“There’s no way I could be going through menopause! I’m too young, and my mother didn’t go through it until she was in her fifties.” This conversation buzzes persistently in women’s heads, even as you throw off the sheets at night, freeze your partner with fans and air conditioning, and hope your business associates don’t notice you are suddenly drenched in sweat. Of course, you do feel more irritable lately, and your bowels never seem to be just right anymore. Your periods seem to be coming closer together, but maybe it was the stress this month, or you just counted the days wrong. After all, you’re only 39 years old. How could all this be the first signs of menopause?
“Perimenopause” is defined as the period of time from the first signs of change in monthly cycles until after menstruation has ended completely for more than one year. Menopause correctly means “the month of the last menstrual period.To fully understand the depth of changes your hormones can make in your body, please see Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance.
During perimenopause, some women’s ratio of estrogen to progesterone may fluctuate wildly. These women may experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness and thinning, urinary tract inflammation, irritability, depression, anxiety, and excessive menstrual flow, insomnia, or a general kind of malaise. Other women will simply stop menstruating with no problems whatsoever.
So how do you know what’s going on with your hormones? You test your hormone levels, make changes, and re-test.