What About Perimenopause?
We all know menopause as that dreaded stage of life when wacky hormones bring hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain as our menstrual period comes to an end. But what about the time period leading up to menopause? Perimenopause may be less talked about, but it is a stage of life that can be equally frustrating and disrupted by hormone fluctuations.
Perimenopause refers to the time in which a woman’s body makes its natural transition toward permanent infertility (menopause). Women go through perimenopause at different ages, but the most common time is around the early 40s. The level of estrogen rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause causing the menstrual cycles to lengthen or shorten and to become heavier or lighter. Many women also experience symptoms similar to menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, this phase can last longer than you want it to.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “the average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some people may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years.” Once it has been more than 12 months since your last monthly period, you can consider yourself out of perimenopause.
You Can Still Get Treatment
Just because you are not in full blown menopause, doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for treatment. As your trusted physicians at North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand the setbacks of menopause as well as the frustrations of perimenopause that lead up to this stage of life. This transition phase can be difficult to manage on your own, especially if you are not expecting it at such an early age. Some women experience the onset of perimenopause in their 30’s!
Women typically notice a change in their menstrual cycles or length of periods when perimenopause begins. The following are considered common warning signs that you may be in the inevitable stage of perimenopause:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Vaginal and bladder problems
- Decreasing fertility
- Changes in sexual function
- Loss of bone
- Changing cholesterol levels
Depending on your tolerance for hormone replacement, we can recommend conventional menopause therapy as well as holistic therapies such as lifestyle adjustments and supplements to manage your symptoms. Call North Point OB/GYN today to book your consult in Cumming. We believe in a better quality of life – despite your changing hormones.