Perimenopause, the second stage of the menopause process, may actually be one of the most recognizable stages of menopause. Many women approaching middle age experience a myriad of different perimenopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
Whether mild or severe, perimenopause symptoms most often occur due to hormonal fluctuations. However, other triggers can include pre-existing medical conditions, surgery, or illness.
Learn more about the common and uncommon perimenopause symptoms and what happens within the body when perimenopause symptoms occur.
What Are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?
Even though most people associate symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and loss of libido with menopause, the occurrence of these symptoms typically begins during perimenopause.
This is because the body is decreasing its production of hormones and preparing to enter into a non-reproductive stage.
These hormone fluctuations, however, typically trigger many different symptoms.
Differences between Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause
There are four stages of menopause:
All four are characterized by different changes and symptoms. However, symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in particular are often confused.
The main difference between the symptoms of both stages is that menopause marks the point at which menstruation has completely stopped for a year. Symptoms are very similar, varying only in severity and frequency.
List of Perimenopause Symptoms
Perimenopause symptoms can be of both a cognitive and physical nature. Unfortunately, there are many different perimenopause symptoms, and most women will experience one or more during this transition.
As perimenopause sets in, it's important to have a strong understanding of what is considered normal and abnormal. While there are plenty of common perimenopause symptoms, there are also some uncommon ones to look out for. Perimenopausal women should focus on listening to their bodies and noting any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary or potentially harmful.
Common psychological and physical perimenopause symptoms
Common symptoms of perimenopause include many symptoms women typically associate with menopause. The most common perimenopause symptoms are listed below.
Uncommon perimenopause symptoms
Uncommon perimenopause symptoms
- Urinary tract infections
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Irregular heartbeat
- Joint pain
- Bleeding gums
- Itchy skin
While most women will only experience some of these common perimenopause symptoms, others will face more uncommon symptoms, such as the ones listed at the right.
Even though perimenopause symptoms can be unpleasant and at times painful, there are plenty of treatment options available for managing these symptoms.
To learn more about symptom management, click on treatments for perimenopause.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.