A lot of women are confused about menopause. Unfortunately, our mothers and grandmothers lived in a time when talking about women’s health was taboo, even in private. Your mother may not have given you any information about the change or how it occurs. In fact, they may not have mentioned it at all.
Perimenopause is the period of your life in which your hormones begin to decrease. Your periods will become irregular and eventually will start tapering off. You can have any of the symptoms associated with menopause during perimenopause, although symptoms will worsen as you get closer to menopause. You have shifted from perimenopause to menopause when you have been without a period for a year.
Some women think that menopausal symptoms don’t start until you begin skipping periods or go a long time without one, but in reality these symptoms can start long before your periods will stop. Because women are uninformed, they often don’t recognize menopausal symptoms for what they are.
Some of the common symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular or skipped periods
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort
- Brain fog
For most women, perimenopause starts in their 40s, although it can start earlier. Long term medication use or drug use, smoking, reproductive conditions or surgeries, and other factors can change the hormones in your body and bring on perimenopause as early as your 30s.
Perimenopause usually starts about four years before menopause. However, if you start perimenopause early, you could have symptoms for up to 10 years before your periods stop and you are in menopause. Hormone replacement therapy can make those years more bearable.
Many women are under the impression that hormone replacement therapy is not an option until they are in full menopause. However, the truth of the matter is that you can start hormone replacement therapy at any point during perimenopause if your doctor deems that your hormone levels have fallen enough to warrant it.
If you are interested in hormone replacement therapy for the treatment of perimenopause symptoms, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment. We are still seeing patients via telehealth.