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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause?

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Updated September 13, 2005

Question: What are the Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause?
Answer: The signs and symptoms of perimenopause include a wide variety of physical and mental health symptoms that often disrupt your normal routine. The signs and symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Period changes. You will probably experience menstrual cycle changes during perimenopause. Your periods may be shorter, or they may be longer. You might experience heavy bleeding, or you might experience less bleeding during your period. You may even experience missed periods.

  • Hot flashes and/or night sweats are common signs of perimenopause.

  • Mood changes including depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings are experienced by a significant number of perimenopausal women.

  • Vaginal dryness often occurs during perimenopause due to decreased production of estrogen. If vaginal dryness is a problem for you try using one of the OTC vaginal lubricants that are available, or talk to your health care provider for prescription relief.

  • Many women suffer from sleep problems during perimenopause. You may find it difficult to fall asleep, or to stay asleep. Sleep difficulties during perimenopause are often caused by night sweats, as well as hormonal flucuations.

  • An increase in fat around the waist is often seen in perimenopausal women. Following a healthy, low carb diet and getting adequate exercise (at least 30 minutes, three times a week walking or doing another type of aerobic exercise) may help to prevent or reduce increased fat associated with perimenopause.

  • Painful sex. Sexual intercourse may be painful during perimenopause due to vaginal dryness.

  • The incidence of urinary problems increase as perimenopause occurs. These urinary conditions include both an increase in the number of urinary tract infects (UTI) and a higher incidence of loss of bladder control or urinary incontinence.

  • Less sex drive. Hormonal flucuations that occur during perimenopause are often the culprit behind the loss of interest in sex that is experienced by many perimenopausal women.

Don't be alarmed if you find yourself forgetting things or unable to focus on the task you have at hand. Problems with memory and concentration frequently occur during perimenopause. Supplementing with a B vitamin often helps to prevent or improve memory or concentration problems.

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