Perimenopause symptoms otherwise known as menopause transition are the stage wherein physical changes occur in women to prepare for menopause.
When a woman doesn’t experience any menstrual period for 12 consecutive months, it is known as menopause. A woman can tell if she is experiencing perimenopause symptoms when she is undergoing changes in her menstrual periods. These changes typically occur several years before menopause symptoms appear. Pms symptoms occur because of changes in the levels of hormones produced by aging ovaries, which then leads to irregular menstrual patterns and hot flashes. Other changes include fatigue, difficulty sleeping, a change in sexual desire, vaginal dryness, forgetfulness, mood swings, and night sweats.
There is no specific age in which pms symptoms occur. Women may experience this disorder at various ages. In some women, symptoms may appear as early as their 30s or 40s. The appearance of symptoms is not influenced by the use of oral contraceptives, number of children, height, or race. Periods may become lighter, heavier, shorter, or longer. It may last less or more than 28 days apart. However, various treatment methods are available to help ease the symptoms of menopause transition.
Causes and Risk Factors of Perimenopause Symptoms
As a woman ages, a fluctuation in the production of progesterone and estrogen occurs. These fluctuations in the hormone are the cause of changes in the body which results to perimenopause symptoms. However, studies have also shown that certain factor increases the risk of a woman in developing pms symptoms early. This includes women who have a family history of the disorder. Studies have shown that a woman may experience menopause at about the same age as their sisters or mothers.
Certain studies have also shown that women who smoke may experience menopause one or two years earlier compared to women who don’t smoke. Women who have never had a baby are also more likely to develop menopause early. Furthermore, women who have undergone treatment for cancer such as pelvic radiation therapy or chemotherapy during childhood are also at a higher risk of having early menopause.
During the perimenopause period, a woman may experience certain physical changes. The most common symptom of perimenopause is menstrual irregularity. Woman may experience periods with shorter or longer interval. The menstrual flow may also be profuse or scanty and skipped periods may occur. In most cases, sleep problems and hot flashes may occur. The frequency, duration, and intensity of hot flashes usually vary from one woman to another. Hot flashes are often the cause of sleep problems as well as with night sweats. However, sleep problems may also occur without them.
Perimenopause symptoms such as: depression, irritability, and mood swings may also occur. These symptoms are usually the result of sleep disturbances as well as hormonal changes. The low levels of estrogen also results to the vaginal tissues losing their elasticity and lubrication. This results to painful sexual intercourse. The low levels of estrogen also make a woman vulnerable to vaginal and urinary infections. Urinary incontinence may also develop due to loss of tissue tone.
In most cases, the sexual desire and arousal may decrease in women experiencing perimenoupause. The ability to conceive also decreases because of irregular ovulation. However, pregnancy is still possible as long as periods still exist. The risk for osteoporosis increases because of loss of bone mass due to low levels of estrogen.
Perimenopause Symptoms Diagnosis
The diagnosis of perimenopause usually depends on its symptoms. No diagnostic tests exist to determine if a woman is experiencing perimenopause. However, the physician may take some factors into consideration such as: body changes, menstrual history, and age. The physician may also conduct test to check for the levels of hormone. Tests for thyroid function may also be done as the thyroid may affect the levels of hormone in a woman’s body. However, in most cases, testing for hormones are not necessary.
Perimenopause Symptoms Treatment
Since the cause of pms symptoms are hormonal changes. Hormone replacement is essential. This can be done through the use of oral contraceptives. These can help control symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and regulate periods. In cases the use of oral contraceptives is not possible; an alternative would be cyclic progestin therapy. This type of therapy may aid in the regulation of periods. The use of progestin-containing intrauterine device may also help women who are experiencing symptoms such as heavy bleeding.
Procedures such as endometrial ablation may aid in providing relief, especially in perimenopause symptoms such as heavy bleeding. During endometrial ablation, the endometrium or inner lining of the uterus is destroyed with the use of head, electrical energy, or laser. This may end menstruation or reduce menstrual flow. However, this procedure isn’t recommended for all women, which makes it important to first talk to your physician before starting treatment.
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