Long before actual menopause begins in the female reproductive system, a condition known as perimenopause takes place. This condition has its own set of unique symptoms and experiences, and should be discussed with your physician at the first hint of something new on the block. Perimenopause typically begins two or three years before actual menopausal symptoms begin. As with any of life’s conditions and diseases or ailments, checking perimenopausal unpleasant symptoms early can make the entire trip down the yellow brick road to the land of Oz much easier, faster and scenic.
Perimenopause signals the slowing down of the woman’s ovarian egg production, and can last several years or go out with a bang in a matter of months. Once a woman has one full year without menstruation, she can feel she is now definitely in true post menopause and her symptoms will actually began to subside from the bizarre emotional highs and lows she experienced during perimenopause and actual menopause.
– Hot flashes, from the range of high sweats to heat flashes to severe the woman cannot seem catch her breath and suffers high desire to remove clothing to spare herself from the heat flash, and is instantly completely drenched with perspiration.
– Breast tenderness
– Mood swings, depression, irritability
– Loss of libido and onset of discomfort during sexual intercourse
– Irregularity in flow and timing of menstruation
– Incontinence in bladder
From onset of perimenopause throughout the entire menopausal years, medical assistance is available to help a woman through the worse of the symptoms. A combination of estrogen and other drugs can greatly relieve the pain, hot flashes and erratic behavior.
Caveat on Estrogen
However, if you have had breast cancer, you should not take systemic estrogen at all and may want to discuss vaginal estrogen therapy with physicians. You also should not take estrogen if you have had liver disease, blood clots history, heart disease, a stroke, or any unusual bleeding from the vagina. If you have had uterine cancer, ask your doctor if you can use estrogen.
There are some non-hormonal treatments available also:
- SSRI drugs for serotonin reuptake and serotonin norephinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drugs are used successfully.
- Gabapentin can be used to treat hot flashes, particularly at night when hot flashes can disturb sleep, in the same way the drug lessens seizures.
- Clonidine is a blood-pressure-lowering drug that is seldom used in menopause due to its side effects of possible dizziness, dryness and constipation of bowels.
- Although depression is more common during the menopausal phase, most begin to feel better postmenopausal when those pesky hormones no longer fluctuating.
- Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants help women combat excessive dryness.
It is a natural effect that partial or radical hysterectomy at a young age can throw the woman’s hormone balance into the next century’s land fill, causing her to immediately experience the negative hormone loss reactions. These women are capable of benefiting from menopausal treatment, since the cause of their discomfort is the same as if the lack of hormones had occurred naturally.
And the Good News is…
There are some psychological plus factors to reaching and passing through menopause at any age, but there is more written about unpleasant effects than the happier ones. After the hormone production is over, the woman never has another troublesome menstrual period, the dreaded menstrual cramping and accompanying headaches and bloating. Saving the best news for last, there is no fear of undesired pregnancy.