Do You Have Perimenopause? Understand the Signs
For many women, they assume that their cycle of womanhood will go immediately from having a period every month to their period stopping and entering menopause. However, there is a transitional period that many women experience first, called perimenopause. Here are some signs that you might be going through this, so you know what to expect and when to talk to your doctor.
The first sign you might notice when you have perimenopause is starting to experience irregular periods. Since you are still releasing eggs during perimenopause, you will still have periods and can still get pregnant. However, it is not uncommon for your periods to change. This might include more blood clots or a period that is either heavier or less heavy than they used to be, spotting more before and after your period or between periods, or spotting more after sex. You may also have cycles that shorten by a few days.
Are you beginning to struggle at night with sweating and hot flashes? This could also be a sign of perimenopause or full menopause. It isn’t typically as severe as women going through full menopause, though you might notice you need the fan or air conditioner more, or you feel a sudden wave of flush cross your body, which lasts a few minutes before it settles. Hot flashes will gradually worsen and last longer the closer you get to menopause.
Along with the hot flashes and night sweats, you may also have other issues with getting a good nights’ sleep. The sleep issues often start with hot flashes, since you could wake up hot and sweating, unable to sleep until you cool off again. You may also notice interrupted sleep for seemingly no cause, where nothing you do helps you sleep as easily or as long as you used to be able to.
Many women who go through perimenopause experience unusual bleeding, both during and not during their period. What happens is that when you are going through perimenopause, you don’t have as much progesterone in your body. This can cause the uterine lining to get thicker, which means it is shedding thicker, causing heavier periods or periods with heavier clots. Some odd cramping might occur as well if you develop fibroids, or if you have endometriosis.
And lastly, vaginal dryness can be an issue, though it is typically near the end of the perimenopause phase. This is from the estrogen levels in your body decreasing from perimenopause, which may cause less cervical mucus and vaginal lubrication. It can cause discomfort during intercourse, so this is a good time to start using another lubricant if you aren’t already.