What the Yuck: Signs of perimenopause
September 23rd, 2011
03:36 PM ET

What the Yuck: Signs of perimenopause

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

How can I tell if I'm in perimenopause?

Perimenopause - the time before menopause when your ovaries pump out less and less estrogen - varies widely from woman to woman. Some women have symptoms for years and years, while others will only have them for the last few months of perimenopause when estrogen levels decline rapidly.

You may notice hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, urinary incontinence, decreased interest in sex, breast tenderness, pain with sex, and mood swings (ahh... the joys of being a woman).

The only way to know for sure if you're in perimenopause is to have your doctor check your hormone levels.

But you won't know after one blood test. You'll have to have several blood draws over a period of several months to determine if your estrogen levels are heading south. If they are and you're very uncomfortable, talk to your doc about whether hormone replacement is safe for you.

If you notice menopause-like symptoms but blood tests don't show declining estrogen levels, your ob/gyn may want to check for other problems, such as an ovarian cyst.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Yah, my name Peggy. You is a spammer, yes? Go away, spammer. Peggy no like you.

    September 23, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. fernace

    Or you could have symptoms of diminishing menstrual duration, like I did! Otherwise I didn't really notice any specific symptoms! I went thru PMS & periods as usual, which got shorter & shorter til one day they just stopped coming! I had a few breakthrough bleeds with a 3-4 month interval & then nothing! Menopause has been blessedly uncomplicated & non-painful, a little hot flash now & then, which was easy to regulate with homeopathic remedies, but I truly wish my experience on all women!!

    September 24, 2011 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      You're very fortunate, Fernace.

      September 25, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
  3. Chartreuxe

    Or, TTtPS, one could report abuse on the above post.

    September 25, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. debby

    if you asked my daughter she would tell i was going threw since i was 35yrs. but i say it all came to ahead when i 47yrs.

    September 26, 2011 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Galina L.

    I starred to experience symptoms of pre-menopause 4 years ago – at 46. All problems just disappear after I switch on a low-carb diet. Hot flashes stopped, mood became very stable, 35 lb was lost since then, no more urinary tract infections, leg edema,improvement in migraines. I have being practicing healthy life-style all my life and general recommendations worked till I was 45. Ladies, if your health is going down heel, start your day with 2 eggs and real butter, eat red meat, fish and green veggies, ditch all grains, bread, bananas,potatoes and sugar, no more than 1 fruit a day. Just give it a try for 3 weeks. My doctor is happy with my health. I wish you the same.

    September 26, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • http://www.menopause-support.org/

      its great galina L. I love this advice. I am surprised and wish you happy that you have lost weight and back to life. Its a good news and Low crab diet we should have to move and after use this advice i will soon come again.


      August 11, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
  6. donahelaine

    Very informative and gives a true guide and I am about to 40 years old peri menopause symptoms shown and this post gives me direction.

    July 7, 2012 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.