As you enter your early forties, you may be noticing some significant changes in your body. This might frighten you at first, but they are actually a normal part of life. Your body is entering into what is called perimenopause, the transition period into menopause. By learning to recognize the signs of perimenopause, you can find some peace of mind that your body is not going to pieces but just entering into a new phase. Read on to learn about some indications of the start of menopause.
You might notice that your moods are swinging more than when you were a teenager. Hormonal changes during perimenopause are the culprits here, and you will have to work quite hard not to snap and shout at people sometimes. Aside from irritability, you might also find yourself feeling rather depressed. This is also normal.
Changes in Cycle
As perimenopause starts, you will observe changes in your monthly cycle. It might become irregular, shorter or longer than normal or perhaps heavier. You may even skip your period some months or spot in between periods. Again, this is a result of hormonal changes.
One of the most common signs of perimenopause is the onset of hot flashes. You’ll be just fine one moment, and the next, you’ll be dripping wet and radiating. You may also experience night sweats and have to spend at least part of your night on top of your blankets even in the winter.
Some women experience menopause hair loss due to hormonal imbalances. You might notice that your hair is becoming thinner than it used to be, and while you can’t prevent this entirely, you can limit it by styling your hair in a different way and maintaining good overall health.
Hot flashes, night sweats and changes in your cycle can all contribute to sleep disruption during perimenopause. You might find yourself waking up on and off throughout the night even though you never did before, or you may have difficulties falling asleep. This, too, is relatively normal as your body adjusts to its new patterns.
Your body is also adjusting to changes in sexual function and fertility. Your fertility will decline throughout perimenopause as you move toward the end of your monthly cycles. You may also notice changes in your sex drive and in your comfort levels during intercourse.
Weight gain is another common sign of the onset of menopause. Even if your eating and exercise habits have not changed, you might still detect changes in the shape of your body and in the numbers on the scale. You may, for instance, experience a thickening around your waist or an increase in body fat around your stomach and hips. Your metabolism might slow down a bit, too, and this will require you to adjust your calorie intake and exercise levels to maintain a healthy weight. Try not to panic. What’s happening is normal even though you won’t like it.
Be on the lookout for increased fatigue as you enter into perimenopause. You will often feel tired for no reason at all, even if you’ve gotten enough sleep during the night. You might find yourself taking naps more often during the day and being worn out by activities that never would have even remotely tired you before.
Other Health Issues
Finally, as you begin the transition into menopause, you should be on the lookout for other health issues. Your cholesterol numbers may rise, for instance, or you might experience higher blood pressure levels.
The start of menopause can make your body feel like it’s flying out of control, but what’s happening is actually normal. If you recognize the signs, you can avoid panic and take some action to at least minimize your symptoms.