Before True Menopause: Pre-Menopause Symptoms

Most women reach true menopause by their early fifties. True menopause is only reached when a woman has gone a full year since the advent of her last period. After that time she moves into the next phase which has its own post menopause symptoms. There are certain women who may experience pre-menopause symptoms before their mid-thirties. Usually this only happens when some extreme circumstance or procedure is done in the woman's life, such as having a hysterectomy or having to go through chemotherapy treatments or radiation treatments for cancer. These events sometimes trigger a hormone imbalance that will cause pre-menopausal symptoms in women in their twenties.

What to Expect

When a woman reaches her mid to late thirties she may start to experience the beginnings of menopause. One of the first pre-menopausal symptoms is that she will begin to have irregular periods and they may also be much lighter than every before or much heavier, so that she sees a marked difference from what she is used to experiencing. She may also start to experience hot flashes, where she will break into a sweat for seemingly no reason, her face getting red and hot, until the hot flash passes. These pre-menopausal symptoms can last from four to eight years, depending on the woman, but most normally have them for four to five years.

Once a woman reaches her forties, she is usually well on her way to menopause. A woman in the USA usually reaches the full state of menopause when she is in her early fifties, while in other nations she may reach it much sooner depending on the nutrition in that country and doctor's care. During pre-menopausal symptoms, the woman's fertility begins to decline so it is harder for her to become pregnant. She may also start to experience a vaginal dryness that may interfere with her sex life, although her sex drive normally does not decline during this time.

Other symptoms of pre-menopausal status are sleeping disorders and mood swings, which often go together. Because of the hormone changes in the woman's body, she is often unable to sleep at night, waking up often, which leaves her exhausted the next day. Mood swings are also caused by the hormonal changes and cause her to feel depressed or have a sense of loss.

There are also some rarer symptoms of pre-menopausal status, which are dry skin about the eyes and mouth as well as an increase in fat around the abdomen. Breasts can also lose their fullness and the hair can thin out from what it was formerly, causing other depression symptoms due to these changes.