Once you reach a certain age, it is tempting to see everything as a sign that you are perimenopausal. But what are the signs you should really be looking out for?
Changes to your menstrual cycle
It might seem obvious, but changes to the frequency or duration of your period is often the first sign that something is afoot.
Some women find their periods get much heavier as they approach the menopause, others get lighter. Some get their period every two or three weeks, some will go months without bleeding at all, then bleed non-stop for a fortnight.
Really, any change at all in your menstrual cycle is a sign that something is going on inside. However, these things can also be a symptom of other gynaecological conditions. So it is important to consult with a doctor, who will be able to confirm whether the changes you are seeing are due to perimenopause or something else.
Aside from changes to your period, hot flushes are probably the most widely known symptom of perimenopause.
A hot flush is often described as a sudden overwhelming feeling of heat that seems to come from nowhere. They are usually short in duration, and for some women they occur infrequently and don’t cause much of a problem. Others might have several hot flushes a day and find them inconvenient and embarrassing.
There are a few things that are thought to increase the frequency of hot flushes, including:
- spicy food
Perimenopausal women often have difficulty sleeping. They either struggle to get to sleep at the beginning of the night, or wake up during the night.
Over a prolonged period this lack of sleep can have a cumulative effect, impacting on your mood during the day. It can exacerbate another symptom of perimenopause…
Every woman knows that anything which affects your hormones is also going to have an effect on your mood. Perimenopause is no different.
Many women report feeling very low in mood or experiencing increased anxiety during the perimenopause period. Others find that their mood will change dramatically for seemingly no reason.
If you are experiencing mood changes, it is important to be kind to yourself and keep a watch on your mood. If at any point you feel the mood swings are getting out of hand, or you feel like you are becoming depressed, get in touch with a doctor, who should be able to help.
A lesser-known symptom of perimenopause, urinary tract infections can be very unpleasant and painful. They are thought to occur more during menopause as your oestrogen levels drop dramatically, increasing muscular pressure around your urethra.
Symptoms of UTIs include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Needing to urinate more frequently or with more urgency
- Blood in your urine
- Cloudy urine
- A high temperature
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it might be worth investigating whether you are perimenopausal.