What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause or “around menopause” is the stage just before menopause, when your body starts to transition. It is also commonly known as “menopausal transition.” The age a woman will start transitioning to menopause varies. Some women may notice changes as early as their mid-30s.
Estrogen is the main female hormone that fluctuates during perimenopause. This will cause your menstrual cycle to lengthen or shorten. The fluctuation of estrogen may restrict ovulation (when the ovaries release eggs) which affects the process of getting pregnant.
If the duration of time between periods is more than 60 days, then perimenopause has reached its final stage. Perimenopause becomes menopause once periods have stopped for one consecutive year.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
Symptoms of similar to those of menopause may arise during this transition. These symptoms may include hot flashes, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness. As ovulation continues to fluctuate, periods will become more irregular. This could mean longer or shorter periods, a change of flow, or occasionally not getting a period at all.
Another common symptom of perimenopause is hot flashes. It may seem like a mild symptom, but hot flashes can actually cause a whole array of other symptoms to occur. Many women who experience hot flashes during perimenopause find they cannot sleep well because the hot flashes wake them up during the night. The disruption to sleep can then cause fatigue and exhaustion, which increases mood changes like irritability or depression.
Issues with the vagina or bladder can also arise during perimenopause. These issues include vaginal dryness and a weakening of the vaginal tissue. Vaginal dryness may cause painful intercourse due to a lack of lubrication. In rare cases, there can be a loss of tissue in the vagina that leads to incontinence (the inability to hold in urine).
What Else Can Go Wrong?
As mentioned earlier, ovulation decreases during perimenopause. Ovulation, or the process of an ovary releasing an egg, is the foundation of getting pregnant. As the ovaries release less eggs during perimenopause, the ability to get pregnant significantly decreases. However, if periods still occur, that means the ovaries are still active and pregnancy would technically still be possible.
Another symptom of perimenopause is an increased risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones lose quality and density, causing an increased risk for bone fractures. These fractures most commonly occur in the hips, wrists, or spine.
During perimenopause, a negative change in cholesterol levels may occur due to the fluctuation of estrogen levels. This can cause and increase in bad cholesterol which increases risk for heart disease and heart attack.
Perimenopause and Uterine Fibroids
The transition to menopause can be accompanied by an array of not-so-great symptoms. Although uterine fibroids are not directly caused by menopause or perimenopause, some women who are close to the age of going through menopause may attribute fibroid pain as symptoms of this new life stage. Uterine fibroids can cause negative health complications if left untreated. These noncancerous tumors can also cause a lot of pain, especially during that time of the month.
If you have been experiencing changes to your period, or if you experience extreme pain associated with your period, you may be going through perimenopause. However, if the causes of perimenopause don’t align with your symptoms, it could be uterine fibroids.
At USA Fibroid centers, we specialize in Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) to treat uterine fibroids. UFE has been proven to more than 90 percent effective at alleviating the symptoms of uterine fibroids. Reach out to us by calling 855.615.2555 today to discuss your symptoms with one of our fibroid specialists so we can help you break free from fibroids.