menopause masterclass

What are the symptoms of perimenopause?

May 16, 2024

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Hi everyone, Tamsen Fadal here. In our Menopause Masterclass, we had the chance to delve into an often-misunderstood phase of women's health: perimenopause. Dr. Nighat Arif, a GP specializing in women's health, shared valuable insights to help us understand and identify the early signs of perimenopause.

What is Perimenopause? How Long Does Perimenopause Last?

Perimenopause marks the transition period leading up to menopause, characterized by a variety of symptoms alongside menstrual cycles. It typically begins around the age of 45 but can start earlier, especially in certain ethnic groups. Perimenopause is when the body begins its transition from the fertile years to a new stage of life.

What are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?

Dr. Arif explains that symptoms of perimenopause are diverse and affect various parts of the body:

Psychological Symptoms: These include brain fog, irritability, tearfulness, and insomnia. Some women may experience sudden fits of anger or feel more emotionally vulnerable.

Physical Changes: Symptoms can manifest as headaches, migraines, a burning sensation in the mouth, and body aches. Hot flushes, night sweats, and palpitations are also common.

Breast Tenderness: Fluctuations in estrogen can lead to breast tenderness.

Gut-Related Symptoms: Changes in digestive health, including gut discomfort.

Skin and Hair Changes: Dry skin and hair issues may become more noticeable.

Weight Gain: Many women find it challenging to maintain their previous weight during perimenopause.

What Happens To My Period In Perimenopause?

A key indicator of perimenopause is the change in menstrual cycles. Periods can become heavier, lighter, or more irregular. This unpredictability is a hallmark of perimenopause.

Hormone Fluctuations

Estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during perimenopause, leading to these various symptoms. It's a natural transition and part of the body's aging process.

Managing Perimenopause

Dr. Arif emphasizes the importance of focusing on symptoms rather than solely on menstrual patterns. She advises women to be aware of their body changes and to seek guidance for symptom management, which may include lifestyle adjustments and possibly hormone replacement therapy, depending on individual needs and health histories.

Dr. Arif's Parting Advice

Dr. Arif encourages women to embrace this phase of life positively and proactively. Understanding the symptoms and seeking appropriate support can significantly ease the perimenopausal journey.

For more insights into women's health and to understand menopause better, explore our full Menopause Masterclass series.

Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized medical guidance.

For more on Dr. Arif

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drnighatarif/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@drnighatarif

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