Typically, a woman will begin menopause sometime late in her forties or early fifties. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. For this reason, when a woman hits her late thirties or early forties and things begin to change, she knows that life is playing a cruel trick on her with what is called peri-menopause. Simply put, this means she is going through the change of life earlier than expected. Many times, the woman will think she has done something wrong, perhaps she is not eating enough healthy foods or not getting enough exercise but in truth, it is simply life.
In most cases, the first signs of peri-menopause include missed or irregular periods along with aches and pains. Then, the woman may notice that she is having trouble with concentration or starts to forget simple, everyday things. Although this time can be a little unnerving, remember it is perfectly normal, something every woman goes through at some time or another. Peri-menopause is nature preparing the woman for the real deal at which time she will go into full-blown menopause. For this to occur, the woman would have to be void of her monthly menstrual cycle for a full 12 months.
Back to the early menopause, keep in mind that this phase can last anywhere from a few years to eight or even ten years! The key with this is that symptoms should not automatically be associated with the change of life since they could mean something completely different. As an example, headaches and insomnia are both common signs of peri-menopause but they could be associated with something else. Therefore, when a women in her late thirties or early forties begins to have these problems, she may simply think it is because of stress, allergies, the house temperature not being set right, too much on the mind, and so on when in fact, it could be the sign that menopause is on its way.
As a woman heads into menopause, her reproductive system is actually preparing to shut down. As this occurs, it is as though a switch is flipped and everything begins to change. For early menopause to begin, the production of two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, begins to slow down and the egg supply decreases. This results in the body ovulating less and less until the time comes when there is no production at all. Other common symptoms associated with menopause include anxiety, low sexual desire, vaginal dryness, breast soreness, depression, and probably the two worst symptoms – hot flashes and night sweats.
While menopause can be a very frustrating time in a woman’s life, these symptoms are all a part of the body trying to deal with the fluctuations associated with the change. What makes peri-menopause so challenging is that some of the symptoms may be slight and gradual while other symptoms come on fast and hard. The good news is that there are many good options available to help ease the symptoms. Women should work with their doctor to determine if prescription medication or natural remedies would be the best option.
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