If you’ve found yourself wondering about the sudden changes your body is going through, you might be on the brink of perimenopause. In this article, we cut through the confusion and delve into the straightforward signs that indicate you might be entering this, sometimes confusing, phase of life. So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “Am I in perimenopause?” – this article will help break it down and get some clarity on what’s happening in your body.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause, the lead-up to menopause, is a phase every woman will go through. It’s the extended transition ending with menopause, which officially occurs when a woman hasn’t had a period for a year. Starting as early as the mid-30s, perimenopause lasts an average of four years but can stretch over a decade.
Unlike menopause, which is defined by a full year without a period, perimenopause varies significantly from person to person. The average age for perimenopause is around 47.5 years, but everyone is different.
Some may have symptoms for a couple of years before periods stop, while others experience them for a decade.
Perimenopause often flies under the radar in women’s health discussions. Some find it difficult to understand or explain, because it’s a complex process with no two women experiencing it the same way.
10 Telltale Signs You Might Be in Perimenopause
- Irregular Periods: One of the earliest indicators, your menstrual cycle may become unpredictable, with changes in flow and duration.
- Hot Flashes: Sudden bursts of heat radiating through your body, often accompanied by sweating – a classic perimenopausal experience.
- Mood Swings: Fluctuating hormones can bring about emotional rollercoasters, leading to mood swings and heightened sensitivity.
- Sleep Disturbances: Trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night? Perimenopause might be the culprit, since it can cause disruptions in your sleep patterns.
- Fatigue: Feeling more tired than usual? Persistent fatigue is a common symptom as your body adjusts to hormonal changes.
- Decreased Libido: Changes in sex hormones can lead to a decline in sexual desire and arousal.
- Vaginal Dryness: Lower estrogen levels may result in reduced vaginal lubrication, causing discomfort during sex.
- Changes in Menstrual Flow: Beyond irregularity, you may notice changes in the volume and consistency of your menstrual blood.
- Memory Issues: Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating can start, often referred to as “brain fog.”
- Joint Pain: Some women experience increased joint discomfort, possibly linked to hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause.
- Depression: The risk of depression increases during perimenopause. Symptoms of depression include crying a lot, feeling hopeless or worthless, feeling numb, and losing interest in your normal activities.