35 Symptoms of Perimenopause
When most women enter perimenopause, they expect a few hot flashes and night sweats. They might even expect mood swings, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido. What they won’t expect, however, are overwhelming thoughts of doom and dread, panic attacks, high anxiety, heart palpitations, vertigo, dizziness, unrelenting insomnia, and feelings of losing control.
Yet a large number of women experience these symptoms and many others which you may not think are associated with perimenopause. In fact, so wild and unpredictable are some of the symptoms, a lot of women think they are going crazy.
But they are not going crazy and neither are you if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, and wondering what is wrong. I like to call perimenopause a full body contact sport, because it affects far more than just your menstrual cycles.
It is not unusual for women to have issues with their thyroid function, for example, or their adrenal glands, and a myriad of other complaints and ailments which seem to have no connection whatsoever to perimenopause.
35 symptoms have been identified and associated with perimenopause. They are listed here in no particular order of significance. Not every woman is going to experience all of these symptoms, nor the same intensity or duration. Everyone’s experience is unique.
35 Symptoms of Perimenopause
- Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
- Irregular heart beat
- Mood swings, sudden tears
- Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
- Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Crashing fatigue
- Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
- Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
- Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
- Disturbing memory lapses
- Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
- Itchy, crawly skin
- Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
- Increased tension in muscles
- Breast tenderness
- Headache change: increase or decrease
- Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
- Sudden bouts of bloat
- Exacerbation of existing conditions
- Increase in allergies
- Weight gain
- Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
- Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
- Changes in body odor
- Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
- Tingling in the extremities
- Gum problems, increased bleeding
- Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
- Osteoporosis (after several years)
- Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
- Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, 'whooshing,' buzzing etc.
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms and wondering if you are beginning to enter perimenopause, you should see your physician or an endocrinologist right away for a thorough evaluation.
There are plenty of treatment options available for perimenopause symptoms. Dietary changes, bioidentical hormone therapy, nutritional supplements, exercise, and even alternative and complementary therapies such as yoga and acupuncture have all been shown to help ease the discomfort of perimenopause symptoms. And by all means ladies, remember to keep your sense of humor! It will be your first line of defense!