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Symptoms of Perimenopause

Posted Jan 05 2010 5:36am 1 Comment

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When I was in the midst of the worst of my perimenopause symptoms, I had one over-riding thought:

“I feel like I’m going crazy”

Yes, I had hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods and gawdawful mood-swings, but the underlying and most compelling emotion was that I was certain I was finally going nuts. In fact, it was my anxiety and emotional turmoil that drove me to begin blogging about perimenopause.

Like most women, I needed to talk through my anxiety and emotional angst so that I could sort through the feelings and make some sense out of what was happening to me.  Perhaps that is what has brought you here as well.  You are feeling crazy, vulnerable, not yourself and hanging on by a very thin thread. So, before I go any further, let me say very plainly – I understand and you are not going crazy.

It’s difficult to explain to others who have not been through perimenopause what it feels like.  It’s especially difficult to explain to our husbands who can’t begin to understand or even remotely connect to the female experience. Not only is this frustrating but it also adds to the feelings of isolation and vulnerability.

The symptoms and signs of perimenopause are long and varied.  You may or may not have all of them and there is no typical perimenopausal experience.  Most women, however, can relate to the hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods and mood-swings.  In fact, these four symptoms are usually what signals to women that they are in  perimenopause.

As of right now, most experts, health care providers and those devoted to understanding and helping women in perimenopause agree there are at least 35 symptoms that women experience when they enter perimenopause. Again, not necessarily a comprehensive list but it’s certainly a good starting point.

If you have any of these symptoms and feel you may be in perimenopause see a physician or health care provider right away.  The good news is we have plenty of options.  Some women still prefer traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy.  However, other choices such as bioidentical hormones and herbal alternatives are available as well.

The point is, just do something. There is no reason to suffer with perimenopause if we don’t have to.

And finally, please feel free to leave your comments, questions, suggestions.

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

  • Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings, sudden tears
  • Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
  • Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
  • Loss of libido
  • Dry vagina
  • Crashing fatigue
  • Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
  • Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
  • Disturbing memory lapses
  • Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
  • Itchy, crawly skin
  • Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
  • Increased tension in muscles
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache change: increase or decrease
  • Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  • Sudden bouts of bloat
  • Depression
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions
  • Increase in allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
  • Changes in body odor
  • Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Gum problems, increased bleeding
  • Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
  • Osteoporosis (after several years)
  • Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
  • Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc.
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This artice has made me feel slightly better!!  I am 40 yrs old and my periods have changed in duration and heaviness over the last 2 years.  My breasts are very sore before my periods now and my facial hair has increased.  My nails have become very brittle and I need to wee more!!  The most upsetting thing however is that information just doesn't seem to register any more unless I am really concentrating!!  My brain just doesn't seem to be firing on all cylinders and I have become obsessed with all the little details I am struggling to recall.  I am a busy working, single mum so am constantly multi tasking but have recently been finding it so hard to focus!!  The stress of worrying about early onset dementia etc has been making me feel increasinly stressed so it's all a viscious cycle!!  Thanks for normalising my experiences!!

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