You feel tired all the time. You snap at your kids or co-workers. You don’t want to have sex anymore. Are you under too much stress? Or are you in perimenopause?
At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville — with two offices in Jacksonville, Florida — our OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, evaluate your hormones, symptoms, and overall health to devise a treatment strategy that’s best for you. Here’s what you need to know about perimenopause, its symptoms, and how best to manage them.
Perimenopause can start early
Perimenopause is the time in your life that transitions you from your most fertile days to the point where you’re not able to conceive a baby naturally. Menopause officially begins one year after your final menstrual period.
Most women in the United States hit menopause at around age 51. That means that perimenopause can start anywhere from a few years to up to 10 years sooner than that. Some women may even enter the perimenopausal period when they’re in their 30s.
Instead of thinking about numbers, think about your symptoms. If you feel the same as you did when you were younger, and your periods come at about the same intervals, you’re probably not yet in perimenopause. Signs that you could be entering this transition include changes related to your period, such as:
- Skipping periods
- Heavy periods
- Spotting between periods
- Having longer than normal periods
- Not being able to get pregnant
Symptoms that aren’t related to your period include:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Painful sex
- Dry vagina
- Brain fog
- Bone loss
- Weight gain
You may have noticed that many of the symptoms of perimenopause are the same as those usually associated with menopause. These symptoms can last for years without treatment and may severely affect your quality of life. Some of these symptoms also overlap more serious conditions, which is why you shouldn’t ignore them.
Changes are normal …
Remember, though, that the symptoms you’re experiencing are normal for your time of life. You don’t have to feel like you’ve done something “wrong” or that you’re not healthy simply because you’re having trouble dealing with this new stage of life.
Your symptoms may also range from mild to severe. If you have severe symptoms that make it hard to get through your day (or night), you should come in for a hormonal evaluation and hormonal balancing. If your symptoms are mild, you may choose not to treat them or to adopt lifestyle changes that ease your transition.
... But you don’t have to suffer
Perimenopause and menopause both begin when your body reduces the production of the hormones that once made it fertile. Our gynecologists can restore your hormones to a more youthful balance with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
WIth BHRT, you can reduce or reverse many of your symptoms so that you can enjoy both perimenopause and menopause. Benefits include:
- Better sleep
- Better mood
- Better skin
- Higher libido
- More lubricated vagina
- Reduced or no hot flashes or night sweats
- Better focus and concentration
- Weight loss
Using BHRT can also protect you against the bone loss of osteoporosis, which frequently occurs during and after perimenopause and menopause.
If you have the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, contact Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville. Call our nearest office or book an appointment online. We look forward to the privilege of providing your care!