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
As women approach the transitional phase of perimenopause, hormonal fluctuations can bring about various challenges. For many, the presence of uterine fibroids adds an extra layer of risk to this journey.
Understanding Perimenopause and Fibroids:
Perimenopause, the transitional stage leading to menopause, typically occurs in a woman’s late 30s to early 50s. During this time, hormonal changes can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, and various physical symptoms. Unfortunately, for some women, perimenopause coincides with the presence of uterine fibroids—noncancerous growths in the uterus that can cause discomfort and disrupt daily life.
The Impact of Fibroids on Perimenopause
Fibroids can exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms, contributing to heavier and more prolonged periods, pelvic pain, and increased frequency of urination. These challenges can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life during an already complex phase of hormonal transition.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) as a Solution
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a leading non-surgical and minimally invasive alternative to address fibroids. This procedure involves blocking the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink over time. What makes UFE particularly appealing during perimenopause is its ability to alleviate symptoms without the need for major surgery or a hysterectomy.
Benefits of UFE for Perimenopausal Women with Fibroids:
- Minimally Invasive: UFE is performed through a tiny incision, reducing the risks associated with traditional surgery.
- Preserving Fertility: Unlike a hysterectomy, UFE allows women to retain their uterus, making it a viable option for those who wish to preserve fertility during perimenopause.
- Symptom Relief: UFE effectively reduces or eliminates symptoms such as heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and discomfort associated with fibroids, promoting a better quality of life.
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.
Perimenopause can be a challenging time for women, and the presence of fibroids can amplify these challenges. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) stands as a promising solution, offering relief from symptoms without the need for major surgery. As we explore the stories and successes of women who have chosen UFE, we aim to empower others in making informed decisions about their health during the perimenopausal journey.
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.