Pre-Menopausal Symptoms You Should Anticipate
You’ve finally hit your 40s and are waking up in sweats. Your periods are erratic—sometimes heavy, sometimes barely spotting. However, you can’t quite pinpoint the cause of this unusual change. If your hormones are rapidly shifting, perimenopause, or the natural end of menstruation, might be the culprit.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause hails from the Greek words “around” (peri) and “near” (menopause). Thus, perimenopause pertains to the transitional state between menstruation and menopause. It begins with irregular cycles, concluding a year after the final menstrual period.
Though the average duration of perimenopause is between three to four years, some women will experience it for a mere few months or even a decade. Similarly, some may experience only vaguely bothersome symptoms, whereas others will go through heavy flows and hot flashes.
The Relationship Between Perimenopause and Menstruation
Perimenopause occurs due to hormonal changes—particularly variations in circulating estrogen. As women hit peak reproductive periods, cycles are reasonably predictable. As such, estrogen levels will also rise and fall as expected.
Follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinising hormones (LH) control how estrogen levels fluctuate. FSH are responsible for simulating fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries that contain eggs to produce estrogen. When estrogen levels hit their peak, the body produces a surge of LH, which stimulates the release of the egg from the ovaries.
Leftover follicles then produce progesterone to prepare for pregnancy. As hormone levels rise, FSH and LH drop.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
When it comes to perimenopause symptoms, it can be challenging to distinguish between hormonal changes and those brought about by mid-life crises. Thus, the following symptoms may not be the fault of hormonal changes alone.
● Hot flashes: These symptoms occur rapidly and typically last between five and ten minutes. 35% to 50% of menopausal women will experience hot flashes in the night and day, beginning from the scalp and down to the chest. After menopause, hot flashes will likely continue for up to two years.
● Vaginal dryness: As estrogen levels fail, vaginal tissue becomes thinner and drier, which can cause itching and irritation. In some cases, it may become a source of pain during intercourse.
● Uterine bleeding problems: Because your body will produce less progesterone, it may have a hard time regulating the growth of your endometrium. Thus, uterine linings will thicken, creating heavy periods.
● Sleep disturbances: 40% of menopausal women will experience sleep problems. However, these may not be up to hormone oscillations alone.
● Mood symptoms: Though there is no proven, direct relationship between declining hormone levels and depression, 10% to 20% of menopausal women will experience mood fluctuations and anxiety.
● Other problems: Occasionally, some women will complain of short-term memory loss, difficulties concentrating, and lower brain function.
How to Manage Perimenopause Symptoms
There are various methods of managing and mitigating perimenopause symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the following, acknowledge them accordingly.
● Vasomotor symptoms: These include hot flashes, night sweats, and difficulty breathing. Keep these symptoms at bay by dressing in layers to control temperature, avoiding hot beverages and spicy cuisine, or taking a low dose of estrogen as prescribed. Those experiencing severe hot flashes might benefit from an antidepressant as recommended by their healthcare provider.
● Hormonal irregularities: Low-dose birth control pills can help regulate an unpredictable cycle and suppress erratic hormonal changes. By suppressing ovulation, you can also effectively manage heavier flows.
● Vaginal dryness: Vaginal estrogen, whether in the form of a cream, ring, tablet, or gel, can moisturise the area. Lubricants can make intercourse less painful.
When you’re far beyond the reproductive stage, practising correct feminine hygiene habits can soothe symptoms of perimenopause. When you know what to expect, you can better prepare for the future.
Nurture your intimate parts with feminine hygiene products from Imbue Natural. Whatever symptoms you’re going through, nature will have an answer!