The official definition for pre-menopause is when a woman begins the process of going into a permanent state of ceasing to have her menses. While the average age for a women to go into full blown menopause is between 38 and 52, she can begin to experience pre-menopause symptoms well before that, sometimes as early as age 35. Typically, the symptoms will begin as a change of menstrual cycle, followed by irritability, mood swings, depression, headaches, forgetfulness, and aches and pains. Although no woman looks forward to going through this phase of her life, it is normal and all part of aging. While pre-menopause symptoms are not enjoyable, there are things that can be done to make this time more manageable and tolerable.
Pre-menopause is a time of transition. Obviously, if the woman were to go straight into menopause, she would probably fall apart. Therefore, the body begins the change slowly so she can handle the many related symptoms. For some women, this time of transition will take just a few years but on average, a woman can expect to be in pre-menopause for 10 years! In addition, some women have slight pre-menopause symptoms and do not seem to mind the many things that go along with this transition while other women have a difficult time.
Unfortunately, one of the toughest symptoms has to do with the psyche. Because the body is undergoing so many changes that have to do with hormonal levels fluctuating, the mind is also affected In fact, as many as 60% of all women going through pre-menopause symptoms say that the mental aspect is most difficult. During this time, the woman will commonly feel a sense of nervousness, anxiety, depression, and frustration. While she struggles to find and redefine herself, loved ones around her struggle to just figure her out – from minute to minute. Obviously, it takes a tremendous amount of understanding and support to get through the change but it can be done.
Pre-menopause can be triggered earlier by a number of things to include smoking. In fact, new studies show that for women who smoke, they are likely to start into menopause up to two years earlier than normal. Interestingly, if the woman struggled with Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), then chances of her being faced with many of the same symptoms during pre-menopause are likely. A woman will also find that menopause often causes a decrease of interest in sex. Typically, this is caused by the fatigue that goes alone with menopause as well as vaginal dryness, irritability, and depression.
It is essential that when a woman starts to experience pre-menopause symptoms, she be aware of her body and what is to be expected. Since many other things could be occurring within the body to cause the same symptoms, she needs to know when it is menopause and when there is concern for something else. Therefore, if she were to suddenly start to have missed periods, rather than assume it is the beginning of menopause, she should talk with her doctor for a confirmed diagnosis. In addition, if she begins to feel tired, suffer from insomnia, or have headaches, again, these are all symptoms of menopause but they could be indicators for something else. The key is to be educated about the change of life, knowing what is and is not normal.
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