Like other things that come with age, menopause is something we can all expect to encounter in life. The journey to menopause is often a long and troubled one. Most women experience perimenopause for about 4 to 8 years, before getting hit with the real thing –aka menopause.
Menopause is a natural and sequential part of being a woman. For most women, the halt of menstruation and offset of menopausal symptoms tends to occur after the age of 45. Symptoms that are prone to occur before the full-blown experience include but are not limited to:
- A change in menstrual flow or duration
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Lack of clarity
- Hair loss
- Vaginal dryness
Pre Vs. Peri-Menopause
Technically, any time before a woman experiences the succession of symptoms and total loss of menstruation is considered pre-menopause. Though, it is most often recognized as a way to distinguish the early onset of menopausal symptoms.
A lot of women experience the symptoms above during the pre-menopausal time, which is also interchangeably used with perimenopause. The difference is that while “pre” can refer to any general time before, “peri” translates to “around,” which is more appropriate as menopause tends to follow not far after.
What it’s Like
The thing about perimenopause is that it’s not an everyday conversation. Menopause takes its place in society as something that’s grappled with on a case by case basis. It tends not to be a focus as it is, except for those with direct exposure in some way.
Who Experiences It?
It happens to every woman past a certain age. Perimenopause is even less of a hot topic as it’s not an entirely apparent period for every woman. Some women may undergo an intense experience, while others may pass by with minimal side effects.
How Long Does It Last?
Because “peri” indicates around, it also includes the time after the last menstrual period, up to a year. The entire duration usually lasts about three to four years.
The beginning is characterized by hormone fluctuation and irregular levels of estrogen. Unexpected and early hot flashes are the most common symptom. It’s something like feelings of burning up for one to five minutes. The face and upper body may become flushed and perspire. Some women can experience up to 10 hot flashes in a day during perimenopause.
If You’ve Turned On Peri-Street
If you start to experience symptoms of perimenopause, there are several ways to cope with the effects.
Avoiding possible triggers for hot flashes, which are anything that would make you feel sensationally warm like spicy foods, hot climates, temperatures, or drinks. The use of oral contraception may be a helpful way to dose estrogen in a corrective manner to balance hormones.
If you or someone you know is suffering through perimenopause, it is best to consult with a gynecological physician for steps on how to move forward.