Are you in perimenopause? Here are 10 important signs to know

Perimenopause is the period before menopause when the ovaries gradually stop working. Read on to learn the important signs.

Perimenopause, which means “around menopause,” is the time when your body naturally undergoes the transition to menopause, signaling the end of your reproductive period. The perimenopause stage can last for several years, during which women may experience various symptoms due to fluctuations in hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone. Recognizing the signs of perimenopause can help you manage this natural phase of a woman’s life more effectively. Here are 10 important signs that may indicate that you are in the perimenopausal stage:

Are You On Perimenopausal Stage? Here Are 10 Important Signs To Know

1. Irregular Periods

 Irregular Periods

One of the initial indicators of perimenopause manifests in alterations in the regularity of menstrual cycles. During this phase, periods may fluctuate in duration, intensity, and frequency until they cease altogether. Mayo Clinic suggests that if there’s a gap of 60 days or more between periods, it indicates the onset of late perimenopause.

2. Hot Flashes

Dr. Manisha Mishra Goswami, Medical Adviser at Charak Pharma Pvt Ltd, explains that hot flashes are a common symptom characterized by sudden sensations of warmth, often concentrated around the face, neck, and chest, which may result in flushing and sweating. Some women may experience chills following a hot flash. Dr. Goswami further elaborates that while the exact cause of hot flashes during perimenopause remains uncertain, hormonal fluctuations, particularly variations in estrogen levels, are believed to play a significant role.

3. Sleep Problems

Dr. Goswami notes that sleep problems are prevalent during perimenopause and can exacerbate existing issues. Perimenopause often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. Additionally, night sweats associated with hot flashes can further disturb sleep quality during this phase.

Sleep Problems


4. Mood Changes

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that around four out of ten women experience mood problems resembling premenstrual syndrome (PMS) during perimenopause. Symptoms may include irritability, fatigue, tearfulness, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.

5. Vaginal and Bladder Problems

Reduced levels of estrogen can result in thinning and drying of vaginal tissue, leading to discomfort during intercourse and an elevated risk of vaginal infections. Additionally, urinary urgency and a higher susceptibility to urinary tract infections (UTIs) may manifest.

Vaginal and Bladder Problems

6. Decreased Fertility

As ovulation becomes more irregular during perimenopause, the likelihood of conceiving naturally diminishes. Nevertheless, pregnancy remains a possibility, so contraception should be maintained if pregnancy is not desired.

7. Changes in Sexual Function

In addition to vaginal dryness, a decrease in libido may also be observed. Fluctuations in hormonal levels can influence sexual desire and arousal.

8. Weight Gain and Metabolism Changes

Many women experience weight gain and a shift in fat distribution, often around the abdomen, due to changes in hormones and metabolism during perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly decreases in estrogen levels, can influence how the body stores and distributes fat, leading to changes in body composition. Additionally, metabolic changes associated with aging can contribute to alterations in weight and fat distribution. Maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress can help mitigate these effects and support overall well-being during perimenopause.

9. Loss of Bone Density

Decreased estrogen levels during perimenopause can lead to a decrease in bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health by regulating the activity of bone cells involved in the formation and resorption of bone tissue. As estrogen levels decline, bone turnover may become imbalanced, resulting in a gradual loss of bone density over time. This can predispose women to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by fragile and brittle bones prone to fractures. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises, consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake can help support bone health during perimenopause. Regular bone density screenings may also be recommended to monitor changes in bone density and assess fracture risk.

10. Changing Cholesterol Levels

Perimenopause can lead to increases in bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreases in good cholesterol (HDL), which may raise the risk for cardiovascular disease. To manage perimenopausal symptoms effectively, consider the following techniques:

1. Maintain a balanced diet: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats.

2. Engage in regular exercise: Incorporate aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your routine to support overall health and alleviate symptoms such as weight gain and mood swings.

3. Ensure sufficient sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support hormone regulation and overall well-being.

4. Practice stress-reduction techniques: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness can help alleviate mood swings, anxiety, and stress associated with perimenopause.

5. Consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT): For some women, HRT may be an option to manage severe symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. However, it’s essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider, as HRT may not be suitable for everyone.

6. Use vaginal moisturizers and lubricants: Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants can help alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort associated with perimenopause. Additionally, certain medications may be prescribed to address specific symptoms.

By incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle, you can effectively manage perimenopausal symptoms and improve your overall quality of life during this transitional phase.