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What are the Different Premenopause Symptoms?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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Some of the most telling premenopause symptoms, also known as perimenopausal symptoms, are the changes that occur in a woman’s menstrual cycle. These changes include variances in regularity, duration, and flow. Sleeping problems tend to arise during this stage of a woman’s life. Other changes that may be experienced include the growth of facial hair, depression, and a loss of sexual desire.

Menopause generally does not occur until a woman has at least reached 40. Premenopause symptoms, however, can begin menacing women many years before this. For some women, the problems begin to arise in their mid-30s. One of the most indicative premenopause symptoms is the variety of changes that women sometimes notice with their menstrual cycles.

A perimenopausal woman who previously had a regular and reliable menstrual cycle may notice that her periods become erratic. In some instances, she may not have a period for several months. The amount of bleeding that a woman experiences can fluctuate, and the duration of her cycle may change. Some women also experience premenopausal symptoms that are similar to pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as bloating and cramping.

Sleeping difficulties are another category of premenopausal symptoms that women can experience. Some women have problems falling asleep, and others have trouble staying asleep. Premenopause symptoms can greatly affect a woman’s sex life. Although many women report a reduced desire for intercourse, many others may lose their desire completely. When intercourse occurs, the level of enjoyment is often negatively impacted by vaginal dryness, which is caused by a decrease in estrogen levels.

Changes in a woman’s hormonal balance are widely noted to be a cause of many of the premenopausal symptoms. For example, perimenopausal women often have mood problems. They may be more irritable, or they may experience depression or anxiety. Low estrogen levels are believed to be responsible for these issues to some degree. It is a matter of debate whether other factors also contribute to these problems.

Furthermore, women are also commonly inflicted with visible symptoms. For example, it is common to find that this condition causes hair loss in some places, such as the head, and stimulates hair growth in others, such as the face. This is attributed to high levels of testosterone, which is considered a male hormone. Dry skin may also become a problem for some women. This is usually blamed on the variance of hormones and the reduction in collagen production.

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Discussion Comments

By anon317104 — On Jan 31, 2013

I'm 45 and my husband has commented that my vaginal odor is very strong and I think a little offensive, when we have sex. I don't have any of the other menopausal symptoms at this stage. But could this be my body starting to change?

By anon257204 — On Mar 25, 2012

Research reviews for Natrol 5HTP. It has "cured" me of all of my mood swings, depression, anxiety, PMS, sleeping problems associated with my premenopause. I feel awesome now and am happy again! I sleep great too!

By John57 — On Nov 08, 2011

Reading through these comments really helps me know that what I am going through is normal.

I ran across an article that listed something like 34 signs and symptoms of menopause. As I read through the article I started counting, and figured out that I had about 21 of those symptoms.

It is no wonder that I am feeling so messed up. It seems like trying to keep our hormones balanced is the key, but I know that is much easier said than done.

For a while I thought I would go through menopause like my mom did with hardly any symptoms at all. I am finding out that I am not going to be that lucky.

I have started experiencing very irregular periods, hot flashes and night sweats - and these are just the beginning!

By bagley79 — On Nov 07, 2011

When I started experiencing some of the signs of menopause I began doing some research and reading trying to determine if I wanted to try hormone replacement therapy.

There are a lot of pros and cons and I think the decision should be between the woman and her doctor. I also know women who have used natural methods and have done quite well with them.

Personally, I am kind of scared to use hormones and would be more willing to try something natural to help with the symptoms.

I think I am getting closer to this all the time as I am noticing some changes in my body. Not being able to sleep is probably the biggest change I have noticed.

A friend of mine recommended some lavender essential oil that has helped some, but I am still not getting the best sleep.

By lighth0se33 — On Nov 06, 2011

The choir director at church had problems with her voice right before she went through menopause. It seemed to be getting continually deeper and more raspy.

Fearing that she had a serious condition, she went to her doctor. He told her that because she was aging, she was losing some of the collagen that helped keep her vocal cords flexible. He also said that since her estrogen level was becoming lower, her hormones were no longer balanced, and this caused mucous to develop on her vocal cords.

He recommended a vocal therapist who could show her exercises that would help strengthen the vocal cords. After menopause hit, he also told her she should consider hormone replacement therapy, because this would help keep her vocal cords hydrated.

By seag47 — On Nov 06, 2011

@wavy58 - Finding those first few facial hairs can be very unsettling. I went through menopause two years ago, and that was one of the hardest parts of it.

In addition to a few hairs on my jawline, I noticed a patch of them under my chin. I started growing a faint mustache as well. Luckily, my facial hair was blond, so it didn't show up too much. Still, I started waxing it.

I refused to let menopause rob me of my womanhood. I did everything I could to preserve my feminine looks. Waxing helped a lot, as did moisturizing age creams and makeup made for older skin.

I started taking vitamins to help the hair on my head grow thicker. This helped me hold on to the hair that I had, as well as grow a little bit more. Since I was already waxing my face, it didn't matter if the hair there grew thicker.

By wavy58 — On Nov 05, 2011

I have a friend who is in her forties, and she is having several of these symptoms right now. She has become depressed about it, because she knows that menopause is inevitable and probably right around the corner.

She went for three months without having a period this year. When it returned, her flow was super heavy. The following month, it was really light. She hates not being able to predict when it will occur, as well as how often she will need to change tampons.

She has noticed thick, black hairs growing randomly along her jawline. She plucks them out with tweezers, but they grow back. She jokingly calls it her “beard,” but I know that it really bothers her.

By kylee07drg — On Nov 05, 2011

After reading this, I am afraid that I am already experiencing premenopausal symptoms! I am only 33, so this is a terrifying concept to me.

In the past year, my skin has become a lot drier. I lose enough hair in the shower in one week to make a small wig.

Also, I have totally lost interest in intercourse. I just don't enjoy it, so I don't have any desire for it. It's pretty painful at times.

If I'm feeling all this at 33, then I most likely will go through menopause really early. That's awful, because I'm afraid of hormone replacement therapy, so I will probably just let my femininity fade away.

By ceilingcat — On Nov 04, 2011

Premenopause symptoms can be really unpleasant. I remember when my mom went through it, and it seemed pretty miserable. I remember her getting hot flashes all the time and being really, really moody.

My mom is another one who is big into natural remedies, so she went that route. I know it helped her, but not as much as hormone replacement therapy probably would have.

However, when you take into account the possible side effects of hormone replacement therapy, I can see why someone wouldn't want to go that route. After all, menopause symptoms, hot flashes and all, sound preferable to dying of cancer.

By Azuza — On Nov 04, 2011

I had no idea that symptoms of menopause could start in your mid-thirties! I actually thought menopause started a little bit closer to fifty.

Anyway, I'm nowhere near close to menopause either way. However, I have to say that I'm pretty into natural medicine. So whenever I do go through menopause, I think I will probably look into some natural treatments for the symptoms.

I know there are some herbs that are supposed to be good for menopause like black cohosh. Also, I get acupuncture occasionally now, and I'm sure that could help with premenopause and menopause symptoms.

By Sunny27 — On Nov 04, 2011

@Subway11 - I think that articles like this are great because it makes women understand that the changes that they are experiencing are normal which doesn’t make them feel so alone at times.

I think that the more research that you do the better equipped you will be for managing these symptoms. I also read that there is such a thing as male menopause symptoms.

Men that have this condition have lower levels of testosterone and also experience a lessened sex drive. Their moods are also affected as many men become depressed and experience a lack of energy.

The good thing is that according to the article that I read only 3% of men experience these symptoms in their 50’s which is generally about the age when women go through menopause.

By subway11 — On Nov 04, 2011

@Sunshine31- Hormone replacement therapy is not for everyone, but many women do experience a relief of these menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and irritability.

A doctor might also be able to prescribe a safer alternative to treat the symptoms with a change in diet and a more natural solution to the problem.

I had a friend that was going through early menopause symptoms and she talked to her doctor about her concerns with hormone replacement therapy because her mother had died of cancer. Her doctor told her that she could offer her a low dosage solution of her medication and monitor her to see how the treatment was working for her.

She said that there are so many options for women suffering from these early menopause signs and symptoms that no women should have to suffer and should be able to get a certain amount of menopause symptom relief.

By sunshine31 — On Nov 03, 2011

I am in my early 40’s and I think that I am going through pre menopause symptoms myself. I do notice that my skin is feeling a little coarser and I do experience bouts of anxiety and depression from time to time. I am also a little irritable at times, but at least I am glad to read that they are a part of the same symptoms and I am perfectly normal.

It is amazing what those effects of a drop in hormonal levels do to a woman. I know that there are many hormone replacement therapy treatments out there, but I read that you have to be careful because there are some women that should not participate in hormone replacement therapy. This is especially true if a woman already has a higher risk of certain cancers.

Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are hormonally based and you really put yourself at a higher risk of developing these diseases if you have a history of these cancers in your family because the rise in hormones increases the cancer risk.

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