During prime reproductive years, the ovaries produce high levels of estrogen, releasing eggs in every cycle. Over time, production slows down, knowing one day the ovaries will fail and stop producing eggs. Perimenopause is a period of transition leading up to menopause. The body feels a sudden dip in estrogen. Soon, never-before-felt symptoms creep up.
Signs of perimenopause
Perimenopause, on average, happens in the 40s. However, some younger women can experience the issue. Perimenopause can also occur for years in other women. During the period, women experience hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue. Irregular periods are one of the most common signs that perimenopause is happening. Some women report heavy, more prolonged bleeding during menstruation. Others have spotting and irregular periods.
Just not in the mood
Most women know something is wrong through sudden mood swings. Many experience anxiety, depression, and loss of sex drive when these were not an issue before. Signs of PMS, weight gain in the stomach, and stress incontinence are other common signs. Taking age into account, see a doctor about these symptoms as soon as possible.
Time for a pause
At some point, perimenopausal women will stop having periods. The ovaries stop producing estrogen. A doctor will then diagnose menopause after 12 consecutive months of no periods. So while perimenopause is a transition period, menopause is an exact moment in time. Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years. Women, on average, reach menopause at age 51. Sometimes, menopause can come on earlier, for instance, due to surgery.
Symptoms of menopause
As the body has minimal estrogen, a range of symptoms occur. The most common are hot flashes and irregular periods. Other signs include fatigue, loss of sex drive, vaginal dryness, and poor sleep. Menopause can also bring on increased stress, anxiety, brain fog, and depression. Menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke. While this is a natural occurrence, the symptoms can put a damper on the quality of life. At this point, many women decide on treatment like HRT.
Restoring lost hormones with HRT
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT is a treatment that replaces lost estrogen. A boost of estrogen can help manage menopausal symptoms. Most HRT comes in a patch, gel, pill, or spray form. HRT also comes in a combined estrogen and progesterone form. Hormone therapy has shown excellent results, reducing hot flashes, and boosting sex drive. From a health standpoint, HRT reduces the chances of heart disease and osteoporosis.
Carefully consider the risks involved
As the most effective form of treatment, women should consider getting HRT. Of course, with any medication comes side effects. Studies have shown prolonged use of HRT can increase the risk of strokes and breast cancer. Speak with a doctor about the pros and cons of long-term HRT. However, the benefits seem to exceed the risks involved.
Get help with menopause today
Both perimenopause and menopause can be a difficult time. However, this is also a great time to celebrate a natural transition in life. Many postmenopausal women find a new lease on life and even feel young and vibrant again. At the same time, women should not ignore the physical and emotional symptoms. Speak with a doctor about using and enjoying the benefits of HRT.