Menopause is a stage in your life that you may not be not looking forward to because it’s usually marked by uncomfortable symptoms. But menopause isn’t just one stage — in fact, it’s three completely separate stages that start with perimenopause.
Dr. John Paul Roberts is an expert in all things related to your reproductive health. Whether you’re ready to have a baby, or you’re nearing the end of your reproductive years, he helps you stay healthy to make these transitions as easy as possible.
From the time your menstrual cycle begins, your body is ready to become pregnant. Over the years, your hormones are in constant transition to allow your body to carry a baby. However, as you get older, your body begins the transition into the end of your childbearing years. This is known as perimenopause.
But this is only the first step in your body’s transitional process. There are actually three separate stages in this transition, which include:
This stage usually starts at some point in your 40s, but can begin in the 30s for some women. Perimenopause may begin as much as 10 years before you actually enter into menopause.
During this stage, your ovaries start making ess estrogen in preparation for the end of your child-bearing years. However, you still get your menstrual period during this time, and are still able to get pregnant. About a year before menopause, you’ll produce significantly less estrogen, and may experience the symptoms of menopause.
This is the stage that marks the end of reproduction, because your ovaries no longer release an egg each month. To be officially in menopause, you must go 12 consecutive months without a period.
Postmenopause marks the years after you’ve not had your menstrual cycle for 12 months. Your symptoms may start to let up in this stage, however, they can continue for years after you’ve passed through menopause.
In this stage, your estrogen is at an all-time low, meaning you’re at risk for certain health conditions like osteoporosis. Hormone therapy and healthy lifestyle choices may help decrease your symptoms and your risks of these disorders.
So how can you be sure that you’re in perimenopause? As your ovaries begin to slowly decrease estrogen production, you may notice certain symptoms which may start slowly or come on quickly, depending on the decline of your estrogen.
There are several key symptoms of perimenopause, including:
You may also have to urinate more often than normal, or you have trouble sleeping at night.
During perimenopause, your menstrual cycle goes through a lot of changes. You may miss a few months, and then have heavier-than-normal bleeding the next month. Or your menstrual flow could be very light.
Many of the symptoms you experience during this stage in your transition are due to the extreme changes in your hormones, especially estrogen.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, Dr. Roberts can help. He may recommend hormone replacement therapy to help ease your symptoms or over-the-counter medications to help with discomfort.
Don’t stress about going into menopause — call our office in Plano, Texas, to make an appointment. You can also use the online booking tool here on our website.