What Is Perimenopause
And What Can You Do About It?
is defined as the TRANSITIONAL period from normal menstrual
periods to no periods at all. The transition can, and usually does, take
up to ten years. During the perimenopausal transition you may experience
a combination of PMS and menopausal symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Stedman's Medical Dictionary, menopause is defined as the permanent
cessation of the menses. This condition may be diagnosed in retrospect
when 1 year has passed since the last menses. Well that’s pretty cut
and dry and its nice to know it was menopause you were going through
what can you do now? We know the average age of menopause is between
40-51, but menopause starting at the age of 40 is considered normal. So
what if you're having irritability, mood swings and irregular periods
now and you're not 51? Can it be PMS? Is it premature menopause? Or is
it the perimenopause ? Can you still get pregnant? What are your
treatment options? Do you need hormones or Prozac or just vitamin E?
These are difficult questions and although there is a blood test for
menopause (FSH), the test can only tell you if you are firmly IN
menopause. However, by the time the test is positive it's quite obvious
that you are into menopause.
on the other hand can occur at any age but is more common in your 30's
and 40's. The diagnosis and treatment of PMS has been hampered by the
fact that there has not been a reliable definition for the condition.
The American Psychiatric Association created a condition called the
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD) which should not be confused with
their earlier creation, the Late Luteal Phase Disorder (LLPD).
Physicians have always viewed women as more vulnerable to mental
disorders than men and have attributed it to the instability of their
reproductive systems. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)
consists of a well defined set of symptoms but out of the estimated
30-60% of women who experience PMS symptoms only 3-5% of women meet the
standards for PDD. But what if you don't meet the criteria? Doctors
don't like to hear these questions because there is no good, simple and
reliable test. There are ways to figure it out, but many physicians and
patients just don't want to take the time and effort. However, it is
important to figure it out because the treatments are different. So
where do you start?
start with your past. The age your mother or older sisters began
menopause can have a bearing on when you will begin menopause. If your
mother went through menopause in her late 40's and you're 34 it is most
likely PMS. If your mother suffered from PMS then you are more likely to
suffer as well. However, your mother might not remember when she went
through menopause and your older sister may not admit to it. The only
other reliable factor is if you smoke. If you smoke, you can count on
menopause starting 1-2 years earlier than if you don't. Pregnancies,
birth control pills, your age when you first began menses or
breast-feeding have no impact on the age of menopause. If you are on
oral contraceptives or other hormones such as Depo-Provera or estrogen,
these can have an effect on mood, irritability, hot flashes, depression
and your periods. Women who can't tolerate birth control pills are more
likely to develop PMS and have a difficult perimenopause. Adjusting the
dose, brand or time you take these medications can sometimes relieve
unwanted side effects.
of the symptoms of depression are found in both PMS and perimenopause.
Depression is not caused by menopause, but it can run in families. If
feelings of depression, loss of appetite, insomnia, and general loss of
interest or pleasure in life are at the top of your list you may be
suffering from clinical depression. These feelings should be brought to
the attention of your health care provider. Depression and PMS can occur
together and it's not uncommon for anxiety or depressive disorders to
worsen during the week before your period and at menopause. Sound
confusing? Well, it can be. All of the above statements are
generalizations but you have to remember that you are a unique
reviewing your family history for age of menopause and occurrence of PMS
and depression, you should complete a symptom diary or calendar. This
will be a unique record of your feelings on a daily basis. For three
months keep track of your menses along with a daily record of your
symptoms. Ideally, you should review your calendar with a health care
provider but first there may be a lot you can learn on your own. There
are two things you should look for. First look for patterns. In PMS you
will generally see an increase in emotional symptoms beginning at mid
cycle (around day 14). In the week before your period emotional symptoms
will increase and physical symptoms may begin. In the last few days
emotional symptoms will peak and then rapidly disappear after your
menses start. There are variations of this pattern, but the key is
symptoms that increase BEFORE and are relieved AFTER your period. Now
that you have your symptoms calendar before you, look for depression
that lasts most of the month. This could be a clue that you are
depressed and need professional evaluation.
your menses are occurring sooner than 21 days it may be perimenopause or
a more serious gynecological condition and you need to be evaluated by
your health care provider. Menses occurring later than 45 days is more
consistent with menopause or perimenopause. If physical symptoms
predominate, especially hot flashes, vaginal dryness and night sweats,
and if they last throughout the month unrelated to menses think more
about menopause. Remember menopause before the age of 40 is called
premature menopause and is rare. However perimenopause can begin before
age 40. Surgical removal of the ovaries is the most common cause of
premature menopause. Hopefully you know if your ovaries have been
removed, but you may not. Years ago doctors routinely removed ovaries in
women undergoing a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). Now many
gynecologists do not remove the ovaries.
you are firmly in menopause, that is, no periods for one year, you can
still get pregnant. If you don't smoke, low dose oral contraceptives can
be used right up to menopause. Hopefully your calendar will help you
become more familiar with your symptoms. From here you can design a PMS
/ perimenopause - menopause treatment plan. The
excellent natural remedy that can help most women with perimenopause
& menopausal symptoms is Imperial Gold Maca™ Maca
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