When discussing women’s health concerns in our later years, one of the most frequently mentioned topics is menopause. The comments about night sweats, hot flashes, sexual changes, and the end of menstruation almost always dominate the conversation. What is rarely discussed is the fact that, prior to this event, there is a transitional period known as perimenopause. This is an important transition in our lives and can take several years before it passes, and we enter into full menopause. We felt it was essential to provide information about this period for our readers, and put together this article to do so.
What Exactly Is Perimenopause?
The clearest way to explain this is to give the definition of menopause. A woman has officially entered menopause once they have gone a full year without having their period. Before this milestone has been reached, there is a period lasting up to 10 years that is perimenopause. During this time period, it’s possible for you to experience symptoms similar to those that occur as part of menopause, but you will also have periods that are intermittent and unreliable. You may have one every month, or go a few months without having one, or only a few weeks. Periods are often shorter, though they can also be longer. The amount of bleeding you experience during them can lighten to mere spots or become quite heavy.
What Other Symptoms May Appear As Part of Perimenopause?
In addition to changes in menstruation, there are other concerns that may make an appearance during perimenopause. These can include problems with insomnia, problems controlling your bladder, hot flashes, and mood swings. These are all fairly common and don’t indicate any problems beyond your natural changes. There are some indicators that indicate a potential problem, however.
See Your Women’s Health Care Provider If:
◦ Bleeding that requires changing your tampon or pad more than once every two hours
◦ Bleeding that occurs between your periods
◦ Period intervals lasting less than 21 days
◦ Bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
These can be indicators of serious issues, and you should schedule an appointment with your specialist immediately if they appear.
Important Facts About Perimenopause
We’ve talked about the symptoms that will let you know you’re in the grips of perimenopause and when you may need to see a health professional about your symptoms. There are also a few important facts to be aware of about this time in your life so that you can take appropriate precautions to avoid the complications they might present.
• Pregnancy is still possible during perimenopause
• LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol levels can spike during this time
• Dropping estrogen levels can lead to the onset of osteoporosis
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms that were mentioned above or would like to start preparing for perimenopause by asking questions of a specialist, call us today. Dr. Judith Gurdian helps educate women at all stages of life about their health concerns at Capital Women’s Care Rockville in Rockville, MD. Call Dr. Gurdian today to take control of your future!