You've probably heard the word menopause many times, but it's less likely you're familiar with the term perimenopause. It is important to understand that these two words are often used interchangeably. When someone says the word menopause, more often than not, they are referring to perimenopause. This is the time in a woman's life when she suffers from symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and irregular periods. Menopause occurs when a woman stops ovulating and becomes infertile. Continue reading to find out more about perimenopause.
The Cause of Perimenopause Symptoms
A woman experiences the symptoms of perimenopause because her body stops producing the same amounts of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as it did before she entered the perimenopause phase. The production of each of these hormones plummets, causing often uncomfortable side effects. Low levels of estrogen and testosterone may cause hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido, among other things.
There are other, lesser-known symptoms of perimenopause, including depression, itchy skin, muscle tension, or the sensation of a burning tongue. All of these side effects are caused by lower levels of vital hormones.
What You Can Do about Perimenopause
While perimenopause is a natural life stage that cannot be halted, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms it can produce.
Talk to your doctor
Your doctor will be able to instruct you on the best methods of treatment for your particular menopause symptoms. With so many different options, it can be difficult to know what is going to work best for you and what will yield the best results with minimal side effects.
Staying healthy will help you through the perimenopause phase more than you can imagine. Make sure you consume the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day and exercise for 30 minutes a day at least five times a week. Eating a balanced diet is equally important. Adding these habits to your daily life will yield positive results and can often alleviate symptoms of perimenopause.
Talk to your friends
You are certainly not alone in this situation; many times, your friends are going through similar experiences. Vent, complain, laugh, and listen to what your friends have to say about their own experiences during menopause. When you feel like you have the support of your friends, it is tremendously easier to go through menopause with grace and humor.
Follow the links below to learn more about the relationship between hormones and perimenopause and how you can treat the symptoms safely and naturally.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Retrieved February 22, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html