When Do Women Start Experiencing Perimenopause Symptoms?
Women dread menopause. It is associated with old age and feeling miserable. While menopause is a natural part of the aging process, there are steps that can be taken to minimize its effects. In order to do so, it is important to understand when the body is transitioning into menopause. This transition period is called perimenopause. So what is it and what do perimenopause symptoms look like?
What is Perimenopause?
Menopause does not just start overnight. It is a long process that should not come as a surprise, as your body gives you plenty of warning signs that it is approaching. Women will start to experience irregular menstruation cycles, which signals the beginning of perimenopause. This is the body transitioning into menopause, and can start anytime during a woman’s late 30s or mid-50s, but is most common between the ages of 45-55. Perimenopause usually lasts about 7 years, but it can last as long as 14 years in some cases. The ovaries start to slowly produce less and less estrogen (the main female sex hormone) during this time.
Every woman is different. Not every woman will begin or end perimenopause at the same age or experience it for the same length of time. Your body is unique to you. The same goes for the symptoms associated with perimenopause. The list of possible symptoms is long, but not everybody experiences the same symptoms during the menopausal transition.
What are the symptoms of Perimenopause?
Early perimenopause symptoms usually start as just irregular periods. As perimenopause lasts several years, it may take a few months for other symptoms to begin to arise. Many common symptoms that are experienced during the transition period are due to decreasing estrogen levels. The decline in hormone production is not a fast process, which is why perimenopause lasts so long. As the ovaries produce less estrogen and hormone levels are depleting, symptoms become more prevalent and severe.
Hot flashes are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. How extreme these hot flashes can be really differs from person to person, but they can happen often and make life miserable. On the low end of the spectrum, some women just feel a little warm, where on the other end women may feel as if they are engulfed in fire. A hot flash can strike suddenly and at any time, and usually last about 1-5 minutes at a time. They can happen every few days or as frequently as many times each and every day. During a hot flash, women typically experience flushing, varying degrees of sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion.
Hot flashes can even occur while you sleep in the form of night sweats. Nobody likes sleep disturbances, especially waking up in a pool of sweat or feel uncomfortably hot while they sleep. Unfortunately, hot flashes don’t always go away after perimenopause is over. They often last for a year or 2 after menopause and sometimes even years beyond that.
While irregular periods, hot flashes, and night sweats are the most common symptoms, other notable perimenopausal symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Worsened PMS prior to periods
- Weight gain
- Concentration difficulties
- Muscle aches
- Urinary tract infections
- Fertility issues
- *It is still possible to get pregnant during perimenopause despite the drop in estrogen levels
- Loss of sex drive
- Increased heartbeat
- Hair changes
The list is long, but that is not where it ends. When you couple that with these common symptoms of having low estrogen levels, it can make life much more uncomfortable:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Mood swings
- Frequent urination
- Vaginal dryness
- Dry skin
Perimenopausal women experiencing insomnia are usually dealing with night sweats. Some studies have shown a relationship between the two. It is estimated that about 40% of these women are having sleep problems. As far as vaginal dryness goes, that typically does not occur until towards the end of the perimenopause process. The problem usually gets worse after menopause, where the vaginal tissue becomes thinner and drier. Vaginal dryness causes itching and irritation and can make intercourse painful and uncomfortable. It is also possible for high cholesterol levels to be associated with low estrogen levels, which is a reason why postmenopausal women are at a higher risk for heart disease.
As a woman progresses through perimenopause and their hormone levels decline, she’ll start to experience more and more menopausal symptoms. At some point, she will stop having a menstrual period altogether. After 12 months have passed since her final menstruation cycle, she will have officially entered menopause.
Menopause signals the official end of menstruation. The ovaries stop releasing eggs and producing estrogen. While the process that has been described is the natural process of menopause, it can also be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries. If this is the case, menopausal symptoms may be experienced right away. According to studies, menopausal symptoms usually last 4-5 years following the final menstrual cycle. So if these symptoms are so unpleasant and can last for such a long period of time, what can be done to help women feel better? There are a couple of natural treatment options that have become increasingly popular recently that can help minimize the effect of menopause and let you feel healthier and happier again.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is an all-natural solution to low estrogen levels and hormonal imbalance. Bioidentical hormones are derived from plants and identical to the hormones that your body naturally produces. Using bioidentical hormone pellet therapy, you can restore your hormone levels to what they were during your younger years with little to no effort on your end. A pellet is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected and absorbed into the body. After taking a blood test, each pellet is made specifically to cater to your needs and releases hormones into the body over time in order to maintain optimal levels and balance.
By using pellet therapy, you can set it and forget it. Pellets last about 3-4 months each and treatment can take as little as 30 minutes. No need to worry about applying a cream or taking a pill each day. Just one pellet is all it takes to start improving your quality of life.
If perimenopause has caused you to experience urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness, low sex drive, or painful intercourse, the O-Shot may be right for you. Using platelet-rich plasma, the O-Shot was created for women who want to improve their sexual responses and treat urinary incontinence. Blood is extracted from the patient and treated to extract growth factors in the plasma, and then injected back into the numbed area. The shot rejuvenates vaginal and clitoral function, significantly increasing sensitivity.
The O-Shot also helps stop embarrassing leaks and trips to the bathroom. About 57-75% of women suffer from urinary incontinence, and nobody should have to feel socially awkward because they can’t control their bladder. The O-Shot has no side effects and treatment can take as little as 30 minutes.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
If you have reached menopause or experience symptoms of perimenopause, there is help available. Don’t hesitate to start feeling healthier and younger again; find out if hormone therapy is right for you by taking our free online hormone test. Restorative Health is currently offering free consultations for first-time patients to speak with a specialist to help customize a treatment program catered to your needs. We have different financing and payment options available and try to work with your insurance provider to minimize out of pocket costs. Give yourself permission to call (314) 300-9199 today or schedule your free consultation below to change your life and feel better again.