Symptoms of Perimenopause
Symptoms of perimenopause are identical to those associated with menopause. The only difference is that perimenopause starts earlier and is the precursor of menopause.
Perimenopause, or menopause transition as it is sometimes referred to, is the actual stage of a woman’s life when the reproductive process begins to slow down. It is a common misunderstanding that this happens at menopause. However, menopause actually signifies the complete cessation of menopausal periods and the end of childbearing years. Perimenopausal women though less likely, still may become pregnant during the perimenopausal stage of their lives.
Perimenopause, or menopause transition, is the stage of a woman's reproductive life that begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman's 40s, but can start in a woman's 30s or even earlier as well.
Associative symptoms of perimenopause are directly linked to declining estrogen levels and unbalanced hormones. During perimenopause, a woman’s ovaries begin to produce less estrogen.
Perimenopause is a natural occurring part of every woman’s life and should not be considered as an affliction or disease.
Perimenopause has been described as the time leading up to menopause, which may take several years. Menopause is really just a single day event and can be measured backward calculating 12 consecutive and uninterrupted months without a single menstrual cycle.
While a woman might still become pregnant if perimenopausal, perimenopause signifies the end of a woman’s ability to become pregnant. In physical terms, the ovaries begin to shut down and produce less estrogen and progesterone.
Symptoms of perimenopause can be different for every woman. Among the most noted symptoms of perimenopause are changes related to the menstrual cycle. A woman may begin to notice spotty or irregular periods, skipped periods, as well as hard and uncomfortable periods. All are natural changes and not usually a cause for alarm.
Other symptoms of perimenopause include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular sleep patterns, vaginal dryness, difficulty focusing, mood changes, hair loss and/or facial hair growth, breast tenderness, worsening of premenstrual syndrome, fatigue, urine leakage during coughing or sneezing, and urinary urgency.
Knowledge can help to ease the transition phase between perimenopause and menopause. Once symptoms of perimenopause begin, it is advised to take note of the details of each period so that they can be shared with and evaluated by a primary health care provider or specialist. Note when periods start and stop, indicating whether they are light or heavy, along with any other symptoms of note.
Some women have been known to take birth control pills in order to help manage symptoms of perimenopause even though they are not taken for birth preventative measures. However, women past the age of 35 should not even consider this as a viable option. Like hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the risks are too great.
Other viable options to ameliorate symptoms of perimenopause include, diet, exercise, knowledge of catalysts, changes to clothing and bedding options, vitamins, minerals, and all natural supplements.
Changes in diet may be necessary to avert the more serious symptoms of perimenopause. Specific diet changes include the elimination of or reduction of hot and spicy foods, any food or beverage containing caffeine or other artificial stimulants, late-night snacks, addition of more whole foods including fruits and vegetables and the restriction of fast foods and processed foods. Whole grain foods along with calcium-rich choices like milk, cheeses and yogurt should also be added to the die plan.
Diet augmentation via mineral and vitamin supplementation is also advised. As we age, we are less capable of retaining essential vitamins and minerals. This is (unfortunately) especially true of perimenopausal and menopausal women. It may be best advised to seek out a nutritionist on this topic so that a tailor-made vitamin and mineral plan can be mapped out.
However, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, B-12, B complex, Vitamin D, as well as supplements containing higher concentrations of Omega 3 fatty oils are recommended. Calcium is doubly important not only for its perimenopause symptom management properties, but also due to its ability to ward off the deleterious effects of Osteoporosis.
Awareness of hot flash and night sweat triggers and catalysts are essential for women of perimenopausal and menopausal age. Smoking at any age is ill-advised but is a huge no-no during perimenopause and menopause.
Exercise, especially load-bearing exercise plays a prime role in maintaining good perimenopause and menopausal health. Running, jogging, walking (but not swimming), as well as weight resistance training are best to achieve this end.
If possible, averting stress and/or stressful situations will go a long way toward the prevention of hot flash blooms. Layered clothing and bedding as well as clothing with wicking properties will also help to keep the perimenopausal and menopausal symptom sufferer cool.
While signs of perimenopause can last for upward to twelve years, the average duration is four years and ends the first year of menopause. The decline of estrogen levels seriously escalates during the last two years of perimenopause.
Symptoms of perimenopause accelerate during this time period. Estrogen levels decline at a more rapid pace and hormones are more greatly imbalanced.
While irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause, other unconnected symptoms can cause abnormal bleeding and could be cause for concern. Should a woman experience periods lasting days longer than usual, spotting between periods, spotting following sex, or periods occurring closer together, she should seek out medical advice so as to rule out more serious concerns.
Understanding and awareness of symptoms of perimenopause will not only prepare one in advance, but also ease the transition phase between perimenopause and menopause.
Often a medical professional can diagnose perimenopause based on the individual’s symptoms. Blood tests and urine analysis during this phase may be useful however; erratic hormone and estrogen fluctuations during this time period may make a more precise evaluation difficult. Several tests conducted over a broader time span may allow for a more accurate diagnosis.
Clinical in vivo trials have been conducted on only a relatively small number of holistic, herbal, all-natural, or plant based supplements that address the symptoms of perimenopause. Among these are flax hull lignans containing powerful phytonutrients proven to ameliorate many of the common symptoms linked to perimenopause and menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings.
FemFlax™ is a highly concentrated and encapsulated flax hull lignin derivative of whole ground flaxseed, clinically proven to be as effective as HRT in managing symptoms linked to perimenopause. For more information on FemFlax, please visit our website at: www.femflax.com.