7 Early Signs That You Might Be Entering Perimenopause
The “change of life” is inevitable and will hit all uterus-owners sooner or later. But our first taste of the sweaty hell that is menopause is her unpredictable little sister, perimenopause.
She can show up unexpectedly, taunting you with confusing symptoms for a few months, then disappear again only to turn up again next year. Perimenopause is like a test drive, a taste test of what life is like once menopause actually sets in. It is when hormone production from your ovaries is beginning to decline.
The average age of menopause occurs at 51 years, but it can happen earlier. Symptoms often last between five and ten years. Perimenopause is the stage before menopause occurs, which is defined by not having a period at all for 12 months.
So, what are the signs of perimenopause? How can you tell if you are experiencing it? Here are seven signs that you might be entering perimenopause.
1. Hot Flushes
Ahh, you knew this one would be on the list, didn’t you? Hot flushes (or flashes) are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. You will feel sudden warmth or heat which spreads all over the body creating a redness, which is noticeable on the face and the upper body. These hot flushes can vary from a mild feeling of hotness to a sensation of being surrounded by flames, and they occur as the body’s reaction to a reduction of levels of estrogen. Yay.
2. Night Sweats
Night sweats are like hot flushes but they occur at night and are accompanied by lots of sweating! Fun! Also known as ‘sleep hyperhydrosis’, night sweats can be caused by an overheated bedroom and generally disrupt your sleep and therefore your well-being the next day.
3. Irregular Periods
If night sweats and hot flushes weren’t enough, now we also get to experience the joy of irregular periods, too. And not just periods that show up unexpectedly, but periods that last for weeks, or maybe that consist of brown sludge, or are completely normal but extremely heavy. Anything goes! Spotting is also a fun symptom, like we don’t already have enough laundry to wash.
4. Loss of Libido
Is it any wonder that we aren’t in the mood if we’re already dealing with all this bullshit? Loss of libido is caused by the drop in estrogen that we experience during perimenopause and menopause.
5. Vaginal dryness
Due to reduced levels of estrogen, the vaginal lining will become thin, dry and less elastic. Stock up on lube, ladies.
6. Mood Swings
Read: More than usual.
It is very common to experience rapid changes of emotions at different times. Sometimes, it can be abrupt and intense. You can be irate one minute, and sobbing at a Cadbury ad the next. This is believed to be a result of changes in the mood-regulating neurotransmitters that are affected by changing levels of female sex hormones.
7. Breast Pain
To top it all off, our boobs get really tender and sore again, just like during pregnancy or menstruation. Pain, discomfort, soreness, or tenderness will be noticed when touching or applying pressure on the breast. Fantastic.
If you have any concerns or questions about options to manage your menopausal symptoms, visit your doctor. Bitching about it with your BFFs helps, too.