September 21, 2009

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause Definition
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Perimenopause marks the interval in which your body begins its transition into menopause. Perimenopause encompasses the years leading up to menopause — anywhere from two to eight years — plus the first year after your final period. It's a natural part of aging that signals the ending of your reproductive years.

Your estrogen level rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you begin having menstrual cycles in which you don't ovulate. It's only during cycles when you do ovulate that you can become pregnant.

When perimenopause starts and how long it lasts varies. You'll probably notice signs of impending menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s. "

Technically, menopause is when women have not menstruated for a period of 12 months – thus they have completed ‘the change’.

Moms experiencing perimenopause find a host of symptoms that cause them to wonder if this is really their body. They no longer ‘feel like themselves’. Symptoms come and go and can be unpredictable and vary from woman to woman and month to month. Perimenopause is like a bad case of PMS that lingers for days, weeks, months, even years.

Perimenopause symptoms can include physical symptoms like:
· Menstrual irregularity
· Hot Flashes
· Sleep problems
· Mood changes
· Loss of Bone Density
· Changing cholesterol levels
· Headaches
· Weight Gain

Perimenopause symptoms also include emotional symptoms like:
· Anger
· Anxiety
· Depression, irritability
· Difficulty concentrating
· Fatique
· Mood swings
· Fuzzy thinking

Now that’s a fun list! To make it even more fun, many of our teens are experiencing similar symptoms. Not all women experience all these symptoms. Lifestyle and genetics play a large role in how our bodies respond to the hormonal fluctuations of perimenopause. We can’t control our genes, but we can adapt our lifestyles to minimize many of the unpleasant symptoms.

What about you? Are you experiencing these symptoms? Other symptoms (acne, heart palpitations)?

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