Unlike menopause, the symptoms of perimenopause are not always clear cut. The changes may be so slight that one may not even notice them. Some of the symptoms of perimenopause include:
Irregular menstrual cycles. As one approaches menopause, the menstrual cycles become irregular and erratic. The intervals between periods may become longer or shorter and the flow rate may also be scant or there may be no period. As menopause sets in one may start to miss periods regularly.
The next set of symptoms which occur in about 70% of women are hot flashes. Facial flushing and sensation of feeling warm occur periodically. Associated with the hot flashes are difficulty in sleeping, chills and drenching sweating episodes. Sleeping difficulties are one of the most common complaints in women in the perimenopausal period.
Mood changes are also common in the perimenopausal period. Some women may feel down or depressed for no reason. These mood disorders during menopause are not strictly associated with fluctuating hormone levels but to other factors which remain unknown. The depression does tend to be mild but can be easily triggered by any number of factors.
Other common symptoms of perimenopause include vaginal dryness or loss of lubrication in the genitals. Thus, sexual intercourse is very uncomfortable or painful. Most women will not be able to conceive during perimenopause because the menstrual cycles have started to become irregular. In any case, if you do not want to get pregnant, use birth control until you have complete absence of periods for at least 6-12 months. Fortunately for most women perimenopause does not depress libido but in fact creates more desire for sex. This is a common observation in many women. Some unlucky women may start to complain of bone pain due to excessive bone thinning. In general, osteoporosis does not become evident much later after menopause has set in.
One does not always need to see a doctor when perimenopause sets in. If the symptoms of perimenopause are mild and tolerated, simple changes in life style and homes remedies will suffice. However, if the symptoms like depression are severe, then it is important to seek medical help.