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Perimenopause, Menopause, And Postmenopause: What Are The Symptoms?

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Menopause is divided into 3 phases, with each phase lasting an indefinite period of time for every woman. To add to the confusion, every woman will experience menopause differently.
The 3 phases are pErimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
Perimenopause begins years before your last period. Small changes can happen without your noticing, and then you get a hot flash, which is a wake-up call. Menopause is when you completely miss your period. If you’ve gone a full year without your period, you’re going through menopause. The average age for menopause is around age 51, although some go through it earlier and some later. Next, postmenopause is everything after menopause, basically the rest of your life.
Here is a list of common symptoms:
One of the first signs that you are entering perimenopause is if your periods become irregular or miss one here and there, sometimes for a few months at a time. Next will be the onset of hot flashes. They can start off easy at first, but menopause lasts for years and eventually the hot flashes will escalate.
Night sweats go hand in hand with hot flashes. You wake up in the middle of the night and your sheets and nightgown are completely soaked. Some women experience night sweats and no hot flashes or vice versa, or both or neither; but chances are you will get at least one of these symptoms.
Vaginal dryness is another side effect of menopause. Declining estrogen levels cause physical changes in the moisture and elasticity of the vaginal walls and a decrease in natural lubrication. OTC lubes can substitute for a while, but eventually it becomes too painful to continue, lovemaking hurts too much and it’s easier to avoid. Ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy and if it’s right for you.
Lack of sex drive and loss of intimacy in your marriage can be frightening. Having an open dialogue with your partner and an open mind in the bedroom can help both of you during this time. Urinary incontinence can also occur. The incidence of depression is increasing and may warrant a doctor’s visit.
You can gain weight for no reason; it is a side effect of menopause. The fluctuating hormones are to blame, as are the difficult times you’re going through. Keep in mind a healthy diet and exercise and it may resolve itself soon enough.
Insomnia is also a side effect of lower estrogen levels. With all that’s on your mind, it’s easy to blame stress, but it’s a side effect of declining estrogen levels. Taking as little as 1 mg of melatonin an hour or two before bedtime can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body when day turns into night. It has no side effects and it is safe. Take the lowest dose and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.
Mood swings can surprise you. Throw in a hot flash and you seem out of control. Your memory isn’t what it used to be either. You can worry, but these are all natural consequences of estrogen deprivation and very common with menopause.
One of the most debilitating physical symptoms is hair loss, sometimes it seems brushless! This can be scary as your self-esteem and confidence will be shaken if your hair keeps falling out. Your hair loses the thickness and fullness it had when you were younger. Trying out a new hairstyle can be a lifesaver here.

Thankfully, not all of these symptoms are present at once, but rest assured that some are noticeable. Keeping a sense of humor at all times is of great help, and looking at the bright side of everyday events will help you through this sometimes difficult time in life.

Thanks to J Russell Hart

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