Perimenopause is the beginning of the transition towards Menopause
The time preceding or approaching menopause has been termed as the perimenopause. Perimenopause is the stage which begins few years before the menopause.
1. During this stage, the ovaries begin to decline in function and slowly commence to produce less estrogen.
2. Perimenopause has also been termed as the “change of life” or “transition period.”
3. There is a possibility that the perimenopausal stage becomes a difficult period in a woman’s life, as the function of the ovaries begin to decline & production of hormones is reduced.
4. In the concluding 1 to 2 years of perimenopause, the levels of estrogen may rise & drop rapidly. The woman may experience irregularities in her menstrual cycles; the menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten.
5. During this stage, several women may experience menopausal symptoms.
6. The stage of perimenopause usually begins at the age of 40s but can at times start early in the 30s.
Duration of Perimenopause stage
- On an average, the length of the perimenopausal stage is four years, while in few women it can last for only a few months or may continue for 10 years.
- The perimenopausal stage concludes when a woman has undergone absence of menstruation for over a period of 12 months; that is when menopause is attained.
Menopause & perimenopause is a normal stage in a woman’s life. Though, it may occur earlier in some women. There are certain factors responsible for the early start of perimenopause which includes:
- Surgical removal of the ovaries.
- Surgical removal of the uterus.
- Exposure to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, as these modes of treatments may damage the ovaries.
- Women with family history of premature menopause.
- Intake of certain medications.
- Certain chronic diseases.
One woman can realize that she is transitioning into menopause when she begins to experience some of the below-mentioned symptoms:
- Irregular periods.
- Hot flashes.
- Mood swings.
- Difficulty in sleeping.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Urinary Incontinence.
- Decrease sexual desire.
- Breast tenderness.
- Worsening of premenstrual syndrome.
- Decreasing fertility.
- Weight gain.
- Increased risk of osteoporosis.
1. Perimenopause can be diagnosed based on the symptoms.
2. There is no one test or sign to which can help determine the onset of perimenopause.
3. There are many aspects that may be considered such as age, menstrual history, bodily changes & symptoms experienced.
4. A blood test can be advised to check hormone levels which are not necessary to evaluate perimenopause.
Pregnancy and Perimenopause
- During this phase of perimenopause, there are chances that the woman may get pregnant despite the decline in the fertility.
- Though, both perimenopause and menopause are transitional phases which point towards the end of the reproductive years in a woman.
Management of Perimenopause symptoms
1. Drug Therapy…
Perimenopausal symptoms are generally treated by Drug therapy. Drug therapy can be in the form of:
- Hormone therapy.
- Vaginal estrogen.
- Antidepressants for mood swings.
2. Lifestyle Modifications…
There are certain lifestyle and home remedies too, which can be helpful in easing the symptoms of perimenopause and in promoting good health. Some of them are as follows:-
- Consume healthy & nutritious diet.
- Perform regular exercise & physical activity.
- Avoiding intake of alcohol, caffeine & spicy foods.
- Reduce stress.
- Get adequate sleep.
- To reduce the discomfort of vaginal dryness, a water-based vaginal lubricant can be used during sex.