Ladies, if you’ve ever snuggled under the blankets in your bed at night only to wake up in the wee hours of the morning drenched with sweat, you may be at the mercy of a hot flash. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth through your upper body, face and neck. And it can be a part of that transition everyone keeps talking about – Menopause. But there’s something that comes before menopause that signals it may be on its way.
What is Perimenopause?
The transition into menopause for women isn’t instant, it’s usually a gradual change over several years, called Perimenopause. Beginning in your mid-to-late forties, hormone levels in your body change sending clues that menopause may be nearing. Hot flashes (or flushes) are the most commonly reported symptom of Perimenopause. And hot flashes can go on for a couple of years after you reach menopause and for some, much longer.
How do you know you’re going through Menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her period stops and she can no longer get pregnant. Your ovaries produce lower levels of Estrogen and other hormones during this time. Twelve months straight without a period signals menopause, with 52 years old being the average age of menopause for women in the U.S. So, if it’s been a year since your last period, menopause may be the cause.
Here are some other signs and symptoms of Perimenopause.
Other Signs of Perimenopause
The length of your menstrual cycles (periods) will vary and you may even skip some all-together.
Perimenopause can bring about changes to your vaginal tissue. It can be thinner, drier, itchy and irritated. It may also cause painful intercourse as a result.
If you’re a woman in your 30’s and 40’s and have insomnia, chances are good that you’re in Perimenopause.
You might feel moody or irritable during Perimenopause. Stress, family obligations, a history of depression or other things could be the cause.
Your hair may thin due to the hormonal changes that happen during Perimenopause.
During Perimenopause your skin can lose some ability to hold onto water, making your skin drier.
Perimenopause is a normal and natural part of life for women. To minimize symptoms practice good nutrition, get enough calcium and vitamin D, exercise and stay current with your health care visits. For more information on it visit the National Institute on Aging.