Perimenopause Is More Common For Millennial Women Than You Think, And Here’s How To Deal

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Jun. 11 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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As millennials approaching their early 40s start experiencing symptoms of perimenopause – a transitional period before menopause that includes having hot flashes and irregular periods – they’re sharing their experiences and tips for how to manage the transition.

A recent long-term follow up study of the Women’s Health Initiative shows that for women under 60 who are experiencing perimenopause the benefits of using menopause hormones to treat symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats largely outweigh any risks. Previous generations of women have had to deal with the symptoms of perimenopause without the help of drugs to reduce symptoms, according to Donna Klassen, a clinical social worker and co-founder of Let’s Talk Menopause, who told The Washington Post, “Women have been undertreated.”

As the conversation continues about millennials entering perimenopause, we have pulled together tips on how to spot symptoms and how to handle them.  

The First Signs Of Perimenopause

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According to the Cleveland Clinic, the first sign you may be entering perimenopause is going from having regular menstrual cycles to having unpredictable cycles. An irregular period could be an indication of perimenopause, especially if it is couple with the traditional signs of menopause such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Other symptoms include urinary urgency, sleeping problems, and changes in mood like irritability or depression.

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Diagnosing Perimenopause

Most women will notice changes in their body without a diagnosis from a healthcare provider, but should reach out to their doctors if they experience blood clots in their periods, spotting between periods, vaginal bleeding after sex or emotional symptoms that affect their ability to function on a daily basis, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Treating Perimenopause

While perimenopause is a natural progression that cannot be stopped, some healthcare providers may prescribe medications to help ease the symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. These medications include antidepressants to help with mood swings, birth control pills to stabilize hormone levels, estrogen therapy to stabilize estrogen levels, seizure medication to relieve hot flashes, and vaginal creams to relieve vaginal dryness.

Hormone therapy is another option for treating perimenopause, according to the recent study, but should only be used for short term treatment. Long-term use of such hormones aren’t recommended for long-term use to prevent heart attack, dementia or other chronic conditions, according to theWashington Post.

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Risk Factors For Perimenopause

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According to the Mayo Clinic, there is evidence to support that certain factors could increase a woman’s likelihood of experiencing perimenopause early. These include smoking, which can increase onset of menopause 1 or 2 years earlier than average; having a family history of early menopause, receiving chemotherapy or pelvic radiation to treat cancer; and a hysterectomy, which can cause menopause to occur earlier than average.

Early Perimenopause In Black Women

Research shows women of color may experience the transition into menopause earlier and may experience more intense and longer lasting symptoms. Women of color often do not receive adequate care during menopause, and related research and conversations have focused on perimenopause in White women only, according to The New York Times.  Additionally, studies show when women of color find a menopause specialist, they’re less likely than White women to receive a prescription for hormone therapy. The long-term effects of inadequate care can include an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease including strokes and heart failure.

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By: Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith is a professional communicator by day and night, leveraging more than a decade in the news industry to share stories that have a positive impact on society. Gillian believes everyone has a story worth telling, and she has made it her professional mission to tell those stories in a responsible way. Gillian received a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and a Master's in Journalism Innovation from Syracuse University. She is currently the director of external communication and media relations at Suffolk University.

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