Perimenopause, or pre menopause is the time in a women’s life when her ovaries start to produce less estrogen. Pre menopause lasts until menopause when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last one or two years of pre menopause the decline of estrogen increases and many women experience menopausal symptoms. When does pre menopause start? It usually starts in a women’s 40, but can start as early as a women’s 30’s. How long does pre menopause last? It varies with each individual. The average is four year, but for some it may last a few months or continue for 10 years. Pre menopause officially ends after the first year a women has gone without having her period. Menopause on average occurs when women are 50-51 years of age, so the duration of pre menopause depends on when a women starts showing signs or menopausal symptoms.
What are pre menopause symptoms? Fatigue, hot flashes, tender breasts, decreased libido, vaginal dryness or discomfort, irregular periods, urine leakage or urgency, mood swings and insomnia. Irregular periods are common during pre-menopause, but some abnormalities should be checked out with a doctor to rule out other causes. If your periods are very heavy with blood clots, last longer than normal, spotting between periods or after intercourse and/or occur closer together this could mean you are pregnant, have fibroids or blood clotting problems. Can you still get pregnant during pre-menopause? Yes you can even if your fertility declines during this stage, so continue to use your birth control until you haven’t had a period for 12 months. Your doctor can determine if you are pre-menopausal based on your symptoms. A blood test can determine your hormone levels. If you are on birth control pills they may help relieve hot flashes, if you are not there are other options to control hot flashes such as; birth control skin patch, vaginal ring and progesterone injections.
There are some lifestyle changes you can do to help you through this transition like; exercise, get more sleep, adhere to a night time routine See: tips and techniques to fall asleep easy for more information, stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption, stay at a healthy weight, drink plenty of water and take a multivitamin with calcium. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what you expect from any treatment they suggest to develop a plan that works for you. If you are not getting enough sleep because your hormones are out of control or you are having night sweats hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) might be an option for you. Night sweats plague 85% of pre menopause and menopausal woman by causing a rush of adrenaline that alerts your mind and wakes you up. You won’t be able to go back to sleep until the adrenaline subsides and your body temperature falls. I find it best to have the bedroom temperature between 65-69 degrees to keep my body temperature cooler which eliminates nights sweats altogether or if I do have an episode I can cool down my body temperature much faster.
Besides uncontrollable hormones and night sweats you may be suffering from other sleep problems as well like; sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or both. Menopause can increase sleep apnea almost eightfold and should be ruled out as a reason you aren’t getting your rest before it causes other health issues. See Causes of Insomnia Part 6 Obstructive Sleep Apnea OSA.
Remember most pre menopause symptoms can be managed with healthy lifestyle changes and that 70% of women will have some symptoms. Consumer Affairs. com does not recommend HRT for women that have an elevated risk for heart disease, stroke or cancer which is 35-50% of all women 50 or older. New reports have linked the decline of estrogen and its symptoms to a magnesium deficiency. Estrogen enhances the use of magnesium in soft tissue and bone which may explain why younger women are resistant to developing heart disease and osteoporosis as well explain the increase of these diseases when estrogen production reduces. Magnesium works best with calcium, so as estrogen decreases causing a magnesium deficiency calcium is absorbed less by greater urinary loss which equates to symptoms of nervousness, irritability, headaches and insomnia.
How does a magnesium deficiency cause insomnia? It causes restless, agitated sleep with frequent nighttime awakenings. Which magnesium supplement is best? Magnesium chloride has been effective in combating insomnia. Magnesium chloride crystals are made from seawater and have important functions in keeping us healthy. In addition to its relaxing properties it has shown to improve digestion, calm the nervous system, provide a stronger immune system, lower blood sugar levels and improve our hair and nails.
Consumer Reports advice for those 50 and over that use hormonal replacement therapy can increase their chances of developing heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots and stroke and an increasing number of women are turning to natural solutions to relieve the causes of insomnia when experiencing pre menopause symptoms. Highly absorbable forms of natural minerals like magnesium chloride and calcium lactate gluconate can be a soothing alternative to a good night’s sleep.
The content provided in Causes of Insomnia Part 7 Perimenopause or Pre Menopause Symptoms is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.