As menopause approaches, women often begin to notice changes in symptoms. Good news and bad news. Some symptoms will improve. Others will be stronger. This article explores six signs that perimenopause is on its way out the door.
But first, let’s cover some basics:
What is perimenopause?
Ah, the slow and steady march of time.
Simply put, perimenopause is your body’s way of telling you that it’s getting ready for menopause. It is one of the many natural rhythms that define our lives. You can think of it as a chrysalis-like intermediate stage between a butterfly and a caterpillar. Perimenopause is the transition window between your reproductive years and the menopausal years when you stop ovulating (and your periods).
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels don’t fluctuate as much as they used to. Fluctuations in this hormone can lead to a variety of symptoms, from irregular periods to some of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes.
When perimenopause begins
Every woman’s body works under different hormonal, chemical and biological pressures. Because of these variables, it can be difficult to say exactly when perimenopause will begin. Some women start to notice symptoms in their 30s, while others don’t notice them until their 40s.
Certain risky behaviors, such as smoking, can trigger the process earlier. Other factors, such as your family history and medical history, can affect exactly when perimenopause begins.
Perimenopause does not have a specific length of time. The average female perimenopause is four years, but some women report that their perimenopause lasts more than ten years. During the last two years of the premenopausal cycle, the decline in estrogen levels accelerates. Finally, after 12 months without a period, perimenopause ends and menopause officially begins.
The only sure thing about perimenopause is that it will (and probably will) happen, so it’s important to know about the symptoms associated with it.
Symptoms of perimenopause
How perimenopause is experienced also varies. However, there are several symptoms that most women experience to some degree:
While some of us have very regular periods, other women naturally experience irregular periods every month. Regardless of your normal state, menopause will gradually change. If your periods are irregular due to medications, biology, or other factors, this symptom may be difficult to detect. One of the most important things to know if you are going through menopause is whether the length of your periods has changed over several menstrual cycles.
Hot flashes – sudden, intense hot flashes are one of the premenopause and menopause symptoms. However, some women – 1 in 5 – experience hot flashes.
Mood swings are another common symptom of perimenopause, with 75% of perimenopausal women reporting mood swings. Like other premenopause symptoms, these are caused by fluctuating hormone levels.
Night sweats are hot flashes that happen while you sleep. These hot flashes can throw you out of restful sleep and disrupt your sleep cycle. Many women wake up with wet pajamas and wet sheets.
Headaches are more common in premenopausal women. The cause of these headaches is often associated with wild fluctuations in hormone levels. Many women report fewer headaches as they go through menopause and their hormones balance out.
As if the other symptoms weren’t enough, women also report feeling tired and exhausted, both mentally and physically. Insomnia, sleeplessness caused by hormonal fluctuations, and night sweats are to blame here.