Perimenopause is a time in a woman’s life when her ovaries start to slow down the production of hormones. Sometimes this will happen as soon as her 30’s, and other times not until her 40’s or 50’s. Menopause could be a number of years away, no matter when symptoms of perimenopause begin. This can be a long time to transition. It’s important to realize that no two people are the same when it comes to symptoms, so comparing with your friend may not be helpful. Read on to learn about symptoms you may experience during perimenopause.
Is your period not showing up when you expect it to? This is a hallmark of perimenopause. Of course, there are a number of reasons you may miss a period, pregnancy included. It is possible for women to become pregnant during perimenopause. Get tested. During perimenopause, periods can become longer and heavier, or shorter and lighter. Or, both. Make sure to get checked out if something seems off (heavy clotting, for example)
Sleeplessness is one of the more common symptoms of perimenopause. The brain sometimes releases chemicals that are responsible for the fight or flight response with the withdrawal of estrogen. It’s not conducive to sleep.
These are sudden flashes of heat, sometimes accompanied by sweating. They’re unpleasant and not just for menopause, unfortunately.
It may be from a lack of sleep, hormone related, or both, but some women report irritability and mood swings during perimenopause. It varies — some women feel more anxious or depressed and others feel fine.
Low sex drive
Depending on the woman, there might be a feeling of sexual freedom experienced when the possibility of pregnancy no longer exists along with not having monthly periods. Other women may feel as if they’re not as desirable.
A lot of moisture leaves when estrogen leaves. This isn’t a sign that a woman is sexually inadequate in any way; it’s a natural, biological occurrence. It can make sex more painful, but there are a number of lubricants to help. Communicate with your gynecologist about this issue.
This is common during the years of perimenopause. It’s also a unique type of weight gain, as the weight does not evenly distribute and tends to settle on the belly. It’s important to fight the ‘battle of the bulge’ when we’re older because it’s more difficult to lose weight as we age.
While it’s possible this could signify your period or pregnancy, breast pain, known as mastalgia, is common among perimenopausal women, too.
It’s not unusual for women to experience bladder changes during perimenopause. Some may be uncomfortable speaking about it with anyone.
Many changes, those with hormones included, can trigger a migraine. This does not mean that everyone will experience a migraine, but it’s also helpful to know that some women may, even if they’ve never had one before.