UNDERSTANDING PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE
Symptoms of Menopause
The average age of menopause for women in the United States is 51 years. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she naturally stops having menstrual periods.
The transitional phase in the years leading up to menopause is called perimenopause. Perimenopause is a time of gradual change in the levels of the hormone estrogen. Changing estrogen levels can bring on symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep changes. To manage these symptoms, some women may choose to take hormone therapy.
During your childbearing years, monthly changes in the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone control your menstrual cycle. Both hormones are made by the ovaries. Estrogen causes the the lining of the uterus to grow and thicken to prepare for a possible pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, which signals the uterus to shed its lining. This shedding is your monthly period.
As the hormone estrogen gradually decreases, you will begin to experience signs and symptoms of perimenopause. Symptoms vary from woman to woman and may be mild to severe including changes in your period as well as hot flashes.
A common sign of perimenopause is a change in your menstrual cycle. They may become longer or shorter and you may begin to skip periods. Although changes in menstrual bleeding are normal as you approach menopause, you still should report them to Dr. Mager.