Women experience perimenopause sometime between their 30s and 40s. This is a time of hormone fluctuations that leads up to menopause, the end of female reproduction. It is often perceived as a negative time in a woman’s life and can be confusing for those enduring it.
However, Dr. Dominique Fradin Read encourages women to embrace this change. She believes they will feel more comfortable in their changing bodies when they understand what to expect during this time. To aid in this understanding, here are five of the most common signs of perimenopause.
Progesterone is a hormone that encourages sleep and decreasing levels often causes insomnia. For many women, this is one of their earliest symptoms. While some may have trouble falling asleep, others wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. This inability to get enough rest results in chronic daytime fatigue.
2. Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Nighttime is also when many women experience heavy sweating. These night sweats often occur in addition to daytime hot flashes, a sudden wave of heat felt over the entire body. A hot flash usually lasts one to five minutes and occurs anywhere between once a week to a few times an hour.
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3. Mood Fluctuations
Hormones also interact with the brain neurotransmitters that control emotions and cause rapidly changing moods during perimenopause. Women may find themselves more nervous or anxious about things that have never bothered them before. Some report feeling sad and crying over things that aren’t even important to them. A few even find they are more short-tempered and irritated by little things.
4. Hair Loss and Acne
Some symptoms are more physical in nature, such as hair and skin changes. Progesterone and estrogen are responsible for creating thick hair that stays on the head for a long time. Without enough of these hormones, hair begins to get brittle, thin and fall out faster. This also makes skin dry and acne-prone, even if women didn’t have acne when they were younger.
5. Weight Gain
Another physical side effect is weight gain. This is because the body has a hard time processing carbohydrates. As women age, they need fewer calories and metabolism slows down. When consuming large amounts of carbohydrates, the body doesn’t burn all the calories and stores them as fat. Since metabolism is slower, losing this weight is more challenging too.
Perimenopause is a normal part of aging for every woman. Each journey is different but is often accompanied by these symptoms. Women should embrace the change and enjoy this new chapter of life.