Though some people may take it as a sign that menopause is right around the corner, perimenopause actually happens a few years before menopause sets in. This transition is the period when a woman’s ovaries gradually make less and less estrogen, and while it normally starts when a woman is in her 40s, it can also begin as early as her 30s. The last phase of perimenopause is menopause itself, when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs entirely. Here are 5 easy-to-spot signs of perimenopause.
- Hot flashes and night sweats. You may start to notice that during the night and even while you’re awake, you’ll experience hot flashes. This happens when your body feels hot and flushed all over, usually very quickly and unexpectedly. In the night, you’ll wake up feeling absolutely soaked in sweat, including your pajamas and bedding. You can combat night sweats by using temperature-regulating bed sheets and wearing wicking pajamas.
- Lowered sex drive. Because of the changes in your estrogen levels and hormones overall, you’ll likely notice a diminished sex drive. This could come in waves, however, and doesn’t mean that you won’t want to have sex at all.
- Irregular periods. One of the most visible signs of perimenopause is an irregular period. Because your body is gearing up to end your period entirely, it’s not uncommon for a woman to experience irregular or even the absence of a period.
- Urine leaking or urgency. For many women, the need to urinate will become much more frequent during perimenopause. You may feel like as soon as you go to the bathroom, you have to go again immediately after. For some women, this even results in urine leaking, particularly while coughing, laughing or sneezing.
- Mood swings. Yes, just like menstruation, perimenopause also comes with its fair share of mood swings. Anything relating to your hormonal balance will likely take a toll on your moods, so if you notice yourself becoming overly sad, lethargic, angry or even energetic and happy, it could be a sign of perimenopause.