Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

The Change Before 'The Change'

Hot Flashes, Infertility, Happen Earlier Than You'd Expect
By
WebMD Feature

Mom put up with hot flashes and night sweats. We used to think they meant menopause. Well, guess again. Many women experience these symptoms in their 40s, even 30s.

"Everybody used to think 'this can't be happening to me, I'm still menstruating,'" says Laura Corio, MD. "Doctors were saying to patients, 'I can't do anything for you, you're still having your period.'"

Recommended Related to Women

Vulvovaginitis

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Vulvovaginitis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Vulvovaginitis article > >

It's a transitional time of life called perimenopause, and as early as age 35, women can begin feeling the symptoms, says Corio, a gynecologist and instructor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She is author of the book, The Change Before the Change.

"I empathize with my patients," Corio tells WebMD. "It's not fun."

Every woman's tale is different, she says. "Some will sail right through it without anything, others might have every symptom in the book -- irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, fatigue, heart palpitations, decreased libido."

Despite the numbers of women hitting their perimenopausal years, a lot of doctors still have their heads in the sand when it comes to recognizing and treating symptoms, says Corio. "It's a fallacy that nothing can be done."

Used to be, doctors said the same thing about cramps, adds Elizabeth McGee, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh.

"It wasn't that long ago that doctors told women they didn't have cramps, that it was all in their heads," McGee tells WebMD. "Now we know cramps do exist, that the pain is real, and we have very effective treatments for it. It's the same thing with perimenopause."

There's another reason why women need to know about all this, says Corio. Your chances of becoming pregnant dwindle after age 24. "I see it so often, 35-year-olds and 37-year-olds, and the egg quality is just not there," she tells WebMD. "They're in perimenopause and they don't even know it."

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
Couple with troubles
Article
Bone density illustration
VIDEO
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow