The reproductive phase immediately preceding menopause is known as perimenopause and typically lasts between 2 to 8 years. Generally this transitional period is marked by the onset of menopause symptoms. However, every women's perimenopause experience differs, so her symptoms will also vary accordingly. Read on to learn more about perimenopause and the onset of menopause symptoms.
What Is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the phase of life in which many menopause symptoms can first make themselves known. This is because the body's preparations for infertility causes hormonal fluctuations that manifest as both mental and physical symptoms. Physical changes such as menstrual irregularities, hot flashes, and night sweats are common indications that menopause has begun. As is it is normal for women to still receive periods during this stage, almost all women will experience menopause symptoms and periods simultaneously. Initially these symptoms might seem difficult to contend with as they can significantly impact a woman's daily life.
When Does Perimenopause and the Onset of Menopause Symptoms Occur?
The age at which women can expect to enter perimenopause varies; however, most women begin the transition during their early 40s. In the case of menopause itself, women aren't considered to have reached it until they haven't received a period for twelve months. Averagely women reach this stage at 51, but anywhere between 40 and 50 is also common.
Understanding the Beginning of Menopause Symptoms
There are a total of 34 menopause symptoms, and it is normal for every women to experience varying combinations in varying degrees of severity. Unfortunately, menopausal symptoms will usually persist throughout the entire menopausal transition and in some cases, women can continue to experience a sampling of them during later life too. During the early stages of perimenopause, the most common menopause symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Loss of libido
For many women the changes that perimenopause brings can be difficult to adjust to. Common experiences that perimenopause triggers include:
- Disturbed sleep
- Mood swings
- Poor memory performance
- Vaginal dryness
- Generalized itching
Fortunately, many treatment options are available for managing these symptoms. Menopausal women looking for relief however, should always discuss their available options with a doctor before making a decision. Click the following link to learn more about perimenopause and treatments are available during menopause.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.