Perimenopause is the time in a woman's life when she is approaching menopause. During this time a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels that may include mood swings, painful sex, night sweats, hot flashes, and weight gain. Every adult woman eventually will experience perimenopause. Read more: Perimenopause Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Spotting vs. Period
Menstruation (a female's "period") occurs due to the shedding of the lining of the uterus. Menstrual bleeding lasts about three to five days, and the bleeding is heavy the first couple of days and then it lessens. Spotting is vaginal bleeding between periods.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, sac-like structures within an ovary. Symptoms of an ovarian cysts may be: Pain in the belly or pelvis A feeling for the need to have a bowel movement Urgency to urinate Pain during intercourse. There are a variety of causes and types of ovarian cysts, and treatment depends upon type of cyst.
Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include, uterine fibroids, IUDs, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, emotional stress, anorexia nervosa, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancers, early pregnancy.
Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia)
Vulvodynia or vaginal pain, genital pain is a condition in which women have chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. There are two types of vulvodynia, generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis. Researchers are trying to find the causes of vulvodynia, for example, nerve irritation, genetic factors, hypersensitivity to yeast infections, muscle spasms, and hormonal changes.The most common symptoms of vaginal pain (vulvodynia) is burning, rawness, itching, stinging, aching, soreness, and throbbing. There are a variety of treatments that can ease the symptoms of vulvodynia (vaginal pain).
What Happens During Menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms and signs include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Why Am I Having Menstrual Cramps but No Period?
Menstrual cramps may happen even without a period. Learn more about menstrual cramps without a period, when they can happen, what causes them, and what to watch out for.
What Foods Are High in Estrogen?
Learn more about what foods contain high amounts of estrogen, when to eat them, and when to avoid them.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Fibrocystic breast condition (sometimes called fibrocystic breast disease) is characterized by lumpiness and usually pain, tenderness, and discomfort in one or both breasts. The condition is very common and benign (not malignant). Fibrocystic breast condition is the most common cause of "lumpy breasts" in women. A common symptom of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort. Some women with fibrocystic breasts have mile breast tenderness or pain. Other women with the condition may have very painful and tender breasts with lumpy areas that can be felt. Fibrocystic breast condition is most common in women after age 30, which continues through perimenopause and menopause. Women with the condition often have fewer problems after menopause (postmenopause).Fibrocystic breast condition that involves hyperplasia is associated with a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with fibrocystic without fibrocystic changes. Natural and home remedies to help relieve breast pain include NSAIDs like aspiring, Aleve, and Advil. Prescription medication also may help relieve symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.
Learn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
Female Reproductive System
The female reproductive system is designed to carry out several functions, including: producing the female egg cells, conception, and producing female sex hormones that maintain the reproductive cycle. During menopause the female reproductive system gradually stops making the female hormones necessary for the reproductive cycle to work. Some of the important parts of the female reproductive anatomy include the: uterus, ovaries, vagina, cervix, urethra, and vaginal opening.
Low Testosterone (Low-T)
Low testosterone (low-T) can be caused by conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver or kidney disease, hormonal disorders, certain infections, and hypogonadism. Signs and symptoms that a person may have low-T include insomnia, increased body fat, weight gain, reduced muscle, infertility, decreased sex drive, depression, and worsening of congestive heart failure or sleep apnea. Low-T can be treated with testosterone therapy in the form of gels, injections, pellets, or skin patches. Side effects of testosterone treatment include acne, anxiety, hair loss, headache, and change in sex drive (libido).
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. Symptoms of hot flashes include flushing, excessive sweating, anxiety, and palpitations.
What Is the Average Age a Woman Stops Menstruating?
The menstrual cycle is a series of hormone-regulated changes that a woman's body goes through to get it ready for a possible pregnancy. Women usually stop menstruating or attain menopause in their 40 or 50s, the average age being 50 years old.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Estrogen?
Estrogen therapy, also known as hormone replacement therapy, is a treatment for alleviating the symptoms caused by menopausal transition. Estrogen therapy can alleviate symptoms like hot flashes, painful intercourse and bone loss.
Menstrual Cramps and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Treatment
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, mood swings, anxiety and more. Treatment for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include regular sleep, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, and OTC or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition.
Premature menopause is when menopause occurs in a woman before the age of 40. Causes of premature menopause include premature ovarian failure, treatments for cancer and other conditions, surgical removal of the ovaries, or chronic diseases of the pituitary or thyroid gland, or psychiatric disorders. Treatment is directed at menopausal symptoms.
Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Menstrual cramps are common, and may be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Severity of menstrual cramp pain varies from woman to woman. Treatment includes OTC or prescription pain relief medication.
Women's health is an important topic area to guide a woman through the stages of her life, as well as knowing the conditions and diseases that may occur. Educating yourself so that the transitions into different phases of life is key to a healthy, happy, and productive life.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
Some symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes (a sudden feeling of warmth in the upper part of the body) usually last for one to two years. However, they can continue for 10 years or longer.
Vaginal Dryness and Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy occurs in women during perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. With vaginal atrophy, the lining of the vaginal wall becomes thinner, drier, less elastic, and light pink to bluish in color. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and/or pain during intercourse. Treatment options for vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy include hormone treatment and over-the-counter vaginal lubricating and moisturizing products.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are experienced by many women, especially at night. However, not all women undergoing menopause experience hot flashes. What causes hot flashes? A hot flash is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body. Treatment for hot flashes include hormone replacement therapy and alternative prescription medications such as: SSRIs (Effexor, Paxil, Prozac), clonidine (Catapres), megestrol (Megace), and gabapentin (Neurontin). Few natural remedies for hot flashes (for example phytoestrogens - isoflavones, black cohosh, and vitamin E) have been scientifically studied.
Sex and Menopause (What to Expect)
Menopause is often associated with a change in sexual functioning. Loss of estrogen, bladder control issues, anxiety, stress, health concerns, medications, and sleep disturbances often result in a decrease in libido. Though there are currently no good drugs for treating sexual problems in women, there are ways to increase intimacy with a partner and treat vaginal dryness.
What Are the 40 Symptoms of Menopause?
Menopause is the end of the reproductive era of a woman’s life that is characterized by drastic changes in her emotional and physical aspects. Studies have identified around 40 signs and symptoms of menopause, but not every woman gets all of them.
What Are the Side Effects of Black Cohosh?
People in the US and Europe have used the herb black cohosh since ancient times for a variety of illnesses ranging from cough and cold to infertility. Side effects of black cohosh may include gastrointestinal upset, skin rash, breast pain, brain enlargement, infection, vaginal bleeding/spotting, joint or muscle pain and infection.
Does Sex Drive Return After Menopause?
Menopause is defined as when you haven’t had your periods for 12 consecutive months. You should accept the fact that it is normal to experience changes in sexual desire after menopause.
8 Causes of Night Sweats: Menopause and More
Night sweats are episodes of excessive perspiration that happen during sleep. They are often described as soaking or drenching and may require a change of sheets or even clothes. Night sweats can occur during sleep and without physical exertion. They aren’t caused by a heavy blanket or a warm bedroom. Instead, other underlying health issues may be responsible for these episodes of considerable sweating during sleep.
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Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Birth Control Pills (List of Oral Contraceptives and Side Effects)
- clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS)
- estrogens cream - vaginal
- paroxetine (Brisdelle)
- estrogens conjugated (Premarin)
- Side Effects of Premarin Vaginal Cream (conjugated estrogens)
- estrogen/progestin - oral, Activella, Femhrt, Ortho-Prefe
- Side Effects of Prometrium (progesterone)
- esterified estrogens and methyltestosterone, Estratest, Estratest HS
- Side Effects of Premarin (conjugated estrogens)
- Evista (raloxifene)
- Conjugated Estrogens (Cenestin, Enjuvia, Estrace, and Others)
- estrogens conjugated synthetic (Cenestin)
- estrogens (synthetic)-vaginal cream
- Side Effects of Prempro (conjugated estrogens/medroxyprogesterone)
- conjugated estrogens vaginal cream (Premarin Vaginal Cream)
- esterified estrogens (Menest)
- Fyavolv (norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol)
- Side Effects of Estratest (esterified estrogens and methyltestosterone)
- Side Effects of Addyi (flibanserin)
- Side Effects of Brisdelle (paroxetine)
- Side Effects of Menest (esterified estrogens)
- Side Effects of Alora (estradiol)
- Side Effects of Cenestin (conjugated estrogens)
- Side Effects of Meclofenamate sodium
Prevention & Wellness
- Do Your Genes Set You Up for Hot Flashes?
- Lots of Belly Fat at Menopause Could Boost Heart Risks
- Premature Menopause May Bring Tougher Symptoms for Women
- Menopause Can Make Workplace Tougher for Women: Study
- Early Periods Tied to Worse Menopause Symptoms
- Good News for Menopausal Women Who Take Hops
- Menopause May Someday Disappear as Women Postpone Pregnancy: Study
- AHA News: Estrogen Therapy in Early Menopause May Help Keep Arteries Clear
- Pregnancy, Breastfeeding May Guard Against Early Menopause
- Less Sex Could Mean Earlier Menopause
- Health Tip: Understanding the Menopausal Transition
- HIV Could Speed Menopause Onset
- How Does Early Menopause Affect a Woman's Heart?
- Health Tip: Relieving Hot Flashes
- Study Links Menopausal Night Sweats to Impaired Thinking
- More Hot Flashes Could Mean Higher Odds for Heart Trouble
- Poor Social Life Could Spell Trouble for Older Women's Bones
- Your Mom Plays a Role in Age at Menopause, Longevity
- Evenity Approved for Osteoporotic Women
- Mindfulness Might Ease Menopause Symptoms
- Healthy Lifestyle Makes for a Healthy Heart During Menopause
- Health Tip: Why You May Have Adult Acne
- Exercise Doesn't Affect Timing of Menopause, Study Finds
- Chemo for Lung Cancer May Trigger Early Menopause, Study Finds
- Health Tip: Manage Hot Flashes
- Scientists Get Closer to Origins of Hot Flashes
- Tackling Menopausal Sleep Problems From Other Angles
- Sleepless Nights Plague Many Women in Middle Age
- Are Her Chocolate Cravings a Product of the Culture?
- Trauma as a Teen May Boost Depression Risk Around Menopause
- Heart Risk Factors Rise Before Menopause
- Migraines May Worsen as Menopause Approaches