Things Your Mother Didn’t Tell You; Part Two

Perimenopause or pre-menopause: This is the menopause transition period or the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40’s, but everyone is different and it also depends on when the woman first had her menses or period. I like to call it the crazy time. Why? Your brain can’t seem to think right for one.  Add any stress to the equation and your emotions go bonkers. Number two  you also forget things. Your body can’t decide whether it wants to have a menstrual cycle or skip a month or two or more. This perimenopause period lasts until the point which the ovaries stop releasing eggs. And in the last 1-2 years this drop in estrogen speeds up. At this stage, a woman will experience menopause symptoms. These symptoms can be:

  • hot flashes
  • irregular periods
  • breast tenderness
  • fatigue
  • urinary frequency
  • urinary leakage after coughing or sneezing
  • discomfort during sex
  • mood swings

The average length of pre-menopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage lasts only a few months. Menopause starts when  a woman has gone without a menses cycle for 12 months. Irregular periods are normal and common during perimenopause, but can also be caused by other conditions. Consult your doctor if the periods last several days longer than usual, periods happen closer together, there are heavy blood clots, or spotting after sex.

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