Common Perimenopause Signs & Symptoms
There are many signs and symptoms for perimenopause and menopause. There also seems to be as many different symptoms as there are women!
It is important to establish the cause of these symptoms as definitely related to perimenopause or menopause. Thyroid diseases, as well as a number of other ailments, can present with these same symptoms. Because of this, it is imperative to consult your physician if and when you notice these changes in your body. It is worth noting that the physical changes a woman experiences while going through perimenopause are usually more severe and intense than what she will experience later during her menopause.
is a time where hormone levels widely fluctuate and render the hallmark traits such as hot flashes, as very noticeable. It is at menopause when our hormone levels become more settled and our bodies adjust to these new lower levels. It is the journey to these new set points that make perimenopause interesting, to say the least !
The fact of the matter with both perimenopause and menopause, is that no two women will experience it the same way. One of the only reliable predictors of how your perimenopause and menopause will go is to take a look at your motherâ€™s and if you can grandmotherâ€™s experience. Very often women follow the same patterns as their mothers.
Here are the most common signs of perimenopause, note that since we all are individuals signs can vary : )
Hot Flashes/ Cold flashes
The hot flashes can range from feeling a strong blush to profuse sweating with intense heat starting at the upper parts the body (head, neck areas).
Changes in menses ( irregular cycles)
Menses can become heavier, lighter, come more frequently or less so, last longer or shorter in duration than usual. What happens in the menstrual cycle?
A woman can find herself feeling more irritable, teary, emotionally detached and worrying more than usual. Many gals have shared a heightened sense of anxiety without a particular cause. Food cravings have been noted especially during the second half of the menstrual cycle. There can be an increase in appetite, feelings of nausea and a general decrease in energy. Because of lowered estrogen levels there may be a decrease in a womanâ€™s libido (sex drive) and pain upon intercourse due to vaginal dryness. A woman may have poor motivation and a general sense of fatigue. Sleep disturbances are very popular during perimenopause and menopause. This can be seen in difficulties going to sleep, waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep and early morning wakening.
Sleep disturbances are very popular during perimenopause and menopause. This can be seen as difficulties going to sleep, waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep and early morning wakening. This can lead to feelings of depression though some women feel depressed at this time without sleeping disturbances.
You may feel like you are forgetting things more easily. Sometimes this is referred to as "brain fog". It may be due to lack of sleep and/or the fact that since there are hundreds of estrogen receptors on the brain and the decreased estrogen levels effects brain function, including memory.
Stress or/and urge incontinence may be a symptom of perimenopause. You feel like you have to go to the bathroom all the time. You also may feel that you cannot get to the bathroom fast enough and sustain some urine leakage (urge incontinence). Sometimes when a gal sneezes, coughs or laughs very hard she may lose a bit of urine, this is stress incontinence. Because of changes in the normal bacteria in our vagina and there may be an increased incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Sexual Changes :
Due to lowered estrogen levels the tissues that make up the cervixâ€™s lining become more fragile and almost paper thin. This may result in light spotting after sex. The thinning of the vaginal lining which is normally maintained by adequate estrogen levels, can cause uncomfortable vaginal dryness and itching and with decreased lubrication can make intercourse painful and uncomfortable.
also see: Mayo Interview: Sexual Changes
Some gals experience "crawling skin"- their skin feels tingling, dry , maybe a burning sensation.
Joint and muscle aches and pains
Heart burn can be a common complaint during perimenopause and menopause.
A pounding or racing feeling of the heart can be very scary. It is important to have a doctor check this out before you decide that it is due to perimenopause. In perimenopause this pounding is harmless to your body and may be accompanied by a feeling of shortness of breath. Hot flashes may accompany this symptom.
Benign ovarian cysts.
(It is important to be sure that it is only ovarian cysts and not something more serious.