Hot Flashes

Symptoms of Perimenopause

The average age of menopause – when a woman’s period stops – is 51, but hormonal changes that precede menopause may start as early as 35 and last anywhere from a couple of months to several years.

This period of time before menopause is called perimenopause. The key difference between perimenopause and menopause is the presence of menstruation. During perimenopause, a woman will typically menstruate, though periods are often erratic. If you have not had a period for 12 months, you are considered to have entered menopause.

The changes in the female hormones during this time can cause a range of different symptoms. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, it is likely you’ve reached perimenopause.

1. Hot Flashes

A hot flash is a feeling of heat that can’t be explained by the external environment, like hot temperature. They tend to develop suddenly, although in some cases that are preceded by some tingling in the hands, flushed face, sweating (especially above the waist), warm and moist skin, and increased heart rate.

Alcohol, smoking, stress, tight clothes, caffeine and spicy foods can all trigger hot flashes. Affecting three out of four women during perimenopause, hot flashes can also be experienced in the months and even years after menopause. In some cases they are mild and hardly noticeable, yet in other cases hot flashes are severe enough to interfere with sleep and day-to-day life.

Tips for coping with hot flashes:

  • Avoid tight clothes and dress in layers so you can easily remove clothing when you have a hot flash.
  • Avoid clothes or bed linens made from synthetic fabrics and opt for cotton instead.
  • When a hot flash strikes, try sipping ice water or chewing on an ice cube
  • Keep a food journal, which will help you identify any food triggers; avoid those foods.
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