Perimenopause starts about five to 10 years before menopause. Fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels may cause similar physical changes as menopause, such as irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, bloating, joint pain or stiffness, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, sleep disturbances, heart palpitations and vaginal dryness. Some women experience a number of changes while others have few or no symptoms.
Menopause is a natural part of a woman's life defined as the final menstrual period. With it, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, marking the end of fertility. Some women have only mild symptoms from this and others experience dramatic changes. The good news is you don't have to suffer needlessly.