While women are aware that menopause is on the horizon, not all women are aware of how it will begin manifesting itself in their lives. Since menopause is going to effect every woman eventually, it’s unfortunate that this universal experience is still shrouded in mystery for so many women. Menopause doesn’t officially occur until a woman has gone without a period for 12 months, but perimenopausal symptoms can actually occur up to 10 years (or more!) before that.
So how do you know if you’re experiencing perimenopause?
Well, the symptoms are broad-ranging and highly individual, progressing at a different pace for every woman. But as your body gradually produces less estrogen, there are a number of signs that may suggest you are entering perimenopausal territory.
Here are 7 of the more common symptoms:
This is a common symptom, with women reporting everything from a flushed face to intense perspiration, lasting a few seconds to a few minutes. Nighttime hot flashes, or night sweats, can be especially uncomfortable and can interfere with sleep quality.
As your ovaries gradually decrease production of estrogen and the sleep-promoting hormone progesterone, you may notice that it becomes more difficult to fall asleep. Hot flashes and mood swings, two other perimenopause symptoms, can also contribute to a poor night’s sleep.
Often one of the earliest signs of perimenopause, mood swings associated with hormonal changes can range from anxiety to despair to rage. Women may be at a higher risk of depression during the transition to menopause so it is important to be aware of these changes and to seek help when necessary.
Sometimes referred to as “crashing fatigue,” some perimenopausal (and postmenopausal) women may experience a sudden and overwhelming sense of weakness, exhaustion and reduced energy levels. This may be due to hormonal imbalance, but lack of sleep caused by night sweats and insomnia may also play a role.
Before your period stops, it will likely change. As ovulation becomes erratic, you may notice shorter cycles, longer cycles, lighter or heavier flows, and/or an increase in the intensity of PMS symptoms. Eventually you will have fewer periods, but because the endometrium that sheds during your cycle tends to overgrow when you don’t ovulate, your flow may remain heavy.
Lowering levels of estrogen in your body can cause the tissue in your vaginal area to lose lubrication, causing discomfort during intercourse and leaving you more vulnerable to urinary or vaginal infections.
Forgetfulness or “brain fog”
Many women experience instances of forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating during perimenopause. This effect on cognitive function is caused by fluctuating hormone levels, but is temporary and rarely a cause for concern.
For some women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or biodentical hormone therapy (BHT) may provide fast relief of these perimenopausal symptoms as their natural estrogen and progesterone production declines. Another option for relief is our MenoEase supplement for a safe and natural way to address the full spectrum of menopausal symptoms.