Menopause symptoms occur during the perimenopausal phase when estrogen levels are drastically reduced. This stage normally begins in the 2 to 10 years prior to reaching menopause, marking the time when a women's fertility is over. The average age for menopause to occur is 51. At 47, you are at an average age to be in the perimneopausal phase and having menopausal symptoms.
Vaginal and Pelvic Muscle Issues
During the perimenopausal years, which you may have begun at age 47, your vaginal tissues and urethra begin to dry and thin, possibly making intercourse painful. It also increases your risk for vaginitis, cystitis, and urinary tract infections. Another less pleasant symptom is the pelvic floor muscles become very relaxed and may cause incontinence as well as allow the urethra, uterus, bladder or rectum to enter into the vagina.
The University of Chicago Medical Center states that hot flashes are the most common symptom with over 75 percent of women experiencing them. Hot flashes are sudden increases in body temperature that are usually brief and may be accompanied by dizziness, heart palpitations and headaches. If perimenopause results in your having hot flashes during the night, they are usually termed night sweats. These flashes normally last less than two years and begin before the final period. The intensity and frequency of night sweats appears to be directly related to the diminishing amount of estrogen produced by your body and can vary greatly by each person.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one common symptom is changes in your mood, specifically to depression, tension and irritability. Some changes may be due to lack of good sleep because of night sweats. The University of Michigan Depression Center describes menopause and perimenopause depression symptoms as those that last for more than two weeks with a decreased desire to do activities you normally enjoy, decreased appetite and fatigue. They also state that depression is most likely to occur in the perimenopause years, including age 47.
The New York Presbyterian hospital states that other symptoms you may experience during perimenopause include a change in your sexual desire, difficulty concentrating and joint pain, as well as an increased desire to urinate. Even though, at 47, you are at an age where these symptoms would be normal signs of perimenopause, they are also symptoms of other possible disorders and you should speak to your physician to confirm your diagnosis.