"Am I losing my mind?" "WHAT is going on?"
Pre menopause symptoms & signs - pre menopause symptoms
experienced in early menopause women - can be very confusing
These early pre menopause symptoms are a completely new
experience and often begin years before menopause. These pre
menopause symptoms can sneak up mildly and infrequently, when
women least expect them.
Women at the beginning of the pre menopause symptoms phase
feel uncomfortable and out of sorts, without yet correlating
their symptoms to peri menopause.
A cat food commercial reduces the peri menopause woman to
tears. A friend or husbandís sideways glance or offhand
comment spurs a heated argument. PMS-type mood swings and
bloating seem to take up the majority instead of the minority
of the month. In the 20/20 vision of hindsight, women solidly
beyond pre menopause easily identify these pre menopause
symptoms as the beginning of the menopause process. For the
novice new to pre menopause symptoms, not knowing the cause is
Pre menopause, often referred to as peri menopause, is the
time before menopause actually takes place. Pre menopause
symptoms typically begin between 35 and 45.
Because the pre menopause symptoms occur gradually over an
extended period of time, many women in this stage often
discount the pre menopause symptoms or blame the pre menopause
symptoms on other health conditions or external issues.
Many women report taking numerous trips to the doctorís office
before both they and their health care provider link the signs
to pre menopause symptoms.
Women might feel relieved to find a name to hang their aches
and ails on. They are not going crazy. They are not a
hypochondriac or dying of some unidentifiable disease but the
thought of entering menopause is not exactly comforting.
Another issue with pre menopause symptoms is that it is not as
widely discussed as menopause, even though many women
experience more pre menopause symptoms during this early phase
than after menopause.
Many clinicians and everyday people alike believe that pre
menopause symptoms are often worse than the actual,
shorter-lived menopause phase.
A small percent of women go through this transition period
with few pre menopause symptoms. Their periods stop, they have
a few bouts of hot flashes and that is that. Women at the
other end of the scale experience intense symptoms that
dramatically alter their lives.
The first pre menopause symptoms women typically experience
are changes in their monthly cycle. Menstrual cycles may
shorten or lengthen by a couple days. Periods might be lighter
or heavier. Women might skip their periods for a month or
Hot flashes are another of the most common pre menopause
symptoms and can begin before women notice changes in their
monthly cycle. Again, these hot flashes often start out mild
and women can discounted these, especially if there are no
signs of other pre menopause symptoms.
- Changes in menstrual cycles.
- Hot flashes.
- Mood swings and generally unstable or erratic
- Irritability, anxiety, depression, frustration.
- Increasing vaginal dryness, itching, discomfort.
- Breast tenderness.
- Painful sexual intercourse.
- Decreased libido.
- Urinary tract changes.
(Were you aware that something as simple as irregularity
can mimic pre menopause symptoms? Be sure to read our archived
newsletter on the subject of
symptoms caused by irregularity.)
Each month can bring on a new set of pre menopause symptoms.
One month women might feel like jumping out of their skin.
Another month they find themselves in bed crying half the
morning. Muscles and joints might ache for no apparent reason.
Some days the mental "fog" hangs.
These mild changes increase as women enter their 40s, with
women typically entering menopause in their mid-40s and early
These pre menopause symptoms occur as the bodyís estrogen and
progestin producing abilities wane to bring women out of their
childbearing years. The declining and fluctuating hormone
levels are the culprit of most of the pre menopause symptoms.
Pre menopause symptoms are a hint of things to come. For a
detailed account of these symptoms, see "Menopause Symptoms."
Menopause is a process. It begins quietly with a few pre
menopause symptoms, but can become quite loud at its menopause
peak. Eventually, the body calms back down in post menopause.
Think of the menopause process as an internal argument brewing
in the body. One side wants the status quo of reproductive
years and the other wants change. The minor bickering between
the sides escalates to full-scale fighting before one side
wins, the other concedes and peace returns. Of course, the
side that wants change always wins but that does not stop
status quo from putting up a good fight.
In some women, these two sides reach agreement quickly with
few casualties. Other women have more stubborn conflicts.
Physicians place peri menopause as the period of time three to
four years before menopause but, pre menopause symptoms can
actually begin much earlier - up to 15 years earlier in rare
occasions. Typically, the later pre menopause symptoms begin,
the shorter the transition to menopause.
The best way to resolve this internal hormone conflict is to
bring in a mediator - and the sooner the better. Beginning
natural hormone replacement therapy at the onset of pre
menopause symptoms brings a quicker and quieter resolution.
It is important to note that thyroid irregularities and
diabetes are medical conditions commonly seen during the pre
menopause years and can mimic pre menopause symptoms. Women
experiencing pre menopause symptoms should have thyroid and
diabetes testing to rule these conditions out.