Perimenopause & Pre-existing Symptoms
By now we know that midlife can introduce various symptoms associated with a drop in estrogen: hot flashes, mood changes and loss of sex drive are common for women during menopause. It is also a reality that many women have common menopause symptoms in their "youth" that have nothing to due with this transition in life.
If a woman in her 30s has pre-existing symptoms that mirror menopause symptoms, such as: depression, anxiety, and/ or joint pain (or, for that matter, PMS or Premenstrual dysphoric disorder)—what signs or differences in perimenopause should they watch for?
Perimenopause brings a specific constellation of symptoms related to falling estrogen levels. In addition to a (possible) exacerbation of pre-existing symptoms, a woman will likely have vasomotor symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats. Sleep disturbances are often related to night sweats or lack of estrogen so insomnia may be new in onset or get worse. Also, the vulvar/vaginal tissues are highly dependent on estrogen so there may be an increased need to urinate, vaginal irritation, or sexual pain related to vaginal dryness.
Since there are no blood tests that confirm menopause, symptoms are your most valuable ally during this phase—pay attention to how you’re feeling and your overall health and take into account any pre-existing conditions. If you need help navigating mid-life and feel overwhelmed in this phase of life, join the waitlist for Meaningful Menopause—this is your one precious life and it's time to start living purposefully!