Madison Pharmacy Associates founder Marla Ahlgrimm explains the symptoms of perimenopause and how it differs from menopause.
Sometime after our 40th birthday, says Madison Pharmacy Associates’ founder Marla Ahlgrimm, women began to feel a bit… different. We can’t always pinpoint exactly what it is, but there are changes happening in our bodies. It might feel as though we have a case of continual PMS. According to Madison Pharmacy Associates, women may have disrupted sleep, or any other number of physical and emotional changes. These changes in our bodies signal that perimenopause may be coming.
So, What Exactly Is Perimenopause?
Says Madison Pharmacy Associates co-founder, Marla Ahlgrimm, perimenopause is the cushion of years before and after a woman’s last menstrual period. The prefix “Peri” literally means to enclose or surround. During perimenopause, the ovaries’ functions begin to decline, and estrogen and progesterone levels in the body gradually fall. The staff at Madison Pharmacy Associates says that some common symptoms of perimenopause may include night sweats, hot flushes, a waning sex drive, severe mood swings, acne, excess facial hair growth, and even mild incontinence. Perimenopause may be hard to diagnose as not all women experience the same symptoms, says Madison Pharmacy Associates. However, new research is offering new options to ensure that women stay healthy and active during and beyond perimenopause, according to Madison Pharmacy Associates.
Perimenopause and Menopause: What is the Difference?
Hormone levels fluctuate with age, says Madison Pharmacy Associates, and these fluctuations may cause the menstrual cycle to become erratic. A perimenopausal woman will still have a period and have PMS like symptoms that may become more intense with time. Excessive facial hair, increased acne, weight gain around the middle, hot flushes and night sweats are all possible signs of perimenopause, says Madison Pharmacy Associates.
Technically speaking, according to Madison Pharmacy Associates, menopause is a woman’s last menstrual cycle. After 12 months without a period, a woman is considered postmenopausal.
What Causes Perimenopause?
The decline of estrogen in the body, reports Madison Pharmacy Associates, causes many symptoms. In addition to those listed above, declining estrogen may cause sleep disturbances, changes in memory, and urinary urgency. Bone loss and heart disease are two of the worst effects of declining estrogen.
Estrogen’s Effect on the Bones
Estrogen is important in maintaining bone density. Within our bodies, we have cells that renew bone tissue and cells that reabsorb old bone tissue throughout our entire lives, reports Madison Pharmacy Associates. Estrogen aids in intestinal tract calcium absorption, calcium deposits into the bone, and prevents bone degradation as cells continually renew themselves.
Prior to perimenopause, the bones replenish themselves faster than they degrade. Beginning as early as your late thirties, the balance changes, bone replenishment begins to slow and bone loss may occur. Bone loss may accelerate at levels of up to 6% per year before a women even realizes it, says Madison Pharmacy Associates.
Progesterone and Estrogen
During perimenopause, the body does not produce enough progesterone to combat the effects of estrogen. As a result, says Madison Pharmacy Associates, breasts can swell to an uncomfortable level and may even become fibrocystic and tender.
It is beneficial, says Madison Pharmacy Associates, to educate oneself about the effects of perimenopause and its symptoms. You can keep a chart of symptoms that you are experiencing during perimenopause and present them to your doctor so that, together, you may come up with a course of action to help prevent its uncomfortable symptoms.
The information in this article has been previously published and is provided as a reference resource by Marla Ahlgrimm, R.Ph. Madison Pharmacy Associates was sold in 2011. Marla Ahlgrimm is also the co-founder and President of Cyclin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The company sells proprietary products for the women’s health market as well as ProCycle PMS and ProCycle Gold products. For more information, go online to www.cyclinpharma.com. If you need more information on perimenopause or any other women’s healthcare topic, please call Madison Pharmacy Associates at 608-520-0206.