Signs That Perimenopause Has Begun
Many women, once they reach their 40s, begin wondering when “it” will happen. If you are a woman in your 40s, you know the “it” we are referring to is perimenopause. This life change is monumental. It is the onset of a whole new way of being in the world, of being a woman who no longer menstruates and is no longer fertile. Menopause does have some benefits, like not having uncomfortable monthly cramps and PMS. It also brings new health challenges. Likewise, it brings challenges that many women fear, such as insomnia and hot flashes.
The team at River Oaks Gynecology and Aesthetics helps our patients transition through perimenopause with ongoing support and, when desired, bioidentical hormone therapy. We understand that perimenopause can feel more intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. Beyond hot flashes and night sweats, there are several signs that can alert you to changes ahead. We’ll discuss them here.
Women tend to know that vaginal dryness is a natural side effect of perimenopause. What they don’t often realize is that dryness also relates to the thinning and weakening of the entire pelvic lining. The decline of estrogen that progresses over years can result in increased acidity in the vaginal canal and the bladder. Coupled with a lack of natural moisture, this can increase instances of UTIs.
Weight Gain and Bloating
Women don’t just experience diminished levels of estrogen with age. The natural production of testosterone also drops. Yes, women have small amounts of testosterone (and men, estrogen). This sex hormone is related to muscle mass, fat distribution, and metabolism. As hormones decrease, it can become harder to maintain strong muscle tone without increased strength training. Metabolism also slows down, and one may begin to retain more water, both resulting in bloating and belly fat.
Changes in the Skin, Hair, and Nails
Estrogen loss affects the hair, skin, and nails. The closer a woman gets to menopause and no longer having a monthly cycle, the more she may notice her hair and nails looking and feeling brittle. Her skin also becomes thinner and weaker, and will need a little extra help to stay soft and supple.
Menopause is not something to fear. It is a natural change in life that was built into the human design. While the changes that occur during perimenopause can be unpleasant, they can be managed. Our team can help you explore ways to sustain vitality and well-being during this transitional period. To learn more, schedule a visit to our Houston office at 713.955.6560.