35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

by Magnolia on January 5, 2010

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When I was in the midst of the worst of my perimenopause symptoms, I had one over-riding thought:

“I feel like I’m going crazy”

Yes, I had hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods and those gawdawful mood-swings.  But without question, the underlying and most compelling emotion was that I was certain I was finally going nuts. In fact, it was my anxiety and emotional turmoil that drove me to begin blogging about perimenopause in the first place.

Like most women, I needed to talk through my anxiety and emotional angst so that I could sort through the feelings and make some sense out of what was happening to me.  Perhaps that is what has brought you here as well.

Maybe you’re feeling crazy too, vulnerable, not yourself, and hanging on by a very thin thread. So, before I go any further, let me say very plainly – I understand, and you are not going crazy.

It’s difficult to explain to others who have not been through it, what perimenopause feels like.  It’s especially difficult to explain to our husbands who can’t begin to understand or even remotely connect to the female experience. Not only is this frustrating but it can add to the feelings of isolation and vulnerability.

The symptoms and signs of perimenopause are long and varied.  You may have many or a few. There is no typical perimenopausal experience, though most women seem to have hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods and mood-swings.  In fact, these four symptoms are usually what signals to women that they are in  perimenopause – which, by the way are similar to Yaz birth control side effects, which you can learn about at DrugNews.

As of right now, most experts, health care providers and those devoted to understanding and helping women in perimenopause agree there are at least 35 symptoms of perimenopause.  It’s not necessarily a comprehensive list but it’s certainly a good starting point.

If you have any of these symptoms and feel you may be in perimenopause see a physician or health care provider right away.  The good news is we have plenty of options.  Just do something. There is no reason to suffer with perimenopause if we don’t have to.

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

  • Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings, sudden tears
  • Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
  • Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
  • Loss of libido
  • Dry vagina
  • Crashing fatigue
  • Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
  • Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
  • Disturbing memory lapses
  • Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
  • Itchy, crawly skin
  • Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
  • Increased tension in muscles
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache change: increase or decrease
  • Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  • Sudden bouts of bloat
  • Depression
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions
  • Increase in allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
  • Changes in body odor
  • Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Gum problems, increased bleeding
  • Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
  • Osteoporosis (after several years)
  • Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
  • Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc.
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{ 660 comments… read them below or add one }

sandra June 26, 2014 at 7:52 am

HELP ME…. I took birth control pills for 23 years to regulate my periods, not for contraception. I felt FINE during those 23 years. Three months ago my gyno decided, time to come off the pill and took me off cold turkey. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE. They say my FSH level shows that I am still ovulating but I believe that my body became so dependent on the pill that coming off has wreaked havoc. HORRIBLE joint and muscle pain, dizziness, crying spells…Finally 3 weeks ago the nurse practitioner agreed that I could go back on the pill until I stop ovulating then we would switch to HRT. I am a little bit better but not much. Do you think that it will just take time to readjust my hormones or should I be looking at another treatment. I will be 50 in October. I cannot live like this.

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Libby June 26, 2014 at 6:52 pm

my sisters all swear by black cohosh extract you can find it at wal mart id go off the pill asap if you have been on it that long. this vit.. helps with all there symptoms good luck and God bless

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Gita July 1, 2014 at 4:58 am

I am going through hell… Im 39, have 30 symptoms of Perimenopause. I saw my doctor on numerous times ( since 2012), and I told him that I think I might be going through a Peri. He told me that I was definitely not, as im too young….. Instead, he sent me to cardiologist ( to find out why Im having palpitations), neurologist ,gyno ( who has also told not much about my symptoms ), I also went and saw gastroenterologist, hematologist and spent thousands on numerous tests… just to find nothing… None of them have suggested that I might actually have Perimenopause. I started to do more research online and just bought saliva test to check my Cortisol levels. Im sooooooo tired of this all, my main complaint at the moment is fatigue and exhaustion. I also have dizzy spells. Im trying my best to be good to eat and sleep well and exerciser a lot. But fatigue is so overwhelming that I feel I could fall asleep at my desk at work ( sometimes I wish I could). Im very glad I found your website! It is such a relief to be able to read your thoughts and experiences you have went through, as well as to see others stories and comments. Thank you, you are doing a great job Magnolia!!

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Susan Kitt July 14, 2014 at 6:29 am

Hi Pamela, it is a great help to have read your email, I have been suffering nearly all 35 symptoms of the perimenopause for a year the worst is the anxiety dizziness, I call it a marshmallow day just want to hide away in my bed then I get the the feeling dread anddoom a bit like home sickness I just feel so a loan and not dealing with this dreadful feeling my doctor is trying me in fluxatine have been taking it fot 2 weeks now but still feeling the same. Like you I am luck to have a very good husband and children to but im just so tired I can’t work im frightened to drive or go out on my own when will it endI just want me bback!!!!

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Dana July 18, 2014 at 12:29 am

Susan, I know how you feel. Up until seven months ago I was doing pretty good, or though I thought. The anxiety and stomach upset (nausea, pain, etc.) that I was dealing with everyday took a toll on my life. I went on a medical leave of absence from work and started to see a therapist. The best thing I did was get a referral from my pcp to see a naturopathic doctor. She has me on supplements and I just starting taking estrogen (vivelle dot patch). It has been slow going, but I am better then I was a month ago and a lot better then I was three months ago. I highly suggest that you seek out a doctor who has your best interest at heart and do research on what your options are. Good Luck!

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Sandy Reardon July 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

I am 50 and was told I am going thru menopause and the fatigue and exhaustion are completely overwhelming. I really don’t know how I am going to hold a job ( I just lost my job and have to get a new one) but I’m so tired. what to do?

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S July 20, 2014 at 12:30 am

Hi!!!
Same here!!!
I’m 36years old and I’ve had almost 20 symtoms that are listed here. (4 YEARS))
ANY IDEAS????

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Pamela July 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I’m 46 years old and I’ve had almost all of the 35 symtoms that are listed here. I haven’t had anymore night sweats, thank goodness! Still some hot flashes though. The heavy periods and flooding have been a nightmare along with extreme pain for three days. I have had my uterus burned to help with heavy bleeding, that hasn’t helped. Now I’m in a deep depression and having anxiety attacks. I feel like I’m in the middle of a crowded room and I’m screaming and nobody hears me. I have tough time coping and having a tough time getting a job because of the anxiety over it. I do feel like I’m going crazy and I feel like things will never get better. My husband wishes there was something he can do for me, and he gets caught in the cross fire sometimes. He has been very supportive through it all. I have talked with my doctor and I’m getting help. I know I will eventually feel better, it’s just a journey that I hope will lead to a light at the end of a tunnel. I hope this helps for any women out there thats going through peri menopause to know that you are not alone.

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Susan Kitt July 14, 2014 at 6:30 am

Hi Pamela, it is a great help to have read your email, I have been suffering nearly all 35 symptoms of the perimenopause for a year the worst is the anxiety dizziness, I call it a marshmallow day just want to hide away in my bed then I get the the feeling dread anddoom a bit like home sickness I just feel so a loan and not dealing with this dreadful feeling my doctor is trying me in fluxatine have been taking it fot 2 weeks now but still feeling the same. Like you I am luck to have a very good husband and children to but im just so tired I can’t work im frightened to drive or go out on my own when will it endI just want me bback!!!!

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mindy July 8, 2014 at 11:09 am

Magnolia, i have been taking a look at the websites you had mentioned about progesterone cream, i have been trying to send a question but cant seem to get the page sent. ! am wondering if you could help me with the question. On her product (its the boxes with 30 packs) for directions on how to use it. she reccomends this i just pasted it Apply contents of one mini pack to your inner forearms before bedtime beginning on the 14th day of your cycle (day 1 is when you start bleeding). Continue for 14 days or until your next period starts. Stop when you start bleeding.

This is for a regular period. when do you apply it if your period isnt a 14 day cycle mine is no more then a 5 day cycle sometimes 7 but the last 2 days are only spotting

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marcia July 9, 2014 at 1:07 am

Hi, I really thank you for your article and also keeping me aware that there’s more symptoms to premenopause then just your regular hot flashes and irregular periods that our doctors tell us about. I’m 38 and for almost 2 months now I developed what I was told was bppv(vertigo) then I suddenly ended up with severe anxiety that has now turned into depression and also insomnia. I have no appetite, I even lost 8 pounds in about 3 weeks, I don’t sleep, I’m crying everyday and I’ve been so scared of the negative and intrusive thoughts from the anxiety and depression. This all happened out of nowhere, I keep hearing I’m to young for premenopause but I know that’s what is going on. I finally got my doctor to do a hormone panel blood test to see what’s happening, I had to result to taking an antidepressant to help me get thru the day, I was given lexapro and xanax. Only God knows that I don’t want to take them but I have no choice I want my life back.. again thank you I don’t feel so alone with what I’m going thru anymore.

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Kim July 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Hi Marcia ! I am 47 and have been diagnosed with peri menopause in 2012. The anxiety is literally overwhelming me to the point where I have ground my teeth practically out of my mouth. I’ve got to spend countless hours getting this damage fixed starting on Friday . I was scared to take lexapro and wonder now if I did the right thing. I am always nervous and the sense of doom debilitating. Please hang in there I understand you completely. Kim

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marcia July 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Thank You Kim, I kinda been feeling the same way about the lexapro wondering if I did the right thing. The symptoms have been so horrible and have made my anxiety worse, I’m hoping they will pass soon and give me some relief.. I’m definitely hanging in there though.

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mindy July 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

kim and marcia i know exactly how your feeling, the anxiety and insomnia,is a crazy thing i tell ya. i get so nervous and tence seems to hang around all the time.Sleep is always a fight i get so nervous where i am shaking as soon as bed time rolls around cause i know it will be a fight for sleep.I toss and turn muscles twitch break out in a sweat.I go upstairs to the other bedroom in hopes to sleep better and to let my husband have a goodnight sleep,but still no good.I wake up feeling just like i did before i went to bed. I have tried Melatonin and it works sometimes not everynight though.I just think the anxiety has kicked into high gear and something has to help it already.We have to keep hanging in there hugs to both of you,and sure feels good to know others to are going through the same,and feels good we can pour our ways of feeling out on here

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Kim July 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Hi Mindy! Thank you for your writing! I really hate bedtime because it’s so annoying to lay there wide awake. Tossing and turning with a racing mind. The paranoia is pathetic . I think I’m going to start writing all my hysteria down in poem form and hope one day I’ll look back at all this and get a good laugh. Everyday it’s a new symptom . Hugs to you also! Kim

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mindy July 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Kim you are so welcome,and I know about the always a new symptom.Sometimes I ache from head to to, which doctors told me I its all perimenupause,but the anxiety doesnt help nor does the sleepless nights help.Anyways I have seen another dr to try something that will help me cope, and counsler to also help me with the anxiety. I told her most of the anitdepressants I tried made the anxiety worse,but she said it will until they kick in, she said it gets worse before it gets better. I have tried some natural ways but most didnt work for me. A poem is a goodthing kim. Write back anytime, your welcome to

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Etta Hilton July 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Hi I am 55 years old, and for several days i am having dizzeness and a mikld headache which makes me feel so uneasy, and by searching i came upon this important information. please send me some more information on the Perimenopause conditions.

Thanks very much now I know I am not getting crazy and that I am not alone.

God’s riches blessings

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Kim July 16, 2014 at 11:14 am

My name is Kim and I will be 39 next week. The past 2 years of my life have been extremely traumatic. I lost both of my parents 10 months apart. As of August 1 I will be moving out of the only home I have ever known. My mom and I were extremely close and I did not deal with her death very well. I already had anxiety and panic and her death caused it to skyrocket. Anyway, my cycle got weird the month after she died. I was starting to spot for many days before but my period would always come. My gyno told me that I may skip a period but I did not. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a basket case I was. My TSH levels are high and I will more than likely end up on thyroid meds. Mom and grandmom were hypo. I started having night sweats around November of last year. That comes and goes. This month my period is almost 3 weeks late. I am never late. True I had been on birth control for about 16 years but I came off about 2 years ago. I am absolutely terrified. I also suffer from health anxiety. It is hard for me to think it is stress related because I feel like I was so much worse last summer after my mom died in May. Could this trauma have brought on perimenopause? Thank you so much.

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Magnolia July 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Kim,

I’m so sorry to hear of the death of both your parents. I lost both my parents and a long marriage in a two year period as well. I do understand the trauma, sadness, stress, and grief that goes along with such traumatic loss in short period of time.

It is certainly possible that stress can trigger hormone imbalance. It can certainly cause you to miss periods – I know that from other times in my life where I was under a lot of stress and did not have two menstrual cycles in a row. And I was a young woman when that happened. So, yes, it can absolutely stress your body to such a degree that you skip cycles, and show other symptoms of hormone imbalance.

It might be that you are beginning to enter an early perimenopause (I was 41 when I started) and if you are also dealing with thyroid issues, then that can also trigger all kinds of other hormonal symptoms as well.

The truth is, even though it’s been two years since you lost your parents (or in a two year period), it takes a while to work through the emotions of grief and sorrow. And it absolutely does a number on our bodies. I would strongly recommend that while you are seeking medical help (I’m assuming you are), that you try to find ways to de-stress.

Walking and working in my garden helps me immensely. Sometimes just getting outside and feeling the sun, the wind, and the sounds of nature is very calming to me. It certainly does fix everything, but it does help.

I hope I’ve answered your question. Of course, I can’t say with absolute certainty what is going on. But, from what you’ve said, I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that stress is definitely triggering *some* kind of hormone imbalance for you.

Magnolia

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Nicole July 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm

HI

I recently started having odd sinus issues. It started with waking in the middle of the night with one nostril clogged (dry no mucus) . But it would clear once I sat up for a while. It would sometimes alternate sides. It has progressed to where my nose is almost completely blocked at night to the point where I have become severely sleep deprived. Also my nose has started becoming suggested during day. I went to the doctor but he said it was a sinus infection and prescribed Flonase. However, the Flonase has not helped at all. I have no prior history of allergies and have not had a cold in nearly 10 years. Also my nose seems to be blocked due to swelling versus mucus. I know pregnant women often get sinus problems due to hormones. Do you think my hormones could be causing this puzzling issue?

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Cynthia July 18, 2014 at 7:29 am

Yes, I’ve been having sinus problems around the time of my period for years. Flonase doesn’t help and using it often leads to a sinus infection. Waiting it out works best, but sometimes the headache and the sinus pressurevare terrible. Add dizziness and nausea to that and I am miserable. I’ve also started getting cramps which had never been much of a problem. The doctors didn’t see the connection between my sinuses and my periods, but it is the only thing that makes sense.

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mindy July 20, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I dont know fully fursure,but since I have been going through peri, my sinuses have been bothering me so much. I have never had a problem other then the odd stuffed up nose here and there. The last few month have been crazy with my sinuses.My dr told me all the antibiotics in the world wouldnt help just to use nose spray and to use the neilmed sinus rince. It helps but only for a few days.

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Diane July 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm

OMG! No Bueno!! I’m 47 and I guess in the early stages of perimenopause. Last week kidney stone knocked me on my butt for two days. Cramping and bloating started and not sure why. Apple cider vinegar seemed to help (yuck though!). Starting to feel better and my period shows up a week early. Ok, no problem it’s been doing that.. 3 wks.. 4, 4, 4, 3, 4.. This started Tuesday evening.. Got lucky I felt better by Friday in time to spend a 16 hour day moving my son an hour from home into an apartment to start University of Oregon in the fall. Made it though the weekend. Started feeling a little tired on Sunday but, pushed through. Monday morning, I am on day 4 of bleeding. Normally, I’m a day of heavy then light the other 4 days. Hmmm.. I don’t remember ever bleeding for 4 days straight. Went to see a friend in the morning. Got home in the early afternoon and crawled in bed. Slept all afternoon and a few more hours in the early evening. Went to bed around Midnight and up at 9am Tuesday morning. Back in bed at 11am.. slept most of Tuesday. This morning, Wednesday, I had to run into my office for a few hours. Dizzy when I woke up I made it though the morning but, I really wanted to crawl back in bed. I have a tanning membership that includes Red Light Therapy. I got to the salon and crawled in the Red Light bed. When I got out 20 mins later. I felt better! I was shocked. Tired feeling gone! I came home and had some pur-Absorb Iron. Took a packet of that and crawled in bed. Slept for maybe 30 mins. I feel good. Still have some cramping. Hoping that will go away. That is not good for the sex life. The cramping made it painful on Monday. I have the nigh sweats and I think slight irritability. I take NOW vitamins True Calm. That seems to keep me from wanting to choke most people.. ;)

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Michele July 17, 2014 at 4:49 am

I am so glad I found this site! I am 45 and have been experiencing many perimenopausal symptoms for about a year. I seem to get chills at night for no reason! No fever, just shaking and chills. Sometimes followed by a hot flash. I can stop them by getting out of bed and walking around a bit, but then of course sleep is gone. Also having severe anxiety problems worrying that my symptoms may be something terrible. Crying out of nowhere, feeling terrible fatigue! It’s the pits. Any suggestions would be welcomed with open arms! I do not have my mom around to ask as she passed several years ago before I started having any issues.

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Ava July 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

My age is 56 1/2 years. I have been perimenopausal for several years. However, this year has been the worst. The symptoms have been intensifying. My period stopped in Feb. Surprise! After 4 mos. it began out of nowhere with heavy bleeding. I have never had heavy bleeding in my entire life! It has never been a walk in the park for me, however, with the heavy bleeding that presented a new problem. So after 1 day it stopped. I marked it on the calendar 6/30. Now 17 days later, 7/17, again, bleeding, but not so heavy and annoying cramping in the pelvic area. My digestion has been out of whack for over a year. So much so, I went to a gastro MD and showed nothing negative. I now blame EVERYTHING on hormones!!! Because of the change in hormones and imbalance, I become more intense and blame it on others……not realizing it was me all along. I am a very energetic person and now I am feeling like I am going forward with the brakes on. Very fatigued. I have altered my sleep patterns. I do still feel sexy, when not cycling, and do enjoy sex. I haven’t had a bad experience yet, as even if I am dry, my boyfriend doesn’t seem to care?? I think I may go into Guiness Book of World Records as the oldest woman to bleed the longest.
LOL! I am going to try to Black Cohosh Extract.

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Leslie July 20, 2014 at 7:20 am

I am 42. I have had insomnia for several years along with anxiety and depression. Something has changed though in the last few months. It started with a migraine and panic attacks. I was dizzy several days after. I have severe neck pain and have feelings of doom and gloom. My anxiety is worse than ever. I have taken sleeping pills for a few years and lorazepam when needed. Have to take muscle relaxers for neck and shoulders. My sister told me to take One a Day for menopause. I was low on vitamin D. I hope it works. It took a female rheumatologist to get things in motion for me.

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mindy July 20, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Leslie, My sister takes 50mg of Magnesium, it supports bone health and muscle function. She mentioned to me that I should try it as my legs get so restless and I am always achy all over.I take it just before I go to sleep and it helps some. It took a week before I notice a diff. You might want to try it to see if it helps some of your pain

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carol hanson July 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

hi im 47 yrs old its only been 3 months since my last period,i get a lot of hot flashes,my mood swings are of the charts ,im driving my boyfriend crazy ,because he doesn’t understand what im going threw ,im crying a lot ,feeling loss and misunderstood my doctor doesn’t want to give me hormone replacement because I smoke,any help you could give id be thankful.

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