Some women will not have any symptoms in perimenopause, while others will have noticeable symptoms. Common symptoms of perimenopause include the following:
Hot flashes and night sweats
These are feelings of increased bodily warmth and flushing of the face. They can occur at any time of the day or night and can be uncomfortable. If they happen at night, the woman can experience night sweats, in which she wakes up drenched in sweat.
A common precursor of menopause is irregular periods. The ovaries may still ovulate but they do so in no predictable pattern. There are many ways in which you will see this irregularity. There can be either an increase or a decrease in the time between your periods.
Some women experience a shortening of their cycle while in some the signs of menopause are a lengthening of the cycle. Check the flow of your periods regularly after forty five. Some women experience very heavy flow, for others the flow is decreased.
Many women suffer dramatic mood changes during the early part of undergoing the menopause, primarily because they are suffering a degree of difficulty with Pre Menstrual Syndrome or PMS. The mood changes are caused because of the drop in estrogen levels. Estrogen influences the amount of serotonin produced in the body which leads to mood changes.
Another adverse effect of perimenopause is insomnia. This is mainly because of frequent night sweats and hot flashes that can happen during the night which lead to sleep disorders.
Some women in perimenopause will suffer from an increased risk of depression or irritability during this stage which cause sleeping problems. However, you have to ensure that you get sufficient sleep because inadequate sleep often leads to increased irritability during daytime.
Another adverse effect of perimenopause is urinary incontinence. This happens because of the changes in the pelvic floor. The urethral tissue is responsive to estrogen and when estrogen decreases, the urethral tissue also shrinks. Also, decreased levels of estrogen make it more difficult for the bladder to hold urine.
Decreases in libido
A woman in perimenopause can have a decrease in sexual desire. Since the levels of estrogen decrease with the arrival of the menopause, there is a gradual thinning of the vaginal lining. This makes sexual intercourse a painful experience for many women. It can also lead to painful intercourse because the cervix no longer produces increased cervical mucus during sex.
Decreased ability to get pregnant
The rate of ovulation goes down during perimenopause so the woman has a reduction in the ability to get pregnant. Pregnancy can still happen, however, so if you do not want to get pregnant, you should still continue to use some form of birth control until menopause occurs.
The strength of the bones depends on high circulating levels of estrogen. As estrogen levels decline, the bone mass decreases and there is a risk for osteoporosis that can increase a woman’s risk of having bone fractures.