WHAT IS PERIMENOPAUSE AND HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM MENOPAUSE?
Perimenopause and menopause are two terms that often cause confusion.
Many people use them interchangeably, but they actually refer to different stages of life.
In this blog post, we will explain what perimenopause and menopause are, how they affect your hormones, what symptoms you may experience, and how to diagnose them.
We will also provide some tips on how to cope with perimenopause and when to see a doctor.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the period of time before menopause, when your ovaries start to produce less estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle.
Perimenopause usually begins in your 40s, but it can start as early as your mid-30s or as late as your 50s.
Perimenopause lasts until you reach menopause, which is the point when your ovaries stop releasing eggs and your periods stop completely.
What is menopause?
Menopause is the end of your reproductive years, when you have gone twelve consecutive months without a period.
The average age of menopause is 51, but it can vary from 40 to 58.
Menopause is a natural process that occurs as your ovaries run out of eggs and stop producing hormones.
Menopause is not a disease or a disorder, but a normal transition that every woman goes through.
How do perimenopause and menopause affect your hormones?
During perimenopause and menopause, your hormone levels fluctuate and decline, causing changes in your body and your mood.
Estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones that control your menstrual cycle, your fertility, and your reproductive health.
They also have effects on your
- skin, and
As your ovaries produce less of these hormones, you may notice some of the following changes:
- Your periods become irregular, shorter, longer, lighter, or heavier.
- You may skip some periods or have more frequent periods.
- You may also experience spotting or bleeding between periods.
You may have hot flashes, which are **sudden feelings of heat that spread over your face, neck, and chest. **
You may also sweat more and have chills afterwards.
Hot flashes can occur at any time of the day or night, and can last from a few seconds to several minutes.
They can be mild or intense, and can affect your sleep quality and your daily activities.
You may have trouble sleeping, either because of hot flashes, night sweats, or other reasons.
You may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early.
You may experience mood swings, anxiety, depression, or irritability.
You may notice changes in your sexual health and function.
You may have less interest in sex, or find it less enjoyable or satisfying.
You may also have vaginal dryness, which can cause discomfort, itching, burning, or pain during sex.
You may also be more prone to urinary tract infections or vaginal infections.
You may notice changes in your physical appearance and health.
You may gain weight, especially around your waist.
You may also lose muscle mass and bone density, which can increase your risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
You may also have changes in your skin, hair, and nails, such as dryness, thinning, or wrinkling.
How do you diagnose perimenopause and menopause?
There is no definitive test to diagnose perimenopause or menopause.
The best way to determine if you are in perimenopause or menopause is to track your symptoms and your menstrual cycle.
You can use a calendar, a journal, or an app such as mySysters to record the dates and details of your periods, as well as any changes or problems you notice.
You can also talk to your doctor about your symptoms and your medical history.
Your doctor may perform a physical exam, a pelvic exam, a pap smear, a blood test, or a urine test to rule out any other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
How do you cope with perimenopause and menopause?
Perimenopause and menopause can be challenging, but they can also be an opportunity to take care of yourself and embrace your new stage of life.
There are many ways to cope with perimenopause and menopause, such as:
Making healthy lifestyle choices.
- Eating a balanced diet,
- drinking plenty of water,
- exercising regularly,
- quitting smoking,
- limiting alcohol and caffeine, and
- managing stress can help you feel better physically and mentally.
They can also reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Seeking treatment options.
Depending on your symptoms and your personal preferences, you may consider different treatment options to relieve your discomfort and improve your well-being.
Some of the common treatment options include
- hormone therapy,
- non-hormonal medications,
- herbal remedies, and
- alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, yoga, or meditation.
You should always consult with your doctor before starting any treatment, and weigh the benefits and risks of each option.
**Finding support and information. **
You are not alone in your perimenopause and menopause journey.
You can find support and information from various sources, such as your doctor, your family, your friends, or other women who are going through the same experience.
You can join online forums, support groups, or social media platforms that focus on perimenopause and menopause.
You can also read books, blogs, podcasts, or websites that provide reliable and trustworthy information and education about perimenopause and menopause.
**Celebrating yourself and your achievements. **
Perimenopause and menopause are not the end of your life, but the beginning of a new chapter.
You have accomplished so much in your life, and you have so much more to offer.
You can use this time to focus on yourself, your goals, and your passions.
You can also explore new hobbies, interests, or opportunities that you may have missed or postponed before.
You can also express yourself creatively, such as through writing, painting, or music.
You can also treat yourself, such as by buying something you like, going on a trip, or having a spa day.
When should you see a doctor?
Perimenopause and menopause are normal and natural, but sometimes they can cause problems that need medical attention.
You should see a doctor if you have any of the following:
- Periods that are very heavy, very frequent, very long, or very painful, or that cause anemia or interfere with your daily activities.
- Bleeding or spotting between periods, or after menopause.
- Symptoms that are severe, persistent, or interfere with your daily activities, such as hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, or vaginal dryness.
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, discharge, odor, or pain in your vagina or urinary tract.
- Signs of osteoporosis, such as fractures, height loss, or back pain.
- Signs of cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or dizziness.
- Signs of cancer, such as lumps, changes, or pain in your breasts, uterus, ovaries, or cervix.
Perimenopause and menopause are two life stages that involve hormonal changes, symptoms, and challenges.
However, they can also be a time of growth, empowerment, and celebration.
By understanding what perimenopause and menopause are, how they affect your hormones, what symptoms you may experience, and how to diagnose them, you can better cope with them and enjoy your new phase of life.
You can seek treatment options, find support and information, and celebrate yourself and your achievements.
You can also see a doctor if you have any problems or concerns that need medical attention.
Remember, perimenopause and menopause are not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter in your life.
The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.