Answers to Your Questions About Peri-Menopause (Pre-Menopause) – Part 1
Q: What is normal during perimenopause?
A: Most women enter the stage of peri-menopause between the ages of 40 and 55. Usually the first sign you will first notice is that your menstrual cycle becomes irregular. These irregularities vary and are different for each woman. Some experience lighter periods less often, while others may find they are spotting and bleeding much more heavily than before. There are many variances in irregularities, and this is quite normal during peri-menopause. Once you have reached this point and have entered peri-menopause, you will begin to have the symptoms associated with oncoming menopause. The menstrual irregularities and other symptoms are due to the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone within the body. Eventually your body stops producing these female hormones altogether.
Q: What are the symptoms of peri-menopause?
Peri-menopause can last anywhere from two to ten years, though some women experience this stage for as many as fifteen years. Often this is the time the symptoms associated with menopause are the most severe. Some women have symptoms severe enough to cause major disruption within their lives.
A: Beyond the initial irregular menstrual cycle, other symptoms will begin to emerge. Hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia are extremely common. Many women find they begin have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. You may also experience extreme sweating during the day, frequent urination, headaches and joint and muscle aches. Loss of an interest in sex and vaginal dryness are also very common occurrences. Many women report that during this stage they experience much stronger PMS symptoms along with increased irritability, mood swings, inability to concentrate and foggy thinking.
Q: I’m too young for menopause. Why is it happening so early?
A: Early menopause, or premature menopause, occurs when a woman enters peri-menopause before the usual age. Most women reach menopause between 46-55 years old. Those that experience menopause before the age of 40 are considered to have early menopause. This is caused by many different factors. Cancer as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment can trigger early menopause, as can other types of severe illness. Surgery, for example a complete hysterectomy, can be another cause. Sometimes a woman will experience premature menopause due to premature ovarian failure. This happens when the ovaries begin to fail many years (or sometimes even decades) before they should and are no longer working correctly.
Q: How long will peri-menopause last?
A: Peri-menopause can last anywhere from two to ten years, though some women experience this stage for as many as fifteen years. Often this is the time the symptoms associated with menopause are the most severe. Some women have symptoms severe enough to cause major disruption within their lives.
Q: Will natural hormones, progesterone and herbs help me eliminate these symptoms?
A: The symptoms during peri-menopause can become so disruptive that they can greatly affect a woman’s quality of life. It is important to address the symptoms you are experiencing - they are treatable. Natural hormone replacement therapy consists of bio-identical hormones found in nature that are structurally similar to the female hormones now needed by your body. Natural hormones, such as natural progesterone, have been proven to be highly effective at greatly reducing and even eliminating the symptoms of menopause.
There are also many natural herbs and supplements available that will also help in managing the symptoms of peri-menopause. Black cohosh has a mild estrogenic affect within the body. It has been proven in studies to be highly effective in reducing many menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats. Other highly effective herbs include red clover, chasteberry, found in combination with black cohosh in the custom EstroRenew formula. Ginseng and flaxseed oil may also be welcome additions to herbs to consider as well.
©Alternative Medicine Network 2009
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