You know about the menopause, but have you ever heard of the pre-menopause? As the name suggests, it is the phenomenon that precedes the menopause and happens in the years beforehand, manifesting itself in a number of ways, which we have listed here. It’s a state that is not much talked about, but that signifies a big change in a woman’s body.
Pre-menopause: preparing the grounds
What scientists refer to as pre-menopause or peri-menopause lasts up to the time a woman’s periods stop. Depending on the woman, this can happen any time from her forties. During this time, the body’s oestrogen levels fall considerably, resulting in a gradual end to monthly periods. Here are the first signs that characterise this stage.
1/ Hot flushes
Starting in the abdomen and chest, hot flushes rise up the neck and to the face, lasting anything from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can be accompanied by palpitations or sweating. They are uncomfortable but nothing to panic about.
2/ Night sweats
By night, the body can start to sweat for no particular reason, even in Winter. Another way of announcing what is on the way!
3/ Lowered libido
Hormonal disturbances caused by the pre-menopause can sometimes affect sexual desire, and an associated reduction in vaginal secretions. Not all women experience this.
4/ The skin dries out and you may experience some hair thinning
With time, the skin loses some of its elasticity, and it becomes dryer. For similar reasons, the hair can also begin to thin out.
5/ Weight gain
No need to worry if you keep an eye on it, but it is common to gain a few kilos during the pre-menopause, varying on average from 2 to 4 kgs.
6/ Mood swings
The peri-menopause is often a time that is marked by great emotional sensitivity: irritability, anxiety or lower energy levels -like in adolescence, your hormones can unbalance you and make you moody.