Peri Menopause Symptoms 2

Weight Gain

Many women gain weight during Peri Menopause. This is the body’s reaction to the diminishing estrogen levels. Estrogen is stored in our fat cells.

Decreased Sex Drive

Often during Peri Menopause women experience a loss of sexual desire. Some of the factors contributing to this are:

  • Hormonal imbalance – most notably the natural fall of Progesterone production which is crucial to libido – this in itself can wash away sexual desire
  • Vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall – this is the effect of declining estrogen levels. This can make sex painful
  • Urinary tract infections or stress incontinence may affect a woman’s desire for sex
  • Fatigue caused by hormonal imbalance saps your energy for and interest in sex
  • Adrenal exhaustion lowers the hormones that fuel sexual response

Headaches

Headaches are common during Peri Menopause. Migraines have been associated with hormonal imbalance in some women. Migraines can accompany hot flashes and PMS symptoms in Peri Menopause.

Inability To Concentrate

Fuzzy thinking… what was I saying? Impaired memory and inability to concentrate are common peri menopause symptoms.

You can sometimes forget what you are doing… right in the middle of doing it! Or find yourself re-reading the same sentence? Fortunately, this temporary loss of mental function doesn’t mean you are losing your mind or on the road to getting Alzheimer’s.

It is simply the sudden shifts in hormonal balance the occur so frequently in Peri Menopause that are probably the root cause of “Fuzzy thinking.” Estrogen and progesterone are key neurotransmitters in the brain and when you suffer from hormonal imbalance their levels are in flux. This too shall pass!

Feeling Depressed Or Overwhelmed

Hormonal imbalance in Peri Menopause leaves women more emotionally vulnerable.

Peri menopause symptoms such as this can be caused by the issues that a woman has to face at this time in her life like: changes in career, changes in marriage, children growing up and leaving home, responsibilities of caring for ageing parents and many other stress related issues.

Because a woman can feel more disoriented and confused during this time of change in her life, she is more susceptible to feeling depressed and overwhelmed. If these feelings become acute, she should consult a health care provider.

Mood Swings And Irritability

Peri menopause symptoms such as mood swings and irritability are no fun for anyone. These may seem like two different problems but they are both related to hormonal imbalance. By “mood swing” we usually mean a reaction that isn’t appropriate to what triggered it.

And by “irritability” we mean an angry or impatient reaction to something that happens. An underlying cause of these reactions may be fatigue… and if you are having hot flashes or insomnia you are bound to be fatigued!

But these emotional reactions can also be the result of sudden shifts in hormonal balance which are so characteristic of peri menopause symptoms ( pre menopause symptoms

Peri Menopause Symptoms

Peri menopause symptoms, also known as pre menopause symptoms, occur at the transitional stage between two and ten years before the complete cessation of your menstrual periods.

This is the time when your body moves closer to menopause. Your periods may become less regular and you start to feel symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.

Peri menopause symptoms can appear in women 35 to 50 years of age. Peri menopause has not been a stage in a woman’s life that has received a lot of attention and as women we can find ourselves experiencing puzzling changes and not know why.

Peri Menopause is not an illness, but a natural process in a woman’s body: what is actually happening is the gradual decrease of estrogen, thus causing hormonal imbalance in our bodies.

Did you ever imagine hormonal imbalance could wreak such havoc on your body? Peri menopause symptoms last for about one year after our last period.

We live in a world which seriously jeopardizes hormonal balance. Physical and emotional stress, birth control pills, HRT, environmental pollutants and nutritional deficiencies are some of the major hormone disrupters, then combine all this with moving into menopause and this can rob a woman of her health, confidence and quality of life.

But with proper support our body is capable of achieving a proper hormonal balance and we can be free of the many unpleasant peri menopause symptoms.

“The Most Common
Peri Menopause Symptoms”

Here are some of the most commonly reported peri menopause symptoms:

  • Menstrual cycles become shorter, long or unpredictable
  • Menstrual flow becomes heavier or lighter
  • PMS
  • Low blood sugar
  • Fatigue for several days before your menstrual cycle
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Headaches that can be mild or more severe becoming migraines
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feeling depressed or overwhelmed
  • Mood swings and irritability

Menstrual Cycles

Menstrual irregularities are one of the first peri menopause symptoms you may notice. Your cycles may become longer or shorter and your menstrual flow may become heavier or lighter.

For most women their menstrual cycles become farther and farther apart until they stop. This is the beginning of true Menopause.

PMS – A Preview Of Peri Menopause

Pre-menstrual Syndrome or PMS, is one of the most common forms of hormonal imbalance affecting over half of all women. PMS can affect any woman who is having menstrual periods, but it most often occurs as a woman approaches her 40’s, and it another of the early peri menopause symptoms.

Women who experience PMS earlier in life are more likely to have a difficult Peri Menopause. Not surprisingly, the symptoms of PMS are quite similar to peri menopause symptoms: bloating, irritability, mood swings, lethargy, food cravings and headaches.

Low Blood Sugar – Cravings

An enormous number of women with peri menopause symptoms crave sugar, carbohydrates or alcohol. You may crave that afternoon snack of potato chips or chocolate chip cookies or that cup of coffee or that extra glass of wine at night. These cravings are a sign that your body has its signals mixed up.

This is all part of Peri Menopause territory. When we are exhausted our blood sugar and/or serotonin are low and the body signals the brain that it needs a pick-me-up.

Fatigue

Do you run out of energy in the afternoon? Find it hard to get out of bed in the morning? Need an extra cup of coffee to keep going? Fatigue is one of the most common peri menopause symptoms. Many women attribute it to age as though it is inevitable to slow down-well, it isn’t inevitable!

The underlying causes of peri menopause symptoms like fatigue is hormonal imbalance causing disrupted sleep, hot flashes, night sweats, adrenal exhaustion due to stress. All of this contributes to low energy.

 

After Menopause Spotting, Should You Be Concerned?

After menopause spotting of course refers to spotting or bleeding after menopause.

As women approach menopause the menstrual bleeding pattern changes with periods usually becoming lighter and shorter in duration. So that once you are in menopause and post menopause there is no more bleeding.

However, there can be unexpected post menopause spotting and bleeding. For the most part this after menopause spotting and/or bleeding can be caused by something benign such as an infection or a tear of the uterine or vaginal lining.

The decline of estrogen levels in menopause cause the vaginal mucosa to become thinner and dryer and less elastic and predisposed to bleed. Sometimes this lining can be broken or easily inflamed and bleed. It can also become injured during intercourse or even during a pelvic exam.

One of the most common causes of after menopause spotting or bleeding is synthetic hormone replacement therapy, especially estrogen replacement therapy.

Women who are on HRT may often develop post menopause spotting because the uterine lining is very sensitive to estrogen, which promotes the growth of the endometrium; the uterine lining that builds up and is discharged during a normal menstrual cycle.

Hence bleeding and spotting so this lining can be released. On the other hand, lack of estrogen may cause the atrophy of the uterine lining in which case the blood vessels of the uterine lining become so fragile as a result of lack of estrogen that they spontaneously break and then bleed causing spotting.

Some other causes of after menopause spotting are the development of polyps and fibroids. These are benign growths that develop in the uterine cavity.

Polyps are most often associated with irregular light spotting, staining or light bleeding. Fibroids may also produce the same light symptoms but are also associated with much heavier bleeding.

Overgrowths of lining of the uterus called hyperplasias may also be the cause of abnormal post menopausal spotting and bleeding.

This condition can have some malignant potential. About 20% of women who have this type of post menopausal bleeding may have cancer of the endometrium, the uterine lining.

What To Watch For In Menopausal Spotting

If you have any unusual or unexplained menopausal spotting or bleeding or post menopausal bleeding, you should consult your doctor.

Endometrial hyperplasia, the abnormal thickening of the uterine wall may indicate a pre-cancerous condition. Endometrial cancer is the highest incidence of cancer in post menopausal women.

However, abnormal bleeding from uterine cancer occurs early in the disease when it is highly curable.

Some of the early signs of uterine cancer are:

  • Post menopausal spotting or bleeding, especially after intercourse. This occurs after there has been no menstruation for 12 months. A watery or blood-streaked vaginal discharge may precede spotting or bleeding.
  • Cramps in the lower abdomen
  • Enlarged uterus
  • In later stages the cancer may have spread to other organs causing abdominal pain, chest pain and weight loss

Some of the options your gynaecologist may use in evaluating after menopause spotting that concerns you are:

  • A D&C;, dilating your cervix and scraping the lining of the uterus
  • A hysteroscopy, looking inside your uterus with a small viewing device inserted through the cervix
  • An endometrial biopsy, taking a small sample in the office without having to dilate the cervix
  • An ultrasound to measure the thickness of the uterine lining

Recent studies suggest that if the uterine lining is very thin, the chance of uterine cancer is lower.

If you are having symptoms of after menopause spotting and you are concerned about being at risk for more serious complications, then make sure you see your doctor for regular pelvic examinations and Pap smears every six to twelve months.