Many women experience the first symptoms of perimenopause as a total shock. Were you one of them?
You probably have noticed some changes for a while but did not realize that they may be related to menopause. After all, this change is not something most women look forward to.
So now you want to know:
And you are certainly eager to find out if your experience is normal.
Instead of just giving you a list of symptoms you will find a more complete picture of what to expect and what you can do during the transition.
Most of the symptoms of perimenopause are just normal indicators that your body is changing. But they can also be indicators for a variety of diseases.
So make sure that you have a thorough gynecological exam on a regular basis. Should something develop that is not normal, it can be caught as early as possible.
Menopause occours in phases or stages, so lets talk about the early part.
The first symptoms of perimenopause begin when the hormones released by the ovaries are no longer following the normal pattern of the menstrual cycle.
The timing of your cycle can start to become irregular and /or the bleeding pattern can change.
You may notice that the time between your menstrual cycles become shorter or longer by several days and/ or that your periods are either shorter or longer.
These symptoms can last for several years and become gradually more noticeable. Other issues begin to appear:
All these are typical signs of estrogen dominance.
You may wonder why you can have estrogen dominance when the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen.
Here is the reason: When estrogen and progesterone is low, the brain sends a signal to the pituitary gland to "wake up" the ovaries to prepare an egg. This causes a spike in the estrogen level and an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen.
After several years of gradually worsening irregularities you may experience additional symptoms:
During the later part of the perimenopause, your ovaries are seriously starting to shut down. It is becoming more and more difficult for the ovaries to spring into action no matter how much follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is released.
This is the time when you begin to skip periods altogether and your symptoms of perimenopause will become more pronounced. For most women, this part of the transition will last for about 2-4 years.
In contrast to the early stages, your estrogen levels will not be as erratic as they were just a couple of years ago and begin to stay on the low side.
This is the reason that your doctor may order an FSH test. This is the typical test for perimenopause because high FSH levels are a sign that you have entered the menopause transition.
Here are some articles you may find helpful:
The Hotflash Era > Symptoms of Perimenopause