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All You Need to Know About Perimenopause: Symptoms, Treatment & More

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September 12, 2023

Hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and trouble sleeping are no fun for anyone. If you’re a woman in your 40s, you could very well be experiencing perimenopause. Referred to as the menopause transition, perimenopause is the stage of hormonal changes that leads to menopause. As your body’s hormones begin to change, you’ll recognize physical changes and symptoms that are often inconvenient. Here is everything you need to know about perimenopause:

What is Perimenopause?

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Perimenopause is the transitional time period that ends in menopause. During this transition to menopause the ovaries begin producing fewer hormones which causes your menstrual cycle to be irregular. This stage signals that your body is moving toward the end of your reproductive lifespan.

During perimenopause, your body releases eggs less regularly, produces less estrogen and other hormones, you’ll experience shorter yet more irregular periods and you become less fertile. This natural process occurs as your ovaries gradually stop working, which can occur as early as your mid-30s or as late as your mid-50s.

Simply put, perimenopause refers to the time when your menstrual cycles are no longer predictable. Some people can experience perimenopause for a short period of time while others may be in perimenopause for 4-8 years.

While fertility declines during perimenopause, you can still become pregnant. Once you’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle, you’ve officially left perimenopause and arrived in menopause.

Estrogen dominance can occur for many women during perimenopause. Estrogen dominance is when more estrogen exists in the body as compared to progesterone. The fluctuation of hormones during perimenopause can cause symptoms of estrogen dominance like hot flashes, irritability, bloating, anxiety, night sweats and hair loss.

Symptoms of Perimenopause

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Perimenopause expresses itself with a number of different symptoms. It’s important to remember that no 2 women experience perimenopause in the exact same way, so symptoms can vary. Symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Night sweats
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Uterine bleeding issues
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in sexual desire
  • Having to pee often
  • Fatigue

Treatments for Perimenopause

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Your healthcare provider may recommend the following treatments to help ease your perimenopause symptoms:

Hormone Therapy

Estrogen therapy is one of the most effective treatment options for relieving hot flashes and night sweats associated with perimenopause. This extra boost of estrogen can come in pill, skin patch, spray, gel or cream form.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed by medical practitioners to help with mood swings or depression that may come with perimenopause.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can be used to stabilize your hormone levels and many times relieve some of the symptoms you may be experiencing. Birth control pills can regulate your menses and suppress the erratic hormonal changes of perimenopause.

Vaginal Estrogen

Vaginal estrogen can help to relieve vaginal dryness. Vaginal estrogen comes in cream, ring, tablet or gel form and can increase vaginal moisture, elasticity and acidity.

You’re all up to speed on everything to know about perimenopause, including symptoms and treatment options. Are you ready to put the pause on perimenopause? Schedule a consultation today with Freedom Functional Medicine to get the process started!

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