Most ladies will remember the day they “became a woman.” It is an occasion that is met with rejoicing by some, or with tears by others.
There is definitely a sense of a chapter ending when you get your first period, though hopefully also a sense of a new beginning.
However, the transition that arrives 40 or so years later is not so cut and dried. Unlike your first period, there is no stained underwear to signify the official beginning and end of a stage of life.
Rather, perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are all gradual processes. In fact, doctors talk about the end of your childbearing years in three different stages to help communicate that it’s all very gradual, and that it takes time.
It can be a little ominous to think about, but remember, menopause isn’t all bad. It means the end of tampons and over-the-counter pregnancy tests, and the beginning of a new, golden phase in your life, where the only person you need to focus on is, well, you!
Perimenopause Sign #1: Pain During Intercourse
While it’s widely known that there will be changes in your libido around menopause, it might also be a little uncomfortable, or even painful.
The Mayo Clinic reports that your vaginal tissues lose elasticity and lubrication as estrogen levels drop. These side effects aren’t exactly ideal for a night of passion, but don’t stress!
A little lubricant and creativity will more than make up for the dip in sex drive.
Perimenopause Sign #2: Night Sweats
Your body is undergoing a lot of changes, which might result in a rapid temperature change, and also night sweats.
Night sweats happen for a range of reasons, but if you are around menopausal age, it is likely related.
So, if you’re waking up with soaked sheets, you may want to ask your doctor about checking out your hormone levels.
Perimenopause Sign #3: Fatigue
Everyone and their mother is tired, but it becomes something more substantial when there is a pattern.
Since you may have trouble sleeping, being more tired than usual is another side effect of entering into menopause.
It’s also a side effect of your hormones ebbing and flowing; you might be left with lower energy than usual.
Perimenopause Sign #4: Hot Flashes
Becoming abruptly overheated is an uncomfortable feeling, no matter your age.
However, experiencing hot flashes is one of the most common and infamous symptoms of menopause, characterized by a sudden flush of heat through your body. Some women might also experience sweating and redness.
You have your changing hormones to thank for this, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Perimenopause Sign #5: Insomnia
Your ovaries start to produce less estrogen gradually as you transition into menopause.
Since estrogen is a sleep-promoting hormone, the drop is likely to interfere with your sleep cycle.
Additionally, night sweats might also be disrupting you and keeping you up.
Perimenopause Sign #6: Hair Loss
Your body producing less estrogen can lead to a lot of changes in and out of your body.
Thinning hair is something experienced by some women as a result of their transition.
Lower estrogen levels make more of your hair go into a “resting” phase, and that leads to more strands falling out.
Perimenopause Sign #7: Dry Skin
People joke that part of menopause is “drying up.” It’s a funny way of putting it, but it’s also true.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that a dry mouth, eyes, and skin area a side effect of your body producing fewer hormones.
Perimenopause Sign #8: Irritability
As you may remember from being a moody teenager, when your body experiences changes in hormone levels, your mood will also experience changes.
Being irritable and feeling like you’re perpetually PMS’ing is a normal part of starting menopause.
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