Transitioning To Menopause
Most people have heard of menopause, but perimenopause is less well-known. Also referred to as the menopause transition, perimenopause is a natural process that occurs right before menopause happens. Menopause is the time when a woman stops getting periods. A woman’s body goes through significant changes during perimenopause, including reduced estrogen levels, irregular menstrual cycles, and lowered fertility. Symptoms of perimenopause, such as hot flashes, can be bothersome if not well managed.
Affecting hormone levels
Estrogen is an essential hormone for the female reproductive system. During perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to decrease, and the ovaries produce fewer eggs. When estrogen levels are affected, progesterone levels are impacted as well. Both hormones are crucial for ovulation and menstruation.
Feeling hot and moody
The symptoms of perimenopause usually begin in the mid-40s and can last for 8-10 years. Every woman experiences different symptoms and symptom severity. The first sign of perimenopause is typically irregular periods. Other signs are vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, low libido, insomnia, depression, and urinary urgency. Decreased fertility will also occur.
Relieving symptoms with prescriptions
Perimenopause symptoms do not necessarily need treatment unless the symptoms are bothersome enough to interfere with day-to-day life. A standard perimenopause treatment is estrogen therapy in the form of pills, sprays, patches, gels, and vaginal creams. If a woman still has a uterus, progestin is added. This treatment will help stabilize hormone levels, relieving symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Antidepressants are helpful for mood swings and depression and can also help with hot flashes. The doctor will recommend the right treatment based on the symptoms and the patient’s medical history.
Making a lifestyle change
Sometimes home remedies and lifestyle changes may help patients with perimenopause. Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and sleeping adequately are reasonable steps to take. Try a low-fat, high-fiber diet, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Incorporate relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. Applying over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or moisturizers may be helpful for dryness.
Effects on the bones
There are some potential risks with perimenopause. Some women may be at risk of developing osteoporosis, bone fractures, and heart diseases. Annual check-ups can help screen for any problems. Incorporating vitamin D and calcium is necessary during this transition. Focus on getting these nutrients from the diet, or talk to a health care provider about taking a dietary supplement.
Thriving in the 40s
Speak to a healthcare provider if perimenopausal symptoms are worsening or affecting daily life. With the right medication and lifestyle changes, women no longer have to suffer through the transition to menopause. The proper perimenopause treatment can ensure that the 40s are spent enjoying life, not suffering from hot flashes and mood swings.