Premenopause is the period leading up to menopause, lasting 2-8 years, during which a woman’s body changes in preparation for the transition. Symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, decreased fertility, decreased sex drive, vaginal dryness, and urine leakage. Hot flashes are common and can interfere with sleep.
Premenopause, also called perimenopause, is the period of time leading up to menopause. During this period, which often lasts two to eight years, a woman’s body changes in preparation for the transition to menopause, which is marked by the end of ovulation and menstruation. There are many pre-menopause symptoms that a woman may notice as her body prepares for menopause. For example, your periods may become irregular, you may have hot flushes, and you may feel more tired but have difficulty sleeping. A woman may also face decreased fertility, decreased sex drive, less vaginal lubrication, and even urine leakage when she laughs, coughs, or sneezes.
One of the most obvious symptoms of premenopause is irregular menstruation. A woman who has reached this stage may notice that her periods have become longer or shorter than usual. She sometimes she may even skip periods. Your menstrual flow may also change, as your periods become heavier or lighter than usual. Many women experience a decrease in fertility during this time, but most women are advised to use birth control for a full year after their periods stop to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
In many cases, a woman’s sex drive can change during pre-menopause. You may feel less desire for intercourse or find it more difficult to get aroused. Sex can also become painful due to reduced vaginal lubrication. The vaginal walls may also gradually become less stretchy, which can only make things worse.
Premenopausal symptoms can also include those related to a woman’s urinary tract. For example, a woman may be more likely to develop stress incontinence during this time, meaning she may leak urine when she sneezes, coughs or even laughs. In fact, you may be more prone to urinary tract or vaginal infections due to falling estrogen levels.
Many people associate hot flashes with menopause, but they are also among the most common symptoms of premenopause. Hot flashes are characterized by a feeling of redness and warmth followed by sweating that occurs suddenly and does not appear to be related to the weather. For example, a woman may appear hot and flushed despite the fact that it is cold outside or while she is in an air-conditioned room. Sometimes these hot flashes become enough of a problem to interfere with a woman’s ability to sleep well. Insomnia and difficulty falling asleep may occur during pre-menopause, even if a woman does not have hot flashes.