The first signs of perimenopause can appear in women of just about any age. However, barring abnormalities or premature menopause, it most commonly occurs in women between the ages of 40 and 55.
Whether you fall into that age range or not, it can be worrisome when anything unexpected happens to your body. If you’re working on family planning or just concerned with your overall reproductive health, checking on your body is a good thing.
If you’re looking for the first signs of menopause, here are 5 of the most common issues that women will experience, including changes to your cycle, difficulty sleeping, urinary incontinence, UTI’s and changes to the libido.
1. Changes To Your Cycle
There are all sorts of reasons that women experience changes in their menstrual cycle. Changes in diet, exercise, stress, or hormones can all trigger slight variations in your menstrual pattern.
During your average cycle, estrogen and progesterone increase and decrease in a predictable pattern. In the early stages of perimenopause, hormone levels throw out the rule book and lead to heavier or lighter periods than usual. The length of periods, and time between them might fluctuate as well. Learn more here: Irregular Periods During Perimenopause.
Skipping a period is a sign of pregnancy. Take a test to see if you’re pregnant if your period doesn’t show up on time. Otherwise, you could be experiencing an early sign of menopause.
2. Difficulty Sleeping
Doctors typically recommend that healthy adults aim for four to six 90-minute REM cycles a night. By changing your body’s hormonal balance, perimenopause can upset your sleeping.
No matter what your cause is for trouble sleeping, you should take this issue seriously. Even slight changes to your sleep pattern can have disastrous effects on decision making.
Try some common relaxation techniques of taking a warm bath, turning off digital devices, relaxing music, or yoga in the evenings. Try going to bed at the same time every night and keeping your room cool while you sleep.
Aside from easing the effects of menopause, you’ll improve your overall mental health.
3. Urinary Incontinence
If you have trouble with urinary incontinence, you could be experiencing one of the more common symptoms of menopause. As the tissues in the vagina and urethra lose elasticity, the thinner lining might lead to urine leaking.
Avoid drinking alcohol and stay hydrated to avoid these issues. Kegel exercises work for some women to strengthen their pelvic floor.
If issues persist, talk to your doctor about medication options.
Some women find that the frequency of Urinary Tract Infections increases during perimenopause. Low estrogen levels that cause changes in the urinary tract are responsible for this issue.
If you feel a burning during urination, take a urine test with your doctor to look for this early sign of menopause. Antibiotics can solve your problem, but it’s a great discomfort in the meantime.
5. Lower Libido
The changes to your estrogen levels will undoubtedly have an effect on your sex drive. Along with changes to your cycle, this is one of the most well documented first signs of perimenopause.
Sex can become uncomfortable or clitoral reactions can slow down, making sex take longer or become less pleasurable.
Take The First Signs Of Perimenopause Seriously
While this is a natural part of your life that everyone with a uterus experiences, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t change your life in a personal and unique way. Being prepared will allow you to experience perimenopause in a positive and constructive way, rather than being blindsided by unexpected bodily changes.
There are natural remedies to help alleviate menopausal symptoms. There are also medical solutions as well, so be sure to consult with your doctor.
Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth that can usually be found catching a wave, on top of a mountain, or drinking organic coffee around Vancouver, Canada.
Her goal is that one day, every single menstruating person will have in their hands a reusable feminine hygiene product because this has the potential to change the world for the better.