Symptoms of Perimenopause
During true menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels are low and fairly constant. However, during perimenopause, their levels may fluctuate in an irregular pattern. Some perimenopausal women have an exacerbation of their premenstrual symptoms. Fortunately, when menopause occurs, the PMS symptoms cease. Hot flashes are experienced by up to two-thirds of perimenopausal women. They usually occur one to five years before the end of menstruation. These symptoms are more severe in women who have had their ovaries surgically removed. It is thought that low levels of estrogen cause the brain to release a surge of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This may be the cause of the hot flash. A woman suddenly feels hot and may perspire profusely. She may then have a cold chill. They are more common at night but can occur at any time of day. They last from a few seconds up to an hour. Changes in menstrual cycles: Menses may be heavier, or lighter. There may be increased or decreased cramping. Eventually, menses lighten, become less frequent and then stop.