What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the time period in a woman's life that is right before menopause. Its the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. (Johnson MD, 2018) Perimenopause can start as early as a womans 20's but typically starts when a woman is in her 30's, 40's or 50's. Unfortunately there is no way to tell when perimenopause will strike because its different for every woman. Some women will just start experiencing symptoms out of the blue. Other women may notice that something just isn't right.

At the perimenopause stage, hormones may become unbalanced and will create health challenges/symptoms for many women. Some women may not have any symptoms at all or their symptoms may be very mild. Other women may have very severe symptoms. Unfortunately for myself, I experienced very severe symptoms. I had hot flashes that I'd liken to one experiencing heat stroke. I would get so overheated. My skin would be very warm. My head would ache and I felt like I was going to pass out at anytime. I was off balance. I just didn't feel like myself. My head would be "very foggy". I couldn't think clearly. My heart would race for several minutes at a time. I was experiencing hot flashes 3 to 4 times a week.

At night, I experienced hot flashes/night sweats too. I would be awakened at night by heart palpitations and I would be dripping in sweat. My body would have tremors. One moment I was extremely hot and the next I would have a chill. I felt so weak. I didn't want to get out of the bed at times. Also, my sleep schedule was virtually nonexistent. I would get a couple of hours of sleep a night. I would be extremely tired the next day. I had no energy. Honestly I felt like I just couldn't go on.

Perimenopause symptoms will vary from woman to woman. The following are some of the more common symptoms: hot flashes, breast tenderness, fatigue, irregular periods, low sex drives, mood swings, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, urine leakage when coughing or sneezing, fatigue, etc. (Johnson MD, 2018)
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 02, 2018
SOURCE: North American Menopause Society.

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