Menopause is the time when your menstrual periods stop permanently, and you can no longer get pregnant. Some people call the time leading up to a woman’s last period menopause. This time is the transition to menopause, or perimenopause. After menopause, your body makes much less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Very low estrogen levels after menopause can affect your health and cause symptoms such as hot flashes. You can take steps to protect your health and relieve your symptoms.
What is perimenopause or the transition to menopause?
- Perimenopause (or the menopausal transition) is the long transition to when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant (menopause). As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly and cause menopause symptoms unexpectedly. During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.
Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only occasionally. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms like moodiness are similar to the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. You might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible treatments for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
- Reduce Hot Flashes
- Treat Vaginal Dryness
- Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis
- Reduce the Risk of Certain Cancers
- Improve Sleep
- Decrease Mood Swings
Whether you’d like to start menopause treatment or just learn more about your options, we can help. To find out more about ways you can treat the symptoms of menopause or to schedule an appointment, call us today to speak with a qualified medical professional.