Information On Perimenopause

Women experience symptoms of perimenopause long before menopause. It is important to know what to expect in terms of emotional changes, hormones, and general health options.

Many women in their early to mid forties start to notice changes in their cycles. This is the age of perimenopause. Peri is a Greek word that means around or near. So women who find themselves experiencing symptoms concerning the reproductive cycles are said to be near menopause, or perimenopausal. There are treatments for dealing with the sometimes disturbing symptoms. Traditional medicine and alternative approaches can help to make this transitional state easier to deal with emotionally and physically.

The main reason that a woman starts to experience changes is due to two factors: estrogen and progesterone. As a woman grows older, the balance of these two important chemicals may be changed. After age 35 estrogen production decreased enough to produce changes in the body. These changes are what perimenopause is all about.

The changes may start with irregular periods in the woman's thirties. These can include periods of longer duration, shorter duration, too much bleeding, less bleeding, or no bleeding at all. These changes will increase as the woman enters her forties. According to the book, Perimenopause: Changes in Women's Health After 35, by Dr. James Huston & Dr. Darlene Lanka, it is important to alert your doctor when your period becomes irregular. A period cycle that is less than 20 days long can be an indicator for endometrium disorders. Excessive bleeding may cause anemia or other problems. Women who wish to have more control over their cycle may opt for hormone replacements at this point.

Hot flashes are experienced by 85 percent of American Women according to research done by Dr. Fredi Kronenburg (1990). He reported that 75% of the women who report having hot flashes experience them for 1-2 years. 20-50% experience them for 5 years, and 10% report an indefinite time for experiencing this symptom. Hot flashes occur when blood vessels dilate and bring large amounts of blood to the surface. This causes the skin to appear red. Essentially, everyone has a heat conservation system. When it is cold, blood vessels constrict near the surface to maintain vital organs. In a hot flash this system is thrown off kilter, and heat is released even though it is not necessary to get rid of it. Typically this hot flash will last 3 to 5 minutes, but recovery from the hot flash can take up to a half hour.

Hot flashes can be dealt with through replacing estrogen, exercise, and alternative remedies. Some studies suggest that women who are very slim are missing levels of estrogen that are stored in fat cells. For some people putting on a few pounds will assist them in avoiding hot flashes. It is important to avoid trigger situations. A large meal can direct a great deal of blood to the digestive system, and that can trigger a heat release reaction. Avoid environments where you will not be able to escape excessive heat. Hot weather, overheated rooms, a hot tub, too many bedclothes, and too much clothing can make hot flashes harder to deal with.

Mood swings can be drastic during this transitional period. Phone commercials on television can reduce a woman to tears. Touching pictures or memories can make a normally stoic woman collapse into hysterical weeping. It is difficult for a woman to feel out of control in terms of her emotions. Women may feel they are suffering from a mental illness or depression. It is important to rule these out of course, but it is very possible these variable moods are the result of hormonal changes again. A doctor can check progesterone levels to make sure these are not too low. This is determined by blood tests done at various points of a woman's cycle. Low progesterone can cause irritability, anger, weepiness, and generally unstable behavior. A progesterone supplement can reduce symptoms significantly within the first month of treatment. The risks of cancer are greater for a person with progesterone deficiencies. This is a wonderful treatment that can help a woman feel like herself again.

If you are experiencing the symptoms discussed or other symptoms that might be related to your reproductive health. The option of alternative healing techniques can be a consideration. Some traditional medical doctors are more receptive to alternative treatment than others. Talk with your doctor, or find a doctor that is willing to explore these methods with you. Homeopathy is a method that uses medicine that is highly diluted, and said to encourage the body's own healing powers. Herbal treatments such as Ginseng, and Black cohosh have been tested and the results show they can be very effective in helping women with estrogen deficiencies. Patients of acupuncture and acupressure report relief from specific symptoms. These alternatives are other routes to take when seeking relief from perimenopausal symptoms.

It is frightening to consider going through menopause when a woman is in her mid-thirties. Even referring to it as perimenopause does not lessen the blow of a woman aging. It is better to regard menopause as a process. The early stages of menopause include symptoms such as menstrual changes and moodiness, and the later stages may include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and ultimately the last menstrual cycle. Just as puberty was a process of development. Perimenopause and menopause are the process of closing the door on a reproduction. The transitions are certain to bring some chaos as most change does, but utilizing some of the methods described can make this movement to later life more smooth and enjoyable.

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