The average age at which American women enter menopause is 51. However, symptoms can appear roughly four years before you stop menstruating.
Some women may experience menopause earlier due to a condition called Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), which causes women to have fewer eggs and secrete less estrogen. POI can also mimic perimenopause (the transition phase to menopause) due to low estrogen levels, which can negatively impact bone density, mood, and sexual function.
There’s no set age at which a woman reaches menopause. Those who smoke are more likely to reach menopause younger, as are those who undergo cancer treatment and those who have certain autoimmune diseases and infections.
To help you navigate the maze of menopause, we asked our specialist, Dr. Gail Zimmerman, about the symptoms of menopause and how to get relief.
Perimenopause and menopause symptoms
On average, perimenopause lasts four years. During this time, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
- Low libido
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Rapid heartbeat
Perimenopause ends after 12 months of not having periods. Although some of your reproductive hormones are declining during this transition period, you can still get pregnant.
During menopause, you may experience the same symptoms as mentioned above, but since your estrogen levels will be even lower, the symptoms can be more severe.
How do you know if you are going through menopause?
Each woman’s perimenopause and menopause experience is different. The severity of the symptoms varies, as well. However, hot flashes are the most common symptom of hormone decline in women.
Testing during this period is complicated, as hormones fluctuate a lot. If you experience symptoms, Dr. Zimmerman can help you determine whether your symptoms are caused by perimenopause or menopause, or if there’s an underlying issue.
Research has found that low levels of vitamin B12, lack of exercise, and a low body fat percentage (less than 15%) can also speed up hormone decline in women.
Treat your menopausal symptoms with us
If your symptoms are getting in the way of your everyday life, you can rest easy knowing that there are many treatment options you can choose from. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Zimmerman may recommend lifestyle modifications, medications, or bio-identical hormones that can balance your hormones.
Ready to get an expert diagnosis and a treatment plan tailored to your needs? If so, contact us to schedule an appointment.