As the body ages, a number of changes can occur. The body begins to produce fewer hormones and it begins to transition into a life with fewer activities. These shifts in the hormones of the body can lead to a variety of symptoms in one’s life and well-being. In women, the years before the actual arrival of menopause are called perimenopause. It is during this transition that the body begins to slow down the production of estrogen to help the woman enter in to a new phase of life after their childbearing years.
A New Stage of Life
While on the outside, women may not feel or look any different as a result of perimenopause, this process can last anywhere from two to eight years before menopause takes place. The estrogen levels of the body begin to move up and down during this time, causing the menstrual cycles to fluctuate and become more irregular. Some women will not enter this phase until they are in their forties, but in families where perimenopause has occurred earlier, women have a higher chance of beginning these changes earlier in their lives.
Common Signs of Perimenopause
There are a variety of changes which can begin to emerge in the body as perimenopause takes place.
- Mood changes – As the hormones fluctuate, it can be common for a woman to have troubles managing their moods. They might have troubles with having periods of intense sadness as well as rage.
- Menstrual irregularity – The periods will become less frequent or more frequent, having less and less regularity in the cycle times.
- Fertility issues – As some of the periods will not produce an egg, it will become more difficult to be fertile enough to conceive a child.
- Hot flashes – Some women experience hot flashes when the hormone levels in their bodies change.
- Libido changes – As hormones shift, a woman can become less interested in sex.
- Vaginal dryness – The body can be less likely to produce natural lubrication, causing sex to be painful or uncomfortable for the woman.
While this is not an all inclusive list, these signs are generally found not only in perimenopause, but also in menopause. If you are concerned about what stage you are in, having hormone tests at a physician’s office will help to assess where your hormone levels are.
Diet Changes to Alleviate Symptoms
Since the hormone changes can lead to symptoms which are uncomfortable, patients will want to make some diet changes to help them cope. Many women find it helpful to adopt a low fat diet to help them manage their symptoms. Also, adding fiber to the diet has been shown to help a woman cope with the hormone shifts. Adding more calcium to the diet is also beneficial during this time.
When you are entering perimenopause, there are many ways in which to manage the symptoms and begin to feel better. This transition period is one which readies the body for a new chapter of life, but this doesn’t mean it has to be a difficult one.