Generations Women's Healthcare
Gynecology located in Norton, OH & Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Many of the symptoms blamed on menopause begin quite subtly and start years before your periods stop. This transitional phase is known as perimenopause. Susan Clark, MD, and Lindsay Smith, PA-C, at Generations Women’s Healthcare, with offices in Norton and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, can help you navigate the physical and emotional effects of perimenopause. You don’t have to struggle during perimenopause. Schedule an evaluation today by calling the nearest office or requesting an appointment online.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause, which means “around menopause,” encompasses the time of physical transition your body undergoes as you move toward the permanent end of menstruation (menopause).
Symptoms experienced during perimenopause relate to falling estrogen levels that occur naturally as you age. Mostly produced in your ovaries, estrogen triggers ovulation as well as the changes in your uterine lining that normally cause a period every 21 to 35 days during your reproductive years.
Estrogen is also produced in small quantities by your adrenal glands and fat cells. It’s present throughout your bloodstream and helps lower cholesterol, promotes healthy bone density, and aids in regulating your mood.
Most women experience perimenopausal symptoms in their mid to late 40s, but they can occur in your late 30s and may last for four to 10 years. Your ovaries eventually quit producing estrogen or produce so little that it’s no longer effective. That causes your periods to stop.
Perimenopause ends, and menopause officially begins, once you go 12 consecutive months without a period.
What symptoms can I expect during perimenopause?
Just as puberty and the start of menstruation is a different experience for every teen, perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms vary for every woman.
Common signs and symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Moderate to severe hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbance, including insomnia and frequent awakenings
- Sometimes overwhelming fatigue
- Irregular periods, which may include more frequent periods or skipped periods
- Heavier or lighter flow
- Difficulty concentrating
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Increased urinary tract infections
- Weight gain or difficulty maintaining weight loss
- Loss of muscle mass
Estrogen loss experienced during menopause may also contribute to rising cholesterol levels, bone loss, and other conditions that can have serious health effects.
What are the treatments for perimenopause?
Depending on your symptoms and based upon the results of your physical and diagnostic evaluation, your Generations Women’s Healthcare provider may recommend a variety of prescription medications and self-care measures to promote wellness during perimenopause.
You may benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to reduce hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms related to estrogen loss. Topical hormone products can help restore tissue elasticity and ease vaginal dryness and irritation.
Your provider may also recommend dietary changes, increased physical activity, and other healthy habits that reduce your risk of developing heart disease, degenerative joint disease, and other age-related conditions that can contribute to the health effects of perimenopause and menopause.
Preventive care remains a priority during perimenopause. To prevent minor issues from escalating, it’s important that you not skip routine well-woman exams and health screenings such as mammography.
Because emotional well-being is also a vital part of wellness, your provider may offer information regarding local mental health resources.
If you’re nearing or already experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, schedule an evaluation at Generations Women’s Healthcare today. Call or use the convenient online booking tool.