6 Early Warning Signs of Menopause

No matter how you feel about your period, at some point, it’s going to end. Menopause marks the end of your menstruation and also the end of your ability to conceive a child naturally. 

You officially reach menopause after you’ve gone without a period for 12 consecutive months. Menopause may come as a relief. Or it may cause you grief. Or, you may experience a combination of those two emotions mixed with many others.

However menopause comes or feels, it doesn’t just happen overnight. A warning period called perimenopause precedes menopause by anywhere from 5-10 years, or in some cases even more. 

At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, our caring and expert OB/GYNs, Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, help you navigate perimenopause and menopause. 

How do you know that you’re in perimenopause and headed toward menopause? Following are six signs that you are.

1. Your period will not stop

A classic symptom that your reproductive system is winding down is that it becomes difficult, or impossible, to predict when your period is coming and how long it will last. If you typically bled for 4-7 days, you may find that you’re still bleeding after two weeks.

When your hormones down-regulate with aging, you may not produce enough progesterone to stop uterine bleeding during your period. Bleeding too much puts you at risk for iron deficiency and anemia. 

If your period lasts far longer than your normal menstruation, please see us. We may prescribe progesterone to stop the excess bleeding and normalize your period.

2. You can not sleep

The classic symptoms associated with menopause — including hot flashes and night sweats — begin in perimenopause. As your levels of estrogen drop, you may find it harder to both fall asleep and stay asleep.

Your sex hormones, including estrogen, do more than regulate ovulation and menstruation. They also regulate your body temperature. 

When estrogen drops, your internal thermostat becomes overly sensitive. In consequence, you may heat up suddenly, causing hot flashes during the day and disruptive, sleep-disturbing night sweats at night.

3. You gain weight

Changes in hormonal balance change your metabolism and body composition, too. Although estrogen levels fall, so do testosterone levels, which help to build muscle mass.

Muscles burn a lot of energy. When you lose muscle mass due to hormonal changes, your metabolism slows down, and you start to gain fat. Having too much fat increases estrogen, which promotes even more fat gain.

In addition, it’s harder to lose weight or burn off the fat. With less muscle mass, you can’t turn up your metabolism enough to shed unneeded pounds.

4. You have trouble focusing or remembering

Hormones affect how your brain works, too. You may have difficulty paying attention or retaining information when your hormone levels drop.

You may even start to forget things or have “senior moments.” Some women describe this as “brain fog.”

5. Your moods are all over the place

If you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), you may notice that your moods are as variable daily as they used to be around your period. You may get irritated over petty issues, crying over sentimental commercials, or feeling blue.

In addition, the fact that your sleep gets disrupted means it’s harder to remain focused and optimistic. Lack of sleep affects mood and brain function, too.

6. Sex hurts

If your libido has dropped or if you now avoid sex because your vagina is too dry, you’re probably in perimenopause. Your vaginal walls don’t have the hormones they need to produce lubricating moisture. The friction of intercourse can, therefore, be excruciating. 

In addition, your libido may plummet. You may not even be attracted to your mate anymore. 

You can restore hormones

The helpful news about perimenopause and menopause is that you can go through these natural states without suffering through the warning signs. Bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) replenishes lost hormones safely and effectively. 

You still go through perimenopause and menopause, but you get to feel like, act like, and look like yourself while going through it.

Do you suspect you’re in perimenopause or menopause? Contact our supportive team in Jacksonville, Florida, today to learn if you’d benefit from BHRT. Or, use our convenient appointment form online.

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