern Florida’s All About Women, we care about you, your health and what you may be going through. If any of these symptoms are affecting you, please contact our Gainesville or Lake City office to schedule a well woman exam today.