Pre Menopause

Written by Sarah Provost
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Pre menopause is the period in a woman's life when levels of estrogen are declining, but menstrual cycles have not yet ended. Pre menopause usually begins in the late 30s. The earliest symptom, declining fertility, might not be evident unless a woman wants more children and is actively trying to get pregnant.

Changes in the menstrual cycle are usually the next signs to appear. In most cases, the time between cycles becomes shorter. Bleeding might be heavier than usual, or conversely, alternate periods might be confined to spotting. Eventually, periods will be skipped, and then cease altogether.

More overt symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia and mood disorders may appear in the pre menopause years. While mood swings, irritability and anxiety may be elements of PMS, hot flashes are a more specific sign of menopause. Osteoporosis also begins in the pre menopause years, as bones reach their greatest density at around age 20 and decrease thereafter.

Use the Pre Menopause Years to Prepare for a Healthy Later Life

There are many lifestyle changes you can make before the onset of menopause that will greatly increase the quality of your life after menopause. Develop the habit of regular exercise, which will help defend against osteoporosis, obesity, heart problems, mood disorders and other disorders that tend to appear or worsen after menopause. Eat a balanced diet high in fiber and vegetables and low in fat. Almost all women should take calcium and Vitamin D supplements. Learn stress management techniques, since stress is a primary trigger for hot flashes. Enter midlife prepared and confident, and your chances of sailing through menopause and living a healthy life in the approximately 30 years you will have after menopause are greatly enhanced.

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