35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

by Magnolia on September 5, 2014

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

“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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{ 752 comments… read them below or add one }

Millie Rae October 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Hey ladies..I’m so glad that I found this blog…I’m 35 and having all the perimenopause symptoms..I am waiting on blood test to determine my hormone levels..I think my hormones took a turn for the worse when I was pregnant with my third and last baby..While pregnant with her, I lost hair instead of getting the thicker beautiful mane.. My hair became dry,brittle,and thin and fell out..My skin became dry instead of glowing and I had feelings of dread during my pregnancy instead of happy mommy feelings. I delivered in January of 2013 and I have became a thousands times worse than what I was.. My periods are crazy abnormal.. My skin is driving me insane with this itchy crawly sensation.. I have the worse sudden headaches.. My mouth and eyes are always dry..I sweat from my head to my waist only.. My weight has increased 16 pounds in 2 months..I have the worse mood swings ( I feel sorry for my husband and kids).. I cry about anything and I get fired up mad and crazy about the same.. I’m always thinking that something bad is about to happen with my family and I forget things from one moment to the next..I’ve even forgot that I was cooking( that’s horrible).. My scalp feels crawly as I type this ( no I don’t have lice or any other bugs).. I’m starting to take MACA POWDER.. It is an all natural hormone balancer that has help people for hundreds of years..I’ve researched it and I feel like it can be all of our saving Grace ..I am gonna take it faithfully once a day for 2 months and I’ll let you all know how it works for me. If there’s anyone that’s willing to try it with me ,I’d be glad to take the journey with you .. Google it ” Maca Powder benefits”… Let’s heal naturally together..Let’s kick Perimenopause and Menopause symptoms out of our lives for good.

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Heather October 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

Millie: I’m so sorry you are experiencing this, especially the exacerbation of symptoms after your new baby. :( *HUG* I am 36 and started experiencing darn near every one of these symptoms early this year, and in June, I began taking Maca. I use a product called Femenessence. I take 2 capsules in the morning and 2 more around 2pm. While my periods are still about 23 days apart, the other “craziness” has abated immensely. It is suggested that after 4 months of consistent use, you take a break for a month. Let me tell you this: I am currently in the “break” phase and I cannot get back to this stuff fast enough. I definitely feel the difference without it. Additionally, I’ve been regularly practicing kundalini yoga (check this site out for reference: http://www.raviana.com for more information) and it has helped a great deal, too. Finally, I’ve found that giving up coffee altogether (I know, I know) has been a God-send as well. I drink a lot of herbal and green tea. Very soothing. One final note: Check into Ayurvedic medicine. I have also find that to be helpful. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon! :) Cheers!

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tania October 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

Hi millie. I read your symptoms about perimenopause which is so similar to mine. You said you were gonna try the maca powder? Would like to know if its worked for you

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sigh October 12, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I find giving a “raspberry” to any inanimate object, including an alarm clock or computer, helps relieve some tension. Today I was on fire, like an oven, sweating profusely, and crying when, well, I was crying. I turn 51 in a month so I either have the flu (although my asthma feels great tonight), or an allergy (I am allergic to some new food I started), or … could it be … after all these years of my period being anything it wants to be … a little more perimenopausal stuff??? By the way, I am going crazy!!! And, things that I used to be able to do just fine, well, my body’s just “not as young as it used to be” in so many ways. I must let you know there’s nothing quite like the occasional moment of fecal incontinence. At least I’m nearly 51, so that’s my excuse for everything lately. LOL!!!!

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Louise Foulidis October 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

I am 52 and have most of the symptoms on this blog after
Having a period for nearly 3 weeks I had an internal scan .
The radiographer said she could see dome small fibroids
My results are still pending with my doctor
So hopefully all is okay with me . I can truly say I never
Expected this . I thought getting closer to menopause
Your periods become lighter along with hot flushes and
A few mood swings . I have terrible anxiety at the moment
If anyone else out there is experiencing the same please talk to me
As this will give me great comfort that I am not alone

Louise Vic

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Marty October 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Hi Louise. I am 48 and realized I was in perimenopause about 2 years ago. I have all the symptoms. The worse one right now is anxiety. I had the worse anxiety attack ever the other day. I was driving home from work. I happened to be driving past my doctors office so i pulled in the parking lot, took a xanax and waited to see if I was going to be ok or if I would have to go in and ask for help. I was ok after about 20 minutes. I’m tired all the time and unmotivated a lot. I am now desperate and am going to my gyno to ask for BI hormones. I can’t imagine having to put up with feeling like crap for who knows how many more years. It has effected my marriage. I have a 13 and 11 year old boy. They are wonderful but I feel like I could be an even better mom if I felt good every day. I’ve noticed my drinking has increased over the past 2 years. I just put the reason together after doing some research on women in meno or perimeno and increased alcohol use as a way of soothing. I am also on Celexa. Anyway, I understand how you feel. I have been doing a lot reading up and am now going to take charge of my health. I had bloodwork done and it showed normal…of course. So my gyno ordered a pelvic ultrasound. Also normal. Geez, really, I’m 48 for crying out loud. I feel doctors take better care of pregnant women and don’t know enough about us older women and what we’re going through. I hope you and I get relief soon.
Marty

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Elizabeth October 23, 2014 at 9:06 am

You are definitely not alone. Along with these symptoms I have this terrible pain in my lower right abdomen that goes in my groin, my upper leg, around my hip and my back. Pain has been unbearable, but gets much worse before and during my period. Doctors of course cannot find anything wrong so I have to wait yo see a gynecologist next week. Boy, do I have a lot of questions for her! :)

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carine October 13, 2014 at 11:10 am

hi ladies im 48 and am sure im going trough change
it is quit a worry when your not sure
im suffering from heartbeat ,dizzyness, think bloodpressure as i go light headed and hearing loss when hart races
hot fluches day / night feels like i explode in chest first it feels a bit tied and when it releases then the heat comes into my head
waking at night a lot
feeling very low and worry allot (never had this before)
catch myself thinking all the time but soon forget what about
i suffert alot off mastietes in breast but have a lump now thats not going (will have this checked)
as for periods i dont know i have a coil that has stopt my periods for some years now its my 2nd one and have had no periods for over 10years now
i was never regular i went for mths without one
when i get flush i do have to remove my jumper or coat as they are that bad i feel that i could pass out
i do have fam. problems but was allways manage to think clear and handel them but now i cry easy and feel depressed it is that bad im on medication for depression and light sleeping tablets
are these the true symptons ?? god help me if this is going to be for a few years !!!

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Susie October 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Hello gorgeous women
I am 47 and have had perimenopausal symptoms for almost four years. My daily symptoms currently are: feeling overwhelmed by housework, lack of energy and enthusiasm for life, a constant sadness, anxiety and wondering where the real me has gone. Will she ever come back! I used to feel such a wonder woman and I am having a hard time watching my standards slip. I just seem to play continual catch up with everything. I am a mum, work part time and have started a Masters degree. I have no idea how my friends who are in similar lives to mine, manage. Not everyone appears to suffer with this. I fantasise about disappearing into thin air, pixelating until I am free of being human. How dreadful and ungrateful. I can’t bear the thought of being this way beyond fifty.
Thanks for the space to off-load. Talking about it with others is a great help. :)

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Linda Murphy October 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm

You have put into words exactly how I feel and it made me cry. Going to print it and read it to my doctor. Thank you.

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Elizabeth October 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I think the same thing….when will the real me be back? It’s like you are going through some strange transformation and don’t know how to stop it. I hate the mood swings.. Feel like crying every day.

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bubba October 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

I’m in perimenapause and feel overwhelmed w kids schedule feel intense anxiety.I had for the first time all the month of July hot flashes thru the day & night. Missed my period for 2 months then got it again. No longer had hot flashes again, but you feel like your losing it and I’m feel I g no excitement for life. Any advise.

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Donna Taylor October 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Does anyone ever experience eye/facial twitching and all over muscle spasms along with the other symptoms mentioned?

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R Martin October 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I’m so glad to find this forum. I feel like I’m losing my mind! I have to say perimenopause was a breeze for me, I had no symptoms except for heavier periods and my cramps were worse. I hit menopause at 51 (December 2011) and things were pretty ok until June of this year, then the bottom dropped out. This what 54 brought me: blurry vision, dry eyes, achy joints, muscle tension, worrying about everything, indecisiveness, black thoughts, mostly about my death and close family members and friends and horrible gas. Every pain is cancer or some dread disease. Some of these symtoms have gone away but now I’m dealing with horrible heartburn(with nausea) and general anxiety. I’m on the patch bbut the dose is so low it only helps with the hot flashes, which weren’t that bad. The doctor gave me Ativan but I’m afraid of addiction. I take it because miraculously it sometimes helps with the nausea. I just want to be excited about life again! Somedays I feel like my body is totally betraying me!

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Marty October 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm

R, you have pretty much described me. I wonder several times a month if i’m having a heart attack. I feel down. The anxiety is overwhelming. I am on ramitidine for heartburn because it was so frequent. no energy. Even though my doctor says my hormone levels are normal, I’m going to ask for bio identical hormones. I hope you feel better soon.
Marty

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Barb Zangmeister October 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I’m 43. Thank u for this info. I have so many of these symptoms……change in periods…..mood swings bad….tears…..flushes sometimes……no hot flashes yet. My OBGYN says he thinks I’m in transition period to Peri menopause. I have been feeling like I’m going crazy….crawling out of my skin…..thank you so much.

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K Anderson October 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

I am so glad I found this site! I have been crying while reading all your comments because I am so relieved to know I am not alone and I am not crazy. I am 44 years old and my mother went through menopause at 45, so I feel fairly confident that I am in the throws of perimenopause. I think the worst part is first thing when I wake up in the morning (if I sleep that is), I awake to this horrible feeling of dread and despair. The night sweats and hot flashes are bad, but nothing compared to this horrible blackness I feel I’ve been enveloped by. I’m wondering if anyone has tried the psychiatry route/traditional medicine. I have always been a fan of natural and alternative healing, however this “thing” seems to be nature resistant for me. I’m tired of feeling miserable….

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Elizabeth October 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I am 43 as well and am going through a lot of these symptoms for the first time this year. I could easily tell that something was changing in my body, but could not figure out what. As soon as I had my first real hot flash, it was like ” WHOA!” What is going on? I dud not expect hot flashes to be like this! The anxiety aura i felt beforehand, then my upper body starts to get warm, then HOT, and then I just sweat. Myheart is racing and when it is over, I felt an odd chill. It was so freaky. Of course, after that it was the mood swings, memory lapses, night sweats, irregular and heavy periods, dry skin, and downright feeling like crap! And to top it all off, it has been lasting ALL MONTH, but worse before the period. Does anyone else have symptoms that last all month?

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tania October 21, 2014 at 10:33 am

This website is a life saver. I am 38 yrs old. I also have most of the symptoms. Are there any ladies who feels there are severe problems with their brains. A constant heaviness in my head, headaches and being off balance constantly even my scalp has become sore. I cannot exercise because i am off balance. Docs says hormone and thyroid tests are all in order. Beside the head problem i have extreme shakes and then lame afterwards. Its really unbearable. I am miserable and extremely tired all the time. If i could lock myself up at home i would be very happy. Anyone out there experiencing these constant off balance/heavy head symptoms.

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jenn October 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Hi I am also 38 years old. I feel like I have had symptoms for about 2 years. My Dr. ignored me when I suggested it because I have not actually missed a period. I am very frustrated. A lot of my symptoms have eased but sleep is a big issue. Fatigue is an issue, anxiety, hot flashes and I am usually freezing, and many others. My most recent which I am hoping is just another side effect I got my period 10 days after stopping my last one. I will be coming back here often so glad I found this.

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Elizabeth October 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Oh my goodness… I am having the shakes as well. I, too, feel off balance and dizzy at times. My biggest problems are the mood swings, hot flashes and constant nausea. It is really frustrating when doctors tell you that it is all anxiety. these changes are real and some of them are worse than others. Had anyone ever felt really strange when it all started happening? I often feel like I don’t know ME anymore.

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A Johnson October 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I’m 41 and for the past couple of months I was convinced I was pregnant. Nope. The test was negative but here I am still exhausted, bloated, moody, no period since early Sept (which is unheard of for me to miss). It’s difficult to accept that I’m going through perimenopause but it’s good to know I’m not alone.

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Annie October 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm

I’m almost 56! Been bleeding for 34 days and counting. Progestin only slowed it down but it hasn’t stopped. Endo Bio and ultrasounds were normal. D&C next ? the bleeding isn’t heavy it is mostly light and watery. I have no other bothersome symptoms. I’m going crazy thinking I have a hidden disease. Arrrghhh!

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Anna S. October 22, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Hello ladies…
I am 41 and I feel lost… I’ve been having perimenopausal symptoms for a year . Hot flushes , sleepless nights, anxiety and the list could go on…Does any of you take any medication ? I am trying to find homeopathic alternative instead of taking all the crap that my OBGYN wants me to take..the side effects sound scary :( I feel like I’m the only one in this situation, I don’t feel comfy discussing with my friends either …please advise.

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Magnolia October 22, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Hello Anna,

You most certainly are not alone. Please join us at Facebook. There are hundreds (now reaching thousands) of women there that you can share your experiences with and discuss alternatives to hormone treatment.

I’m a big advocate of bioidentical hormones, however, I understand that many women simply do not want to go that route. There are lots of women just like you there. It’s a supportive community.

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Joy October 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I turned 50 this year. I haven’t had a period since August 10 and I wake up two to three times per night pulling the covers off. I am not sure if I am at the beginning of peri or not. I am not on time every month. What do I expect since I am in the beginning stages of peri.

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Sarah October 24, 2014 at 4:27 am

I am 48 and am typing this in the middle of the night. My insomnia has gotten markedly worse in the last couple of weeks. My period is a few days late as we speak, not typical for me. Reading this forum makes me realize I’ve probably been perimenopausal for some time. My symptoms: heavier than normal periods for first 2-3 days; mid-cycle IBS in the form of painful constipation; PMS that is sometimes characterized by intense vaginal itching not related to any infection, difficulty staying asleep, often awake for hours. Interestingly, my moods are pretty stable, libido good. It’s interesting to share an experience with so many,yet each of our situations is so unique. It’s comforting to start accepting that this change is happening and I’m not alone at all!

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Magnolia October 24, 2014 at 8:11 am

Sarah,

I am in menopause (have been for 3 years) and still struggle with insomnia. I take 200 mgs of progesterone every night, along with 3 mgs of melatonin. It works wonders.

It’s also important to keep a regular sleeping schedule. I know this sounds like an oxymoron, because if you COULD sleep you would, right? What I mean is, keep a routine that allows you to begin winding down every night so you can be in bed by a certain time. And get up at the same time no matter what.

Even if you struggle the night before to sleep. Get up at your regular time. Don’t waver from that. Ever.

Get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise every day. Don’t drink alcohol to sleep. It doesn’t work and only messes with your blood sugar.

Give yourself at least 2 to 3 hours of time to decompress from your day and relax before you go to bed. Keep the room cool, dark, and clean of clutter. I change my bed sheets very frequently because I love the feel of clean sheets. Plus, I also have a dog who sleeps with me and she sheds. :D

But, for me, clean sheets are so luxurious, it helps me relax.

If you carry insurance, Prometrium is an FDA approved bioidentical progesterone in pill form. You can get a prescription for from your doctor. Give it a try. It really works.

Magnolia

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Melanie October 24, 2014 at 5:31 am

Wow I am so pleased I found this website. Just knowing that there are others out there going through the same as me is a great comfort. I have had the majority of symptoms listed for around 6 years, the majority I can cope with, but others are hard. I could cry for the world – in fact I do most days! Muscle pain, hot flushes and anxiety seem to be a daily thing. Hot flushes are driving me bonkers. I have not had a period for 2 months and counting.
All women should be taught about menopause. This has been something which hasn’t been discussed openly.

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