What is Perimenopause?
Have you encountered the term “perimenopause”? If not, you’re not alone. Many women use “menopause” to describe the stage leading up to the cessation of ovulation, which is actually called perimenopause.
Menopause is a single day in a woman’s life cycle when she has gone 12 months without having a period.
Perimenopause, however, is the period when symptoms start to arise as hormones fluctuate in the months or even years leading up to menopause. It’s important to note that this transition stage can last up to a decade.
It may come sooner than expected
Some women start to notice changes as early as their mid-30s, but most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. However, perimenopause can start a decade prior. In the US, about 1% of women reach menopause at the age of 40 or younger.
How do I know if I have perimenopause?
Perimenopause is a unique experience for every woman, and it’s usually marked by inconsistent menstrual cycles. This can lead to heavy or light bleeding and a fluctuating length of the cycle from month to month. This irregularity is the hallmark of perimenopause.
Due to the unpredictable nature of hormonal fluctuations during this stage, traditional diagnostic methods such as hormone or blood testing can prove to be unreliable. The physical symptoms experienced by women during perimenopause are primarily caused by hormonal imbalances, particularly the changes in estrogen levels in the body.
What To Look For
Perimenopause can be challenging to identify, as its symptoms may overlap with other midlife changes or aging processes. For instance, hot flashes, which affect 35% to 50% of perimenopausal women, may be misconstrued as anxiety or stress.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: Characterized by sudden surges of heat and sweating that last between 5 to 10 minutes, hot flashes and night sweats can occur both during the day and at night.
Uterine Bleeding: The decreased production of progesterone may lead to an increased thickness of the uterine lining, resulting in heavy periods. Conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis, which are fueled by estrogen, may also worsen during this time.
Sleep Disruptions: Approximately 40% of perimenopausal women report sleep issues. While some studies have linked night sweats to disrupted sleep, the problem is multi-factorial and cannot be solely attributed to hormones.
Mood Changes: Between 10-20% of women experience mood changes during perimenopause, but there is no clear evidence linking declining hormone levels to depression. Life stress, poor overall health, and a history of depression are the best predictors of mood symptoms during midlife.
Vaginal Dryness: The decreased production of estrogen can cause vaginal tissues to thin and dry, leading to itching, irritation, and decreased sexual desire. Urinary tract infections may also become more prevalent.
Cognitive Issues: Many women report memory problems and difficulty with concentration during perimenopause, but there is limited information to determine the exact cause of these changes, which may be influenced by aging, psychosocial factors, and hormone changes.
Physical Therapy can help Perimenopause in Huntington
Our team of specialists offers personalized one-on-one treatment sessions and customizes treatment programs to meet each patient’s unique needs. Contact us by phone or email to schedule an appointment or to learn more about how physical therapy can help you manage your perimenopause symptoms.
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I have found a wonderful therapist, Shaden Ghattas, of Universus Physical Therapy. I have been seeing Shaden since October 1st. I must say that she is the first therapist I have encountered who shares my philosophy, Shaden is very holistic in her approach. In the past, I saw a holistic chiropractor who also was wonderful, but unfortunately she retired several years ago. Since her retirement I never felt healed after a treatment.
This has all changed since I have been seeing Shaden. Her care and thorough treatment is nonpareil. In addition to her therapy I have been given exercises, many yogic, which has helped me to improve both mentally and physically. I highly recommend Universus Physical Therapy!”