Premenopause is the fertile years of a woman's life and is marked by monthly periods. Each woman will experience premenopause differently, with regards to symptoms experienced, length of periods, and ages at the beginning and end point, and so there can sometimes be some confusion about what is normal and what is not. Read on to discover more about premenopause.
Can Periods Be Irregular?
Most women will find that their periods come at roughly the same time every month, although this can sometimes be slightly variable. A typical menstrual cycle (beginning of one period to the beginning of the next) lasts for 28 days, but some women's cycles can vary. Because women will rarely fit into the “average” pattern, a premenopausal irregular period is generally considered one that deviates markedly from the woman's usual cycle.
Is It Normal to Be Irregular?
Whilst it is not “normal”, an irregular period is not always a cause for concern. Irregularity can be caused by many things, such as diet, lifestyle, or stress that can be changed. However, if irregular periods start happening often, it is worth seeing a doctor, because they can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis.
When Does It Begin and End?
Premenopause begins the moment a girl gets her first period. This can be any time during the teenage years (on average is around the age of 13). The monthly cycles will then continue for the next 30 years or so, and premenopause ends the moment a woman sees her first sign of menopause. This will normally be when she is in her 40s or 50s.
Does Premenopause Come With Symptoms?
Many women experience several changes during theirperiods, and these can range from cramps to weight gain to even psychological symptoms and behavioral changes. These problems tend to peak by the time a woman reaches her 30s, and for most there will be a predictable pattern every month. Some examples of the physical and emotional symptoms of premenopause are:
- Depressed mood
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Joint or muscle pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Breast tenderness
How Do I Manage Premenopause Symptoms?
Follow these tips:
- Eat a healthy diet full of fiber and whole grain. This can keep the hormones in balance and avoid the fluctuations that tend to cause the symptoms.
- Exercise regularly. This avoids many of the physical symptoms by rebalancing hormones, and also helps avoid negative psychological effects, such as anxiety or depression, because exercise encourages the release of our natural mood elevators.
- Keep hydrated. Dehydration can slow down the metabolism, and this can exacerbate the weight gain that many women experience during their period.
Premenopause covers a large part of a woman's life, and so being informed and knowing the fact from the fiction is very important. Premenopause can come with a wide range of side effects and symptoms, but these can be managed, mainly through the implementation of a few simple lifestyle changes.
- Mayo Clinic. (2012). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20020003
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Menstruation and Menstrual Problems: Other FAQs. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menstruation/conditioninfo/pages/faqs.aspx
- New Health Guide. (2014). Weight Gain During Period. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.newhealthguide.org/Weight-Gain-During-Period.html