Perimenopause is a natural part of aging and is the transition leading up to menopause. It signals the ending of your reproductive years, and is marked by fluctuating hormones and the gradual falling of hormone levels. In most women, perimenopause can occur 2 to 7 years before menopause. The average age of menopause for non-smoking American females is 51 (smokers average 49), therefore perimenopause usually starts in the mid to late 40’s. The duration varies from 2 to 8 years including the first year after your final period. Remember that the year without a period before menopause is considered part of perimenopause. Always let your doctor know if it has been a year or more since your last period, as that signals that you are approaching menopause. Throughout perimenopause, most women experience symptoms associated with changing hormone levels, to be described below.
What are the symptoms of Perimenopause?
Perimenopausal symptoms can vary from normal to very severe in some cases. 70% women are affected by the typical symptoms of perimenopause. Symptoms occur as some follicles respond to hormonal change and high estrogen levels. Periods often become erratic during this phase. Some report their periods happen farther apart, while others report they happen more frequently. The amount of flow can be heavier or lighter, and periods may shorter or longer.
The most typical symptoms due to falling and fluctuating hormonal levels are:
1. Hot Flashes.
2. Night Sweats.
3. Irregular Periods.
4. Loss of Libido.
5. Vaginal Dryness.
6. Mood swings.
Other symptoms of change in behavior, body, or emotions may develop in most women, including:
5. Breast pain.
6. Joint pain.
7. Hair Loss.
8. Memory Lapses.
9. Sleep Disorders.
11. Concentrating Loss.
13. Weight Gain.
16. Brittle Nails.
18. Irregular Heartbeat.
19. Increase in Facial hair.
20. Urine Incontinence.
The severity of the above symptoms depends on how you prepare for and treat this new phase of your life.
Do patients who have had a tubal ligation or a tubal reversal have an earlier onset of perimenopause?
Previous tubal ligation or subsequent tubal reversal will most likely not affect the age of perimenopause. On occasion, a tubal ligation may interrupt the normal blood flow to the ovary on one side or another, but this is rare. However, if the blood flow to an ovary has been affected, the ovary may fail earlier and this may lead to an earlier perimenopause.
A tubal reversal will not restore normal blood flow to an ovary if this disruption has occurred. A tubal reversal strictly restores normal flow through the fallopian tube, which does not affect the age of onset of perimenopause