Menopause is the biological process that occurs when a woman’s reproductive ability comes to an end.
The average age menopause occurs in most women is 51, though some women may reach menopause earlier or later than that.
Women are officially considered to be menopausal when their menstrual cycle has stopped completely for at least 12 months.
Hot flashes and low sex drive are commonly associated symptoms of menopause. However, these are actually symptoms of premenopause.
Premenopause is considered the transition period leading up to before a woman enters menopause. Premenopausal symptoms usually begin in a woman’s 40’s but can start as early as their 30’s in some cases. During this period, estrogen levels begin to drop until eventually the ovaries stop releasing eggs. This change in hormone levels causes both physical and mental side effects.
Premenopausal Symptoms In Women
During premenopause, women may experience physical symptoms such as:
Lower sex drive
Urgent need to urinate more frequently
Premenopausal symptoms can also affect a woman’s mental health including:
These symptoms are common and rarely a cause for concern. It takes time for a woman’s body to get used to the change in estrogen levels thus producing symptoms that affect her both physically and mentally.
Typically, premenopausal symptoms last anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on the woman. Most women will experience some, if not all the symptoms listed above.
While there is no way to completely avoid premenopausal symptoms, there are some treatments available that may help to relieve them.
Treatments for Premenopausal Symptoms
Improving your general health and well-being can help alleviate some of the frustrations brought on by premenopausal symptoms.
Maintaining a normal weight through regular exercise and a healthy diet, reducing alcohol intake, not smoking, and taking vitamins will make you both physically and mentally more equipped to deal with the side effects of premenopause.
Other treatments women may want to consider are:
- low-dose birth control pills
- progesterone shots
- vaginal rings for relief from hot flashes
For women who are having a hard time with mood swings or depression, you may want to talk to your doctor about being prescribed an antidepressant or talking to a mental health professional.
Transitioning to menopause is a major life event and can be mentally taxing. There is no shame in getting help if you need it.
Similarly, premenopausal women who are experiencing low sex drive should feel no shame in reaching out to someone to talk to. A counselor or therapist might be able to help you reclaim your sexual arousal during this transitionary period.
Additionally, vaginal creams and lubricants can be useful in treating low sex drive due to vaginal dryness.
Women who are experiencing premenopausal symptoms should talk to their doctors to determine which course of treatment is right for them.