5 Signs Perimenopause Is Ending
3 minute read
As we get closer to menopause, women begin to notice changes in the symptoms they usually experience. Good news and bad news. Some symptoms will get better. Others will get more intense. This post will explore six signs that perimenopause is on its way out the door.
But first, let’s get some of the basics out of the way:
What Is Perimenopause?
Ah, the slow and steady march of time.
Simply put, perimenopause is your body’s way of letting you know that it is preparing itself for menopause. It is one of the many natural rhythms that define our lives. You can think of it as an in-between stage – like the chrysalis that sits between a caterpillar and a butterfly. Perimenopause is a transitional window between your reproductive years and your menopausal years when ovulation (and your period) ceases.
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels are not fluctuating in the same way they were before. This hormonal fluctuation leads to a whole range of symptoms – from irregular periods to some of the symptoms associated with menopause, like hot flashes.
When Perimenopause Starts
Every woman’s body operates under different hormonal, chemical, and biological pressures. Because of these variables, it’s hard to say exactly when perimenopause begins. Some women start to notice signs as early as their 30s, while others won’t notice well into their 40s.
Certain risk behaviors, like smoking, can trigger the process earlier. Other factors, such as your family history and medical history, can affect exactly when perimenopause begins.
There isn’t a set length of time perimenopause lasts, either. The average amount of time women spend in perimenopause is four years, but some women report being in perimenopause for as long as ten years. The drop in estrogen levels accelerates during the last couple of years of your perimenopausal cycle. Eventually, after 12 months with no period, perimenopause ends, and menopause officially begins.
The only guarantee with perimenopause is that it will happen (and might be happening), so it's essential to be aware of the symptoms associated with it.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
How we experience perimenopause also differs. However, there are several symptoms that most women report experiencing to some degree:
Some of us are very regular in our periods, and other women naturally experience a degree of inconsistency month to month. Whatever your normal was, perimenopause will gradually change it. This symptom might be hard to detect if your periods were already irregular due to medication, biology, or other factors. One helpful clue to tell if you are entering perimenopause is if the duration of your period has changed through several menstrual cycles.
Hot flashes—sudden bursts of intense heat—are one of the most recognizable symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Despite this, some women – 1 out of 5 – never experience hot flashes.
Mood swings are another common symptom of perimenopause—75% of perimenopausal women report mood swings. Like other perimenopause symptoms, they’re caused by fluctuating hormone levels.
Night sweats are hot flashes that happen when you are asleep. These hot flashes can pull you out of restful sleep and interfere with your sleep cycle. Many women wake up in soaked pajamas and wet sheets.
Women experiencing perimenopause also report an increase in headaches. The cause of these headaches is most often from the wild fluctuations in hormonal levels. Many women report a decrease in headaches once they are through the menopausal transition and their hormones have evened out.
As if the other symptoms weren’t enough, women also report feeling exhausted – mentally and physically drained. Insomnia, sleep disruption caused by fluctuating hormones, and night sweats are all to blame here.
What Are the Signs Perimenopause Is Ending?
Your body might also be signaling to you that perimenopause is drawing to a close. Certain symptoms will increase in severity and frequency during the last few years of your perimenopausal cycle while others might disappear or become less intrusive.
1. More Time Between Periods
As you near the end of perimenopause, the time between periods will increase until they stop altogether. If you are going 60 or more days between periods, this is a pretty reliable sign that you are in late perimenopause.
2. Less Frequent Headaches
Finally, here’s some good news. Because the wildly fluctuating hormones you’ve been experiencing in early and mid-perimenopause are starting to settle down to their new, albeit much lower levels, headaches actually start to improve. Women with menstrual migraines will notice that those debilitating headaches start to get fewer and farther between as the periods start to space out.
3. More Stable Mood
The ups and downs that affect 75%of women experiencing perimenopause are likely to taper off as we begin to enter menopause. Mood fluctuations and hormonal fluctuations go hand in hand. So it stands to reason that once you reach menopause, although your hormones will hit a new low, at least it’s a consistent low.
4. More Hot Flashes
Hot flash symptoms are likely to increase as you get nearer to menopause. Although doctors don’t know the exact mechanism of what causes hot flashes, we do know that the hot flash is initiated in the brain, not as a response to your environment. When it’s really hot outside the temperature receptors in your skin tell your brain that it’s hot.
When you’re having a hot flash, your brain tells your body that it’s hot. The response is the same–dilation of blood vessels (flushing) coupled with sweating to cool the skin. We do know that estrogen, or lack thereof, is involved in temperature regulation. Lowered estrogen levels can cause this brain thermostat to malfunction. That’s why it’s possible to have a hot flash when it’s 60 degrees in your bedroom. And believe it or not, for most women, hot flushes do get better within a couple of years after menopause, but for some, they can go on for as long as ten years.
5. Less Sleep
With hot flashes, night sweats, increased anxiety, and hormonal fluctuations, it is no wonder that a good night’s sleep is hard to come by. Rates of insomnia are higher for women than for men due to the unique hormonal fluctuations that start at perimenopause and continue straight through the menopausal years.
How Do I Know I’m in Menopause?
Perimenopause, and when exactly it starts, can be extremely confusing as there are at least 34 symptoms of menopause that can affect each woman differently and occur on different timelines for each woman. However, when exactly you have reached menopause is actually very simple to discern. Once you have not had a period for 12 months, regardless of symptoms, you are considered to be in menopause. And menopause is forever. The average woman will spend over thirty years of her life in menopause.
Alloy Can Help with Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms
We know what it’s like to go through perimenopause and menopause, and we can help. Several treatments are available to help you deal with the intrusive, bothersome, and sometimes debilitating symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Menopause hormone therapy is one of the best.
We don’t give you false promises. We don’t give you snake oil. Our products help. Visit our solutions page, see what we have to offer, and start your journey. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
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