Menopause happens in stages slowly blending into one another, sometimes lasting for several years. Menopause is a transition, when you're moving from your childbearing years to the next phase of your life.
If you are approaching middle-age, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of each stage of menopause. Keep reading to learn more about the four stages of menopause and their most common symptoms.
Premenopause can be broadly defined as the entire period of your life before menopause. Your periods during this time usually occur regularly, though almost all women experience exceptions at some point in their lives. You're able to bear children, and sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone are at stable levels. Women typically begin to transition out of this stage in their early- to mid-40's. Most women experience the following symptoms during this stage:
• Mood swings
These symptoms usually occur due to the hormonal fluctuations that are tied to the monthly menstrual cycle. Many women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in the days or weeks preceding their period.
Perimenopause is the phase in which ovulation and fertility begin to slowly wind down. Your hormonal levels decline and you may experience some rather unpleasant symptoms. Some of the most common perimenopausal symptoms include:
• Mood swings
• Hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Vaginal dryness
• Irregular periods
• Loss of libido
Knowing exactly when perimenopause has begun can be difficult. One of the most common early warning signs, however, is irregular periods. As you progress further into this stage, your periods will begin to taper off before ending entirely. This is because perimenopause is the stage in which hormone levels are fluctuating the most in order to prepare the body for the menopause transition.
Once you have spent a year without menstruating, you have officially entered into menopause. Many of the symptoms from perimenopause, women may experience during menopause. These include: hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, and loss of libido; these symptoms occur as a result of lowered hormonal production. In other words, though hormone levels are no longer fluctuating drastically, they are overall lower than during premenopause.
If your menopause symptoms are persistent and severe, you may want to consider lifestyle changes or herbal remedies known to provide menopausal relief. A doctor may also help you to find a treatment option suited to your body and the symptoms you are experiencing.
The years of your life following menopause – postmenopause – is typically a time when symptoms begin to subside – the result of hormonal levels stabilizing in the body. That being said, women in this stage are at a higher risk of certain health conditions, including: breast cancer, urinary tract infections, osteoporosis, and insomnia. This is because of an estrogen deficiency, which occurs as a result of the decline in hormone production. With less estrogen circulating in the bloodstream, some of the body's functions aren't as well regulated.
Knowing Your Body
Menopause can be a difficult transition, but understanding the hormonal changes taking place in your body is the most important factor in finding relief. Click on the following link to learn more about the different treatments for menopause.
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